Seaweed Snack Grim Yet Healthy

Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks

Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks

I Paid: $1.69 for a .35-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

As the earth's resources dwindle and fat Americans grow still fatter, a food like Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks was pretty much inevitable. These things come in boxes with a mere .35 ounces of nonendangered product and are designed to cheaply convey flavor without much of anything else, such as fat or carbs. From a flavor perspective, however, they leave something to be desired.

Each snack is a painfully thin slice of nori (same stuff as a sushi wrapper) with a hint of either sesame or wasabi flavor. The seaweed partially reconstitutes as you munch, so it gains a bit of chewy substance (I suggest eating an entire sheet at a time, because nibbling on bits of this stuff is massively unfulfilling). The overall effect is exactly like eating a sushi roll, minus the rice and fish or vegetables that make sushi so much fun and, depending on the seafood, environmentally controversial. In fact, if you wrapped Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks around the right sort of Japanese rice, you'd be magically transported to the land of homemade sushi in no time (see also Annie Chun's cunning make-it-at-home microwave sushi kit, which uses nori wraps much like these snacks).

It's hard not to feel like you're serving time in a monastery as you glumly crunch through these things. On that count, the wasabi flavor is a marked step up from the more monotonous sesame flavor—a bit of wasabi punch does lend these snacks a much needed jolt of panache. Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks seem unlikely to challenge Fritos and Pringles any time soon, but for what they are—a vegan, low-cal, gluten-free way to snack between meals—they have a certain offbeat charm.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.