Thursday, May 19, 2011
Koikeya Sour Cream and Onion Stick Potato
One of my particularly angry stalkers once attacked me for "micromanaging" my calories whilst simultaneously criticizing my eating habits as ones that would turn me into a fat, bloated mess of an American. Apparently, the inherent contradiction (criticizing me for watching what I eat and asserting that I will become so fat that flesh will drip off my face like molten wax) is not obvious to unhappy people who find me repugnant yet can't seem to resist reading what I write. This comes to mind because I'm about to talk about how I'm not the sort of person who grabs a can of beer and a packet of salty, fried potato goodness and plonks down in front of the T.V. after work. I'm the sort of person who eats a few chips and is satisfied with a small amount.
For people who are happy with small portions, packets of salty snacks like this one from Koikeya are nearly ideal. Well, it's not exactly ideal for me as even this 50 gram bag (1.7 oz. at 271 calories for the whole thing) takes weeks to finish. However, if you are a portion-conscious lover of chips and beer, this 100-yen ($1.24) offering might be right up your alley. I picked this up at a 100 yen shop that sells food, but I've seen it at other places around Tokyo as well (convenience stores, drug stores, etc.).
There are only two ways in which these sorts of things can fail and one is rare and the other common. The rare failure is with the presentation of the fried potato sticks themselves. They might not be crispy enough, or may be too greasy or carry a funky taste from the type of oil they are fried in. Fortunately, that was not an issue. The other possible problem is that the flavoring is strange or too weak, particularly the latter. In Japan, a lot of flavored salted snacks are on the weak side for my crude American palate, but these did not let me down. The onion flavor is potent and the sour cream just about right.
Usually, I rate Japanese treats by how they uniquely present their flavors, but for things like this, I'm really looking for an experience which parallels those that I had back home. For a potato stick, which is pretty much the same across cultures, the best I can hope for is that it tastes the way I want it to taste and doesn't have some bizarre variation meant to suit Japanese tastes. This didn't have any weirdness, and was very satisfying. It was like a taste of home.