Review: Calbee Koi-aji Shio-dare Kalbi Chips

Brand: Calbee

Flavor: Kalbi marinated in salt-based sauce (塩だれカルビ)

Size: 70g

Calories: 388 kcal

Score: 5/10

I like meat just about as much as anyone who likes meat, so I wondered how good a potato chip that tastes like meat could be. The picture on the bag certainly looks appetizing enough. Kalbi, which is Korean short rib, is one of the tastiest cuts of meat you can order out at yakiniku (I think anyway). I bought these one day when I was really hungry, and although nothing can really substitute for real meat, I figured it would do. Unfortunately, I don’t think I picked a winner with this one.

These chips are part of Calbee’s koi-aji (濃い味) series, with “koi” here meaning “deep” or “rich”, and most of the chips I’ve tried from this line are really strongly infused with whatever flavor they are, with these being no exception. The overwhelming taste, however, is not the meat itself but rather the salty sauce that it claims to be covered in. It actually tastes a lot more like pepper than salt, and you can even see the pepper flakes on the chips themselves. I’ll admit that I don’t use this particular sauce often when I’m eating out, but I generally enjoy it, and it compliments beef pretty well, but since you can’t taste much of the beef, if any, in the chips, all you’re left with is the sauce, and by itself it’s not all that tasty. I’ll give it points for texture though, since they were really nice and airy and not soaked in soup stock or anything like some of the other koi-aji chips are.

If peppery salt-sauce is your thing, you’ll probably enjoy these a lot, but if not, don’t worry, since they’re a limited edition flavor that will probably be gone in two weeks, like the other seasonal flavors.


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