The first time my family visited San Francisco in the early 1980s, we lingered in Golden Gate park’s Japanese tea garden. It was beautiful, and my father loved formal Asian gardens. One of my sisters bought a bag of Japanese rice crackers, and upon tasting one, I thought they were the best. Our family loves crackers so we divided the Japanese ones up so that each person received his/her fair share.
Crackers play a big role in Viet eating. They include toasted rounds of Vietnamese banh da nuong made of rice and deep-fried shrimp chips. You can snack on them and use them to scoop up food like a chip. The Japanese crackers were a novelty to us when we ‘discovered’ them. Years later my sister Tasha married a Japanese American man, and one of the benefits was regularly getting a select treasure trove of Japanese rice crackers.
Don’t get me started on non-Asian crackers because I enjoy them too. In my twenties, I became too familiar with the grocery store cracker aisle. Then I stopped buying them because I realized that I didn’t feel good from eating the boxed crackers, which often have a lot of weird ingredients. Commercially made “Vegetable Thins” and “Cheez-It” crackers don’t agree with me.