亀の甲せんべい kame no ko senbei: tortoise shell senbei (rice cracker)
Sometimes it is abbreviated to かめせん kamesen.
Kamenoko senbei is shaped like tortoise shell. It is an old-fashioned Okinawa snack, but still popular. It is salty and fried crackers. It is cheap to buy in stores.
There are a few different brands of kamenoko senbei, one is Tamaki snack company. Recently I tried the ume (plum) flavor– it was so good and addictive. It is called 梅小亀 ume kogame (plum small tortoise).
I heard that some people used to eat it with chocolate sauce as a treat for children.
It is easy to find this type of senbei in all the grocery stores.
In Okinawan language it is pronounced machikaji まちかじ (松風). The 2 kanji that make up the name are “matsu” 松 meaning pine and “kaze” 風 meaning wind.
Machikaji is a type of senbei せんべい (cracker or cookie) that is colored red (well, more like pink), tied in knot. A red knot is an auspicious symbols, usually used for marriage, so it is commonly eaten at engagement or marriage ceremonies. Machikaji does not have to be limited to just engagements, so it is also eaten for other big celebratory occasions as well.
Today I purchased a machikaji at a shop called Zaha kashiten 座波菓子店 (菓子店 kashiten means “sweets shop”). I brought it home and ate it with tea; it was very delicious. A little sweet but not too much, with a little sesame flavor and crispy.
As a side note: I recently received a photo of my friend’s “engagement” (actually, official entry into her husband’s family registry) and there was a large plate of traditional treats including machikaji~~ I was amused.