Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Calbee Jaga Rico Tuna Mayo

When I was working in an office, I used to pick up plain Jaga Rico potato sticks as a substitute for potato chips. I'm not sure why I felt they were better for me than chips, but I believe that eating a whole cup of these tends to set you back about 290 calories (for 58 grams/2 oz.) whereas a bag of chips is about 450. I'm guessing it was pure portion control rather than any actual reduction in calories that made these less calorically dense. These sticks are hollow, so you get the illusion of eating more of them while consuming less volume.

This line of products by Calbee portrays a cartoon giraffe as its mascot. If you go to their web site, you can see various permutations of their cute long-necked buddy. I'm guessing they chose a giraffe because the long neck on it is reminiscent of the long, straw-like potato snacks.

Previously, I reviewed the umeboshi (sour plum) jaga rico potato sticks and was unimpressed. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with them, but rather that the flavor was so weak that I could barely taste the sour plum. I found this tuna mayonnaise flavor at a local supermarket for 128 yen ($1.44). There seemed to be quite a bloom in flavors, but this was the one I was most attracted to because I love tuna salad.

An illustration on the cup says that the tuna flavor has been enhanced on this, but you can't smell it when you give it a sniff. At first, I tasted the same sort of greasy flavor that comes along with the plain jaga rico flavor, then a mayonnaise flavor. The tuna comes through only at the very end as a faint aftertaste. I'm not sure how much they enhanced the tuna taste, but it wasn't enough. These are super crunchy, and not too salty.

They're not bad, but just like the umeboshi potato sticks of the same brand, these just don't carry enough flavor. That greasy taste that is carried at the start is a bit off-putting as well. I didn't hate these by a long shot, but I didn't love them. I'll certainly slowly make my way through the foil-lined cup of these sticks, but I wouldn't buy them again.


Helen said...

Aww! I have happy memories of Jaga Rico...it was one of my former Eikaiwa manager's favourite snacks. I even gave her an assortment for her wedding present a few years ago. I haven't tried this flavour though.

I like some of the other flavours they have. And, they are a bit like KitKat in that they seem to have regional variations too. Shonai's is a dadachama (special edamame) flavour.

vinci said...

I'm a big fan of the jagarico series but couldnt find this flavor here in NYC...

Orchid64 said...

Helen: I'd probably try out a edamame version of these since I'm a fan of it, but, as you said, it's likely regional and I won't find it. I just wish the sticks were a little less greasy and more flavorful in general. Also, I could really go for about half the portion size as one gets in these cups!

Vinci: Hi there and thank you for commenting!