Japanese String Cheese
Two amazing things happened to me during my junior year of college. First, I hopped on a flight at JFK, flew 17 hours direct to Hong Kong, and developed an infatuation with the entire Asian continent, which is evident through the decor in my apartment (some of my friends say it’s decorated like a Chinese restaurant…) Second, on that same trip, while wandering through a Chinese supermarket, I discovered Sakeru Cheese; Asia’s answer to Polly-O String Cheese.
I was hesitant when I first saw the red and black package. It looked more like something that Hot Wheels cars should be packaged in than artificial cheese. Luckily, the only two English words on the package were “string cheese”, so I figured it couldn’t be too different from the Twisterella string cheese I enjoy in the US. Man was I wrong! Somewhere on that package it must’ve said “pepper” or “chili” or “spicy cheese” because this was the spiciest cheese I’ve ever had in my life. It is almost as if the cheese is just a vehicle in which to pack as many Japanese peppercorns as possible.
I realize that not everyone lives around the corner from Sunrise Mart, and without access to some sort of Asian grocery store, procuring Sakeru String Cheese may be difficult, but I have good news: not only is Polly-O String Cheese less greasy and not infused with tabasco sauce, but it’s lower in calories, too! If I’m reading my Japanese nutrition label right (and it’s very possible that I’m not), Sakeru cheese has 100 calories per stick and Polly-O only has 60.
The best quality of Japanese string cheese is that it’s a good talking point. I’ve never heard of Polly-O fueling any conversations, but the last (and only) time I was eating a Japanese string cheese in a foreign airport, a very handsome man approached me. He asked me to watch his bags while he went to the bathroom, but I’m sure it was the exotic cheese I was holding that drew him to me.