We Crunch Our Way Through Five Nagaraya Flavors to Find the Best OneJuly 1, 2019
Well-loved since being introduced to the country in 1967, Nagaraya—the Japanese-stylized (but Mexican) brand known for their cracker nuts—took home gold when we held our cracker nut taste test in 2018. But beyond its winning Garlic variant are four other variants available in local supermarkets. Which of them reigns supreme?
At best, adobo comes across as okay; at worst, it’s a disappointment. When sucked on, it does have a peppery, garlicky, slightly tangy note that you can *somehow* imagine to be its namesake dish. But this is hardly detectable when you actually crunch down on the pieces (which is how most people eat their Nagaraya); instead, it just tastes plain and salty. It’s not bad, but you wouldn’t know it’s meant to be adobo-flavored.
Said to have been the sole flavor available during the brand’s Philippine debut in the 60’s, the Original tastes almost more sweet than savory, a quality the author personally liked—but the rest of the team did not. Either way, it has a strong butteriness that compliments the sweetness of the peanut and the maltiness of the cracker.
The Barbecue variant has a peppery, garlicky profile similar to the Adobo, when sucked on—just tangier and a tad spicier. Though a member of the team points to the presence of a cardboard-y aftertaste, it ends with a pork broth cube-like note that helps emphasize its barbecue-flavored identity.
2. Hot and Spicy
As you’d expect, the Hot and Spicy is, well, the spicy one of the group with a chili powder-y kick. The heat doesn’t burn too intensely (a team member also notes that the spiciness hits you late), but there’s enough to emphasize the savoriness of the seasoning—and to keep us coming back for more.
Nagaraya’s take on Garlic won our brand-wide cracker nut taste test last year, and this time, we’re awarding it again for being the brand’s best flavor. It tastes strongly of its namesake flavor, alright, with a potent garlicky punch whose pungency hits you as you crunch (and lingers long after you swallow). It can be pretty intense, but the garlickyness is well balanced by the inner cracker and nut’s mild sweetness.