Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ポテトチップス こがしバター

Calbee's Kogashi Butter (こがしバター) Potato Chip is an OK variation on umami in snack food. There is a propensity in Japan for variations on snack foods lathered in butter (or butter analogs). At their worst, opening a vacu-sealed package an catching the exploding aroma of rancid chemical butter is enough to make one retch. These chips, though relatively boring, don't drive one reeling toward the toilet in anguish.  These at least are made with real butter powder. Whatever that is. And the chip itself has a nice thickness and crunch.

Again, the big marketing thing here is Hokkaido, the genuine center of quite good potatoes and butter in Japan. And the Hokkaido connection is made with the marketing of these chips. Hiroshima-based Calbee (on the opposite end of Japan from Hokkaido), one of the many postwar giants in the snack food industry is responsible for the manufacture of this treat. They started off in the shrimp chip biz, which they handily command, and have become one of the biggest in the potato chip industry.