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While I lived in Japan, I would often buy little packets of seasoning that were carried in every supermarket. I believe their purpose was for seasoning things like fried rice (チャーハン) and rice balls (お握り). What are these packets called, and is there an easy way to buy them in America? Or better yet, does anyone know how to make them?

The packets were typically salty and had bits of colorful seasoning/particles in it, like nori (海苔) flakes, sesame seeds, spices, etc.

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    I don't know if I've seen it as packets in the US, but I've gotten small shaker jars of it before. The one in my cabinet is labeled 'Nori Komi Furikake' from Ajishima FoodsCo.,Ltd. I think I got it from Wegman's, but it might've been World Market. And there's no extracted MSG in it, but there's seaweed, which has naturally occurring MSG. – Joe Aug 8 '17 at 15:48
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    This seems like a question just for a question's sake. If you type "japanese rice seasoning" into any search engine it comes up with 145 pages of furikake. Are we going to have a question for every definition of food, now? "What are those battered hotdogs on a stick called?". "What about that flat round dough with sauce and cheese?" – Brad Werth Aug 8 '17 at 16:35
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    @BradWerth I assure you it is not. I think I have been mistakenly connecting it with chahan for years, so I've never been able to find it. but you are right, now that I search that it does turn up furikake. Even if it was, though, those types of questions can be useful. That's why you're allowed to answer your own question. – BlackThorn Aug 8 '17 at 16:38
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    If you are interested in casting your flavour net a little wider, any Dutch grocer (Southern Ontario is covered with them, with one in nearly every town of any size) will carry Indonesian spice packets from Conimex (and other suppliers) for making Nasi Goreng and Bahmi Goreng. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 8 '17 at 19:55
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    @BradWerth - Because this actually isn't furikake! – William - Rem Aug 8 '17 at 22:07
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I've eaten a few of these before and while it sounds like furikake to someone who hasn't had them, I don't think that's what you're looking for in this case. Furikake is primarily used for seasoning white rice to be eaten otherwise plain, but I'm almost sure you're looking for something like this:

Fried rice packets (from http://jpninfo.com/22660)

I don't think there's a special Japanese name for these seasoning packets and the front just says "Shrimp Fried Rice", "Salmon Fried Rice", "Crab-flavored Fried Rice" and so forth. I would call it a seasoning packet, much like I would for taco seasoning. I wouldn't be surprised to hear a Japanese person call them paketto or something similar loanword-y.

  • Oh, the plot thickens. I may have combined this and furikake in my mind after some years. – BlackThorn Aug 8 '17 at 22:53
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    I for sure used these though, and I believe this is exactly what I was thinking of. – BlackThorn Aug 8 '17 at 22:55
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    We call this チャーハンの素(it is written so, though). – Takahiro Waki Aug 9 '17 at 1:21
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    @TakahiroWaki - Thanks! These are scrumptious and I'm definitely going to pick them up next time I'm at a Japanese grocer. – William - Rem Aug 9 '17 at 4:11
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I think it's called furikake. Per Wikipedia:

Furikake is a dry Japanese seasoning meant to be sprinkled on top of cooked rice, vegetables, and fish. It typically consists of a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate.

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