Three bags of Japanese chips you should eat

By David Higgins

With the barrage of diet fads and guilt trips about what types of foods you should avoid eating, there sometimes comes an occasion – a payday, Friday, or a holiday – that you get an irresistible urge to indulge in some of the finer snacks out there in the world. Comparing to their US counterparts, Japanese potato chips may even be considered “healthy” as they contain less salt and saturated oils. Listed below are three bags of potato chips you have to try while living in Okinawa.  These chips are readily available at most convenience stores and supermarkets.

Super Big Bag (Lightly Salted) by Calbee

Super Big Bag

These chips by Calbee, are called “Super Big” and a bag contains 466 g of chips. This is the hugest bag of chips sold in all of Japan, and labeled as “lightly salted.” In a taste comparison, a bag of Lay’s Classic is as delicious as drinking a glass of seawater.  If this bag of chips had hands, it would slap a bag of Lay’s Classic bag of chips across the face. These Calbee chips are a refreshing change from the overly salted greasy chips that are common in the US.  The chips actually taste like potato and are salted just enough so that you are not dying of thirst, but drinking a beer to wash down the saltiness is just as enjoyable.  In a health comparison, they contain less fat and salt than their US rivals.  So in a way, you could potentially convince yourself that these chips could be considered a “healthy choice.”

 

 

 

Wasabifu by Yomoyoshi

Wasabifu

The concept of these wasabi & beef flavored chips is, in my opinion, pure genius. One of my North American friends turned me on to this bag of beauties.  The idea of fusing beef and wasabi is a great one, and definitely something I would like to recreate in the kitchen in the future.  In essence, wasabi is simply horseradish, but I think if the chips were named “horseradish and beef” I don’t think it would have the same ring to it.  It is even a pleasure to say “Wasabifu”; the name just rolls off the tongue. The best thing about these chips is that they are considered spicy, but they are not the traditional spicy pepper-like taste.  It’s the wasabi type of spicy that makes your eyes water.

Okinawa Shikuwasa by Calbee

Okinawa Shikuwasa

These chips are available exclusively on Okinawa.  Shikuwasa (Citrus depressa) is a small, green citrus fruit native to Okinawa, Japan.  It has a lemon and orange flavor, and the discovery of infusing this taste into chips is similar to the incredible event of Edison inventing the light bulb. The flavor starts off as your standard salt and vinegar taste, but if you wait a second, the essence of shikuwasa hits your palate in one giant flavor bomb. These are highly recommended to eat washed down with a beer and best eaten after getting home from work.

They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so this means getting out to your local supermarket or convenience store and indulging in the local potato chips. When you get a case of the munchies, make sure to explore the aisles for these three chips that have just been described to you above, or be adventurous and throw a few bags of other new-to-you flavors in your basket.