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Food For Thought Meal in a Chip
(Entered Nov. 22, 2007)
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After what seems like decades of waiting, the Japanese seem to be grudingly accepting the idea that soy sauce, shrimp and regular are not the only three flavours in the universe when it comes to potato chips. Great so pass me the bag of salt and vinegar. No? How about dill pickle? bbq? ketchup...? Not sure exactly what happened, but somewhere along the way, chip flavour scientists forgot that chips go well with condiments, but are not meals in themselves.
I admit I'm a little confused as to how you could sprinkle tomato paste, beef, onions, carrots, celery, meat broth, white wine, milk, olive oil, herbs and pasta on each and every chip but hey, maybe chip technology has taken a great leap forward in the last few months. Once you've gotten over that, the next logical question seems to be 'why would you even bother?'. I've never eaten chips with my spaghetti and I don't intend to start. So are they better than the spaghetti mom makes?

meal in a chip

Hmm, surprisingly they're not bad even though the creators decided to take out most of the above ingredients and replace them with salt. So does it taste like Bologna's most famous dish? While it might not take you back to those dusky red-coloured buildings, wide piazzas and hot summer nights on the Po River, it has an interesting twang that might convince you to buy it again.

Chips go well with hamburgers, but they don't replace them. Someone should have mentioned this to the product testing team when they gave the go ahead for this flavour to be released. My first thought on looking at the bag wasn't about chips at all. That great looking hamburger made me want to head to TGIFriday's or something and forget about stupid potato chips completely. Although it's written in Japanese, the top, right side of the bag describes the chips as being juicy and delicious. Juicy chips eh? I won't even get started on the impossibility of making a potato chip taste anything like a hamburger. Ok I'll admit that McDonald's can make pretty much anything taste like beef now, but the day when we can eat a potato chip and think we're chewing on a burger will truly be a great day for humanity. In the meantime we can only dream, and false advertise.

meal in a chip

Knowing deep down that the bag isn't full of hamburgers in chip form doesn't help ease the disapointment of eating them and finding out that the definition of mega-burger flavour in Japan means a chip sprinkled with ketchup powder. Back to the drawing board eh?

Curry flavour seems like a more reasonable idea for a potato chip seeing how curry is already a powder, although the picture of a plate of Japanese curry and rice (like the hamburger above) makes me wonder why I'm buying chips and not heading to CoCo Ichibanya. So what's the verdict?

meal in a chip

First of all, the chips don't really seem to be chips. I'm not sure what they are but after trying a few of the bubbly, crumbly, wafer-like things, I feel like I'm eating oil soaked, deep fried kleenex sprinkled with curry. In case you're not sure, that's not an impression that leads to a second purchase.
So what's next on the chip flavour lineup? Turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing? Bring it on! When it comes to Japan and product experimentation, I've learned to expect the unexpected.



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