Since I was a psychology major and continue to study psychology of my own volition to this day, I often run across various studies and theories about human behavior. One of them is that choice is good for people, but too much choice is very stressful for them. Having three types of chip to choose from is good. Having 20 is just going to make you stand in the aisle biting your nails trying to decide what to buy.
Apparently, most American manufacturers don't know about such studies as there are eleventy-billion (that's an "imaginary number" in every sense of the term) varieties of everything back home. How fortunate for me that I live in Japan where the only thing they saturate me with choice about are fish, tofu, panty fetish items and anime characters, none of which is of any particular interest to me. While there may be a ton of Kit-Kat flavors, more than three are rarely offered at once. These "Okome Kitchen" ("Rice Kitchen"), a brand made by my favorite sembei maker Kameda Seika, snacks come in three varieties, too. I found these on the shelf at a little market near my house for 100 yen ($1.24) per bag and had my pick from among red pepper and mayo, garlic and black pepper, and wasabi and salt. I choose the mayo because I figured it'd be the hardest child to love in this little snack family.
A good whiff of the freshly opened bag gives you the familiar scent of mayonnaise, as should be expected. The first bite, as is so often the case, is the best because you get the depth of flavor most acutely with a clean palate. The flavor of Japanese mayonnaise with it's eggy and rich taste comes through potently, but not overwhelmingly followed by a nice spicy hit of red pepper. The blending of these two components is damn near perfect as the mayonnaise taste is cleaved beautifully by the pepper's heat. There are also some savory flavors added in to provide a better backdrop including cheese, vinegar, pepper, chicken and seafood. These components don't come through as individual tastes, but as a melange of seasoning. This blending of savory spices with hot pepper stops this from tasting like you're sucking on a tube of mayonnaise.
The chips are light and cripsy and have the feel of being baked rather than fried, though vegetable oil is the third ingredient after rice and rice flour. This is like a cross between sembei (rice cracker) and a processed potato snack, but in a good way. They're a bit on the smallish side, at about half the size of a standard chip, so it's easy to find yourself popping two or three in your mouth at once. Fortunately, the entire 60 gram (about 2 oz.) bag is only around 300 calories so you can indulge fairly freely without paying too heavy a price.
I was surprised that I really enjoyed these. I think mayonnaise flavoring is something which is quite easy to overdo and get very wrong, but felt this was well-balanced. While I can't say I was over-the-moon about these such that I'd be buying them again and again until they're taken off the market (and ultimately, they won't be around because that's the way it is in Japan), but I'd definitely buy them again.