Thursday, February 3, 2011
Calbee Sapporo Potato Pebbly Vegetable
Back when I was working in an office, I used to pick up these Calbee vegetable snacks on occasion when I wanted a salted snack treat. I didn't buy them because I thought they were so tasty, but rather because they seemed "healthier" than potato chips. If I had a sandwich and I wanted something extra with them, this was my "go to" crunchy snack.
I thought that the calorie count was lower because they didn't seem greasy. It turns out that they aren't seriously better for you in any way when measured by weight, but the volume is higher because they're relatively airy inside. This small bag is 117 calories. You get the illusion of fewer calories since you eat more of them, and that's snot exactly "nothing" when you're in it for the crispiness factor.
I found this small bag (24 grams/.85 oz.) at Seiyu supermarket for 38 yen (45 cents), and decided to revisit my old stand-by. Most of the time, I see much bigger 100 yen bags, but I knew I wasn't going to want to have that much of it around. While I couldn't remember these well enough to review them, I also recalled that they weren't so stellar that I found myself buying them over the years. Besides, now they are made with "pebbly" vegetables bits attached to them and I was "sure" that would represent a vast improvement.
The vegetable component of these is vastly exaggerated unless you only count potatoes. Their flavors are added mainly via a variety of powders including onion, green pepper, pumpkin, and tomato. I'm pretty sure that the little colorful lumps that are stuck on the side of the potato sticks are not real vegetables but some sort of colored potato wads.
These don't smell like much of anything, but that's not really a shock. The "straws" are crunchy and salty, and really don't have a very strong taste. They taste mainly liked processed potato with a slight vegetable aftertaste. If the potato flavor were stronger, these would be better. As it is, they're mainly about the texture and salt, and that's just not enough.
These aren't bad at all, but they fail entirely at being particularly good. Even for something that may be a bit lower in calories than a potato chip, they're too unimpressive to consider buying again.