Mire Biscuits

The serious snack

By Sherilyn Siy    - 2 min read

In the dizzyingly colorful snacks aisle of any supermarket, one would need to scan the shelves slowly and carefully to spot Mire biscuits. The packaging is basically an understated blue plastic with some red design and a clear window where the coin sized biscuits are visible. Under the name ミレービスケット (Mire biscuit) is the tagline まじめなおかし, "majime na okashi" which means "the earnest snack," or "the serious snack," a line that never fails to make my children laugh.

The packaging appears to have been the same since the Showa Era. Else, the company meant to express by their simple, almost parochial packaging that the star of the show is what's inside the bag and not outside.

I pooh-poohed these biscuits until a friend served them to me with coffee. I could not stop eating. "Take the bag home with you," she said. I did and since then, Mire biscuits have been part of our weekly shopping list.

The ingredients are simple: flour, sugar, shortening, vegetable oil, and natural salt. The dough is cut into the distinct round shape with scalloped edges. Then they are fried in vegetable oil that has been previously used to fry beans (the secret of its unique aroma) at a temperature of 170℃~180℃. Then they are sprinkled with natural salt, poetically described on the packaging as "born of the marriage of sun and wind." This process of making the biscuits remained the same since its birth in 1955.

See the salt crystals
See the salt crystals

It is so deceptively simple, yet "simple is best," says Mr. Nomura, owner of Nomura Company that produces these biscuits.

Nomura Shoten was originally a company that produces and sells beans dating back to 1918 (Taisho 12). Mire biscuits were first sold by Meiji. Later, Mitsuyaseika in Nagoya took over the dough production. The dough is still made there, then delivered to Nomura in Kochi for the rest of the production process.

Today, Nomura produces about 12,000 packages of Mire biscuits a day, and there are several varieties including salt caramel, salt lemon, macha, coffee, black sesame among others. Try a bag and you will see for yourself why Mire biscuits are loved by everyone young and old.

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Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan. 

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S 4 days ago
I'll keep my eyes peeled for these snacks.

Lately, I'm into Genji and Heike pie which are something like a sweet crusty biscuit. You have to look for them, though. A shop in my town always has them.
Sleiman Azizi a week ago
Simple is best. Japan has many smaller brands of biscuits and potato-styled chips that rarely get a look in by the majority of shoppers but geez some of them are nice. There is a small chip factory in southern Saitama that is just great. Hard to get to since it's very much off the usual public transport routes but was well worth the drive to pick up a few bags.
Sleiman Azizi a week ago
Ah, they look great but alas, the place I'm referring to is in Yashio City.