Japan’s favourite crisps

Let’s find out with goo Ranking what Japan’s favourite crisps (or chips, if you are so inclined) are.

Back in Scotland, it was Walker’s, and usually cheese flavour, but now in Japan it’s sour cream and onion, and Calbee is my favourite brand, although Koikeya’s Pride Potatoes are not bad too.

Now there’s a thing – I’ve never seen Smoky Bacon despite that being a standard UK flavour, and Vinegar is a rarity in crisps yet is a fundamental in many Japanese dishes.

The Calbee adverts can be quite entertaining (these are for Consommé Punch)


Japanese potato crisps (or chips, if you prefer)

bag of calbee ume-katsu, sour plum and bonito flavour potato crispsMyVoice carried out a fun survey of their MyVoice internet community at the start of December last year to find out their views on potato crisps. 14,846 people completed the internet-based questionnaire. 58% were female, 4% in their teens, 23% in their twenties, 38% in their thirties, 23% in their forties, and 12% in their fifties (was no-one older than that?).

I really love Japanese crisps; there is a huge variety of flavours, and Calbee especially put out lots and lots of special limited edition bags. One series that started about two years ago was plain flavour, but salted with salt from various parts of the country. Okinawa’s Ishigaki is the only one I can clearly remember, although they did also have one from Kyushu and one from Hokkaido. Another great series, where they release two new snacks (corn or other starch shapes rather than standard potato crisps, I suppose) every six months is still ongoing; they’ve had ume flavour (sour plums), soy beans, onion and pumpkin, to name the ones that spring to mind, all accompanied by very imaginative advertising. They’re difficult to find, but well worth picking up. We also have two bags of more normal crisps sitting around awaiting eating; one is in the international cuisine series, an Italian (allegedly) basil and cheese flavour, and the other is as pictured above, 梅かつお, ume-katsuo, sour plums and bonito fish flakes, which will probabaly be as revolting as it sounds. However, the package design is excellent – note the plum flowers, with the release of this product timed to coincide with the plum blossoms.

Note that a standard bag of crisps weighs in at about 65 to 80 grammes and costs a little over 100 yen, although the supermarkets I frequent often have one or two flavours on special offer of 99 yen a bag. Imported stuff like Kettle Chips can cost well over 400 yen each, although last month I was lucky enough to find some Canadian crisps on clearout sale for 100 yen at my local supermarket.