Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Calbee Biyori Snack Osatsu

Calbee is a very large producer of salted snacks in Japan. Their potato chips line the salted snack food aisles more than any other manufacturers. The company employs nearly 1400 people. You'd think one of them could design a professional web site for this product, or that they could afford to hire some independent contractor to do a nice site for it, but the site for this looked like an old Geocities account (the site has gone away since I wrote this review so I'm sorry there's no link to it).

I found this 20 gram (.7 oz.) bag for 40 yen (44 cents) at Seiyu supermarket. Seiyu has a far more impressive snack section than any of my local stores and I go there with my husband once every two months and compile a huge pile of snacks for future reviewing. I still haven't worked through everything that I bought in the last trip. It appealed to me on two levels. First of all, it's sweet potato and, second, it's 103 calories for the whole bag. I like to keep my snacking calories no higher than 100 so the portion size really called to me.

These are heavily processed chips made with sweet potato and flour. They're seasoned with a dusting of sweet potato powder and a hint of sugar and are very lightly sweet and have a whisper of salt. Air should be listed as an ingredient given how light they are, but I'm not complaining. They're pleasantly crispy and fun to eat. I recommend eating them slowly by letting the chip rest on your tongue for several seconds so the subtle flavor sinks in.

Flavor-wise, I wish that the sweet potato flavor was somewhat more intense, but on the whole I really liked these. They make an enjoyable light treat and are fresh and crispy. I'd definitely consider keeping a bunch of these one hand for calorie-controlled snacking.


sophia said...

Mmmm I love these!!

I didn't see a comment box for your other blog.. but I can TOTALLY empathize with the pale skin. I don't tan.. like ever. I'm like you ~ either I'm snow white pale, or I burn like a lobster >.< In Japan I felt so beautiful, and NORMAL. Now, back to life in California, I'm accused of being sickly and "hating" the sun hahahaha. I can't believe people pay money to have white skin like ours!! I need to move back to Asia....

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Sophia, and thanks for your comment!

I don't allow comments on the other blog because people were misunderstanding the blog's premise and becoming argumentative (despite my efforts to explain, it only got worse). I often tell my students with darker skin that their skin would be considered beautiful back home, but they don't quite believe me!

Marvo said...

I wish Lay's and other potato chip companies would come out with sweet potato chips. Although, I don't know if the health benefits of sweet potatoes would transfer over in deep fried potato chip form.

Orchid64 said...

It is peculiar that the bit name chip makers don't make sweet potato chips. I'm wondering if it has something to do with the cost of the potatoes. It's not like Americans don't like sweet potatoes!

Thanks for commenting, Marvo. It's always great when you come by!

Serena said...

I bought some Calbee chips at an Asian market once before, they were shaped like fries and supposedly had vegetables in them. They were really good!

I also agree with you about the tanning thing. I hate the way unnatural tans look and I really don't want to increase my chances of skin cancer either. I'm happy being pale. =)

Anonymous said...

I know I'm a little late on this post. I love sweet potato snacks/chips! There was a particular bag made by Calbee that could be found at the Mitsuwa (Japanese) supermarkets here in Los Angeles, but I can't find them anymore. However, I've been noticing other imports/brands at various Asian supermarkets in the greater Los Angeles area.

I've recently discovered both of your blogs and have been enjoying reading them immensely!

I've never been to Japan (yet), but I've been toying with the idea of throwing caution to the wind and moving there to teach English for a year or two. We'll see if I muster up the courage to do so. :)

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Dani, and thanks for your kind words!

Most products in Japan seem to be in a constant state of flux. They come and go. I've discovered (now that I pay attention) that things come around cyclically. If these chips are gone for now, there's a good chance they'll be back in the autumn. I loved them, too!

Right now, the English teaching market is pretty bad (two major chains have collapsed, the number of people studying English continues to drop). I wouldn't say "don't do it", but I'd definitely say make sure you have the job before you come by finding it through a recruiter back home first (like JALT). Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Shari! Yeah, I heard about the two major language school chains that have collapsed in Japan. Thus my hesitancy in making that final step. I appreciate your candor. I think I'm going to end up simply taking a long vacation touring certain regions either next spring or fall of 2011. :) I'm still fully enjoying catching up with all your food snack posts! Thanks again for them! :) Dani