Review: Koikeya Milk Chips

Brand: Koikeya (コイケヤ)

Flavor: Milk

Size: 50g

Calories: 284 kcal

Score: 8.5/10

Milk chips? MILK chips? Yes, they are real. This flavor suddenly appeared at FamilyMart, one of Japan’s most popular convenience store chains, a little while ago, and I have been curious to try them ever since. After all, milk and potato chips are two wildly different things, and I really wanted to know how they would taste together.

In Japan, milk is usually a little sweet, and that was the first thing I noticed about these chips. They’re still potato chips, so they’re still salty and crunchy, but just with a little added sweetness initially. I couldn’t even tell that they tasted any different from regular potato chips for a few seconds because the difference is pretty subtle. Like with the chocolate potato chips, the combination of salty and sweet is really nice, and it never gets overpowering or disgusting.

You can really start to taste the milk once you’ve finished eating the whole bag, actually, because the aftertaste is pretty strong. It kind of lingers in your mouth like real milk does, and although it’s not exactly the same it really does feel like you just drank a glass of milk. I have no idea how they did that, but there you have it.

I actually really liked these. I wouldn’t mind eating them again.

Review: Calbee Zeitaku Schokora Chocolate x Potato Chips (with Royce Chocolate)

Brand: Calbee

Flavor: “Luxurious choco” (贅沢ショコラ)

Size: 52g

Calories: 295 kcal

Score: 8/10

No matter which country you live in, chocolate-covered potato chips have probably arrived to you by now as everyone jumps on the sweet and savory flavor train, and if they haven’t, that is a shame, because they are Pretty Good. I went into this with zero expectations because I’ve only ever eaten chocolate chips a few other times, and they were really stale, so that kind of set the bar low for all my future attempts at eating chocolate chips. I have to say though, I was pleasantly surprised.

If you are ever planning on eating this particular chip flavor (or any chocolate covered potato chips for that matter), PLEASE do yourself a favor and refrigerate them for at least an hour before eating. It might feel weird to put a bag of chips in the fridge but it will save you from getting as much chocolate as I did all over your hands since it was half melted when I bought it, which kind of put a damper on my experience.

The serving size is a bit smaller than the chips I’ve been eating recently because I bought these at a supermarket and not a convenience store, but to be honest I think the 52g size works just fine for this particular flavor because the combination of chips and chocolate makes them really rich, and they might be initially stomach-turning to someone who hasn’t tried savory sweets before. I have to admit that the first few bites were a little jarring, but they become addictive really fast.

I would highly recommend these to anyone who hasn’t yet eaten chocolate covered chips, but you better jump on it soon, because, as most of the potato chips I’ve seen around, they are limited edition.

Review: Calbee Koi-aji Sour Cream&Jalapeno Chips

Brand: Calbee

Flavor: Sour cream and jalapeno

Size: 70g

Calories: 387 kcal

Score: 9.5/10

These. Are. Delicious!!

Calbee is rolling out the limited edition flavors one after another, so I decided to grab this one before it disappeared forever and I didn’t get a chance to try it. I was in a particularly snacky mood today and was definitely not disappointed. I’ll admit to being a bit biased since I’m a rabid sour cream fan who would eat it on basically anything, but these chips are seriously good.

If you’re like me and aren’t a fan of spicy food, you would probably be a little hesitant to try something that blatantly has a picture of a hot pepper on the front, but I was pretty surprised to find that the jalapeno wasn’t all that strong. It is definitely very different from biting into a real jalapeno. At most there’s just enough to feel a gentle burn (even the bag says it’s a “gradual spiciness”.) It did make my nose run a bit though.

As with a lot of the chips in this particular series, these are coated in a light powder that is what is responsible for a lot of the flavor, so they might get your fingers a little dusty, but apart from that I don’t know if I can find something bad to say. These were so satisfying I finished the whole bag in probably less than five minutes. Oops.

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.

Review: Calbee Kata-age Hokkaido Butter Soy Sauce Chips

Brand: Calbee

Flavor: Butter and soy sauce (バターしょうゆ)

Size: 80g (convenience store size)

Calories: 409 kcal

Score: 8/10

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is famous throughout Japan for producing some of the country’s tastiest foods, but what seems to be their top specialty is dairy. Milk, butter, cheese, and cream from Hokkaido can be found in Japanese supermarkets for a pretty lofty price, but the quality is no joke, and products made with Hokkaido cheese or milk are often advertised as luxurious, expensive foods. Though I’m not sure the same can be said for potato chips, because butter is so famous in Hokkaido, it’s become one of the “trademark” flavors of that region.

Butter and soy sauce is actually the default flavor that you get on popcorn in Japan if you go to the movies (if you choose that flavor anyway) so my first thought when I started eating these was that I was eating popcorn. Calbee’s kata-age series of chips are cooked kettle-style so they are thick and crunchy, so they definitely have a lot more texture than popcorn, and it works pretty well with the saltiness of this particular flavor. It paired nicely with the sandwich I was eating at the time (ham and egg) but by themselves these chips might be a little overpowering. It’s really for you to decide, though.

Overall I was pretty happy with these and I wouldn’t mind trying them out again if I could. I like this series of chips for their texture so I tend to like whatever flavors they mix them with, and this one was one that I thought was one of the better choices Calbee has made.

Review: Koikeya Garlic Chips

Brand: Koikeya (コイケヤ)

Flavor: Garlic

Size: 55g

Calories: 310 kcal

Score: 7/10

I love potato chips. I love garlic. But do I love garlic that much?

If the answer isn’t yes, you might want to reconsider eating these.

Right upon opening the bag the smell hits you in the face. They are called garlic chips for a reason and the taste does not disappoint. These are loaded with garlic to the point where some of the chips, especially near the bottom of the bag, are pretty spicy. The flavor is nice and deep and really satisfying and since they are pretty thin-cut they crunch nicely too. It’s kind of like biting into a whole knob of garlic but with more crunching sounds.

Since the bag was only 55 grams there weren’t a whole lot of chips in there, but that’s really all you need since the garlic flavor is so strong. I’ve eaten these once before and the taste lingers for over a day, even after eating and drinking multiple other foods/drinks and 2-3 teeth brushings. This is what really almost ruins it for me, though the same can be said about real garlic as well, so in the end the experience is really not that different.

If you’re planning on picking these up somewhere be warned that on the back it says it contains dairy, soy, pork, and gelatin (pork gelatin?) so if you’re allergic to any of those things I would not advise trying these. Other than that, if you’re a big garlic fan and you don’t mind not eating real garlic, these probably won’t let you down.