Thursday, October 2, 2008
Karamucho Hot Chili Potato Chips
I like hot (as in spicy) food so these chips appeal to me more so than the average bland, plain chip. They're also the only regularly-available hot chip in Japan and one of the first types I tried so many years ago when I first arrived. That being said, I have only eaten them about 4 times in 19 years. I decided to revisit them and see what it was that kept me from going back more often. I wondered if a big part of it wasn't that they were bad, but rather that they were too different from American chili and barbecue chips.
These chips smell mostly like regular chips despite having a visible dusting of red powder. On first taste, you are hit by paprika, garlic and onion flavors. The quite mild heat of the chili hits a second wave. The blend of flavors seems designed to make sure the actual potato taste isn't buried in the spices. These aren't exceptionally salty chips and I think that's why they don't produce as strong a burn. That being said, there is a very slow heat build up and by the third chip, I was feeling an irritation in my throat and a few extremely vague and short-lived little burn spots on my lips from the spice.
The chips are mostly medium size and most of them do not have dark spots on them. There is a lot of air in the bag and almost no smashed chips at all. They are nicely crunchy, not overtly greasy, and of average thinness. Personally, I prefer chips that are cut in this way rather than those which are extra thin or thick cut.
I bought this small bag(28 grams or just under 1 oz.) in a 99 yen shop where a variety of salted snack foods in small packages were being sold at a price of 2 for 99 yen (94 cents so 47 cents for this one small bag). The entire bag will cost you 154 calories, 9.5 grams of fat, and 168 mg of sodium.
If you like things that are just a bit spicy but not painfully hot, these are really quite nice. Personally, I prefer quite a bit more of a burn factor from my spicy chips, but I believe these pack a much nicer flavor profile. Really hot chips are mainly giving you the neurotransmitter rush as your brain deals with the "pain" from the burning. These actually taste good and have a well-balanced mixture of chili and other spices.