Last week’s post was about Kuzumochi (くずもち / 葛餅), so this week I need to start with ち (chi). Thank you for all your suggestions: アネケ with Chiba (千葉), chi (血 / blood), cha (茶 / tea) and chipsu (チップス / potato chips), and japanaustralia with chikuwa (竹輪) and chingensai (青梗菜 / Chinese Cabbage). They were all great suggestions! In the end, although I wrote about food last week, I decided to write about about…
Japan’s not exactly famous for its “chipsu”, but from my very first trip there I was fascinated by the variety of flavours available. Before I get into that though, I know this blog is read all over the world so I just want to be clear – when I refer to Japanese “chipsu”, I mean “crisps” in British English and “potato chips” in American English.
If you go into any supermarket or convenience store in Japan you will find all sorts of different kinds of crisps. Of course, there are regular flavours like ready salted, cheese and onion, and salt and vinegar, but there are also flavours that you would only expect to find in Japan, and seasonal flavours.
Some brands are instantly recognisable, like Pringles:
These Pringles were a special release for Christmas, called “white cream cheese” (ホワイト クリームチーズ).
Other Japanese brands, like Calbee, are also available (see Calbee’s Japanese website for more details about their products). Calbee sell “ordinary” crisps, as well as lots of other different varieties, such as Jagabee and Jagariko, which have an unusal hard texture and come in a pot.
Unfortunately, after having eaten loads of them, I discovered that they’re not actually veggie… 😦 (For more information about Tohato products see their Japanese website.)
As for Japanese flavours, I was quite keen on these takoyaki flavoured crisps:
They had a really good flavour and an excellent smell.
One popular souvenir in Hokkaido (the northernmost of Japan’s main islands) is Royce chocolate, and Royce sell utterly delicious chocolate covered crisps. I know, it sounds like a weird combination but, believe me, it works! Walking around the Royce store I kept coming back for more samples, and I couldn’t tell you how many I ate!
Having loved Royce’s chocolate crisps, I was delighted to find these green tea chocolate crisps, which were also really yummy!
Again, it sounds like a weird flavour, but it really works.
As I’m sure you’ll know, Japan is the country of useful inventions. One example of an innovative Japanese invention is ポテトング (Pote-tong) – potato chip tongs!
Brilliant if you don’t want to get salty fingers, and they have this handy clip to keep your crisps fresh:
So, if you go to Japan, be sure to check out the snacks aisle at the convenience store – I’m sure you’ll find something surprising. And remember, interesting flavoured crisps make excellent souvenirs for the office (and they’re really cheap). Crisps in Japan tend to come in these larger packs rather than the individual packs I’m used to in the UK though, so make sure you share them! 😉
And, if you’re in London and want to try some Japanese crisps, why not pop to your local Wasabi, where you can find soy sauce flavour and wasabi flavour crisps:
Both taste really good! They also have seaweed flavour, but I haven’t tried them yet.
Chipsu (チップス) ends with す (su), so next week I will be looking for a noun beginning with “su”. If you have any suggestions, please leave them below and I’ll give you a mention next week! And, don’t forget, no words ending in ん! (^_^)v