Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Meiji Chip Chop

There's a scene in the Simpsons where Bart asks his father what a muppet is and his father says,"Well, it's not quite a mop, not quite a puppet, but man... So, to answer you question, I don't know." That is where I'm at mentally on how to classify Meiji's "Chip Chop" snack. It's not quite a chip, not quite a chop. So, I don't know.

I'm not sure what inspired the name of this product, but frankly, it comes across as vaguely racist to me for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. It could be that somewhere in the recesses of my twisted and sugar-addled brain (hey, I have to eat the Chip Chop to review it), I'm associating the name quite inappropriately with "chopsocky" movies, a term applied to Hong Kong martial arts movies which is generally considered racist. 

Getting to the Chip Chop and away from my febrile free associations, the best way I can describe this is a menage a trois between pie, cracker, and cookie. Meiji describes this as ultra-thin dough which has chocolate sandwiched between it. That's a good basic description of the process, but it doesn't account for the way the dough seems to be a little flaky like pie, but to not chip apart or crumble like most pie-based foods. It has the tensile properties of a cracker and the crunch and flavor of a crispy cookie.

The beauty in this is in both the rich chocolate flavor combined with a perfect sprinkling of salt and the crispy texture that makes you almost feel like you're eating a potato chip. The only thing that mars a nearly sublime snack experience is a bit of an odd taste which I associate with processed chocolate. I think it's the same thing which scares me away from crispy chocolate chip cookies as it's common in them. That being said, it didn't put me off of these at all and I am inclined to eat them again.

One 30-gram (about 1 oz.) bag of Chip Chop has 155 calories and is well worth it if you decide to forgo the potato chips in favor of something sweet. It is pretty much a trade-off nutritionally. I got these in my New Year's fukubukuro, so I'm not sure of the retail price but I'd be surprised if they weren't commonly available for 100-130 yen ($1.22-$1.60) for this size. I've seen larger bags than this on offer. 

If you're not put off by the possibility of a certain preserved flavor to your chocolate, I'd strongly recommend giving these a try even if you may have to get them a little more expensively via an importer. The combination of sweet and salty coupled with the satisfying texture is worth a little extra cost. 


shauny said...

You think this is racist? You should see this chocolate bar I saw in Dubai recently. I think it's a Turkish product.


Anonymous said...

This is entirely related, but I just wanted to say that your "born in a barn" post on the other blog was extremely funny. This must be a broader east Asian thing, because it also goes on in Korea (bar and restaurant doors getting left open for ridiculous periods; and in particular the 10-minute "cleaning time" at my school, during which frozen air blows into the office from the outside nonstop).

Some of the Korean habits/notions are probably also relics of the colonial period, which were conveniently misremembered as having nothing at all to do with Japan. For example, people here love to talk, exactly as you said the Japanese do, about how their country has "four distinct seasons"; even to the point that it's seen as one of the symbolic elements of the flag. The blood-type psychology is also quite big.