Taro's Japan Tour Adventures: Kata-Age Chips!
Kata-Age or Kettle Cooked?
If I had to pick my favorite snack to buy for a road trip, I'm pretty sure a bag of potato chips would be in at least the top 5. Lays, Frito's, Doritos, Cheetos, you name it, I probably like it. Still, Japan's no stranger when it comes to loving potato chips. In fact, during the recent potato famine in Hokkaido, some bags of chips went for as much as 10~15$ a bag! It's pretty safe to say Japan is just as crazy over potato chips as we are here in the States.
During a recent Japan tour, I got a bit tired of the usual ekibens and ice cream snacks, so I figured I'll try a bag of potato chips to keep my cravings in check. For the most part, I usually buy Calbee brand nori-shio (seaweed & salt) seasoning chips for a nice, salty treat. However, being the thrill-seeking foodie that I am, I decided it's time to mix things up with something different.
From the corner of my eye, I found a bright bag of Kata-Age potato chips from Calbee. For some reason, my mind went straight to karaage (Japanese fried chicken), so I figured
why not? and bought a bag. From the first bite, I was hooked on these crispy, lightly fried potato chips. Even better, the flavor was a special soup-stock seasoning that is pretty much available only in Japan.
After finishing my bag, I looked up the Kata-Age line from Calbee to see it's their version of kettle-cooked chips. A popular style of making potato chips, kettle-cooked chips have more crunch and pack noticeable flavor to them. Japan's take on this popular style is definitely a winner, and I highly recommend to anyone looking for a new flavor. I'm aware some of Japan's chip flavors may seem out of place (wasabi, seaweed/salt, etc) but they're worth a sample. After all, what's the point of going somewhere new if you're not willing to try the foods?