When it comes to potato chips, Japanese makers sure are good at coming up with unique and interesting flavors. Whether you want meaty flavors like karaage fried chicken, savory flavors like tonkotsu ramen, or chips with a kick like wasabi beef, there’s guaranteed to be something out there for you. There are even sweet flavors, like matcha chocolate-covered chips.
Generally, the flavors are obvious enough that you can get an idea of what the chips will taste like from the name, but with some of the more…unique varieties, it can be kind of hard to imagine. For our reporter Mr Sato, for example, the Peach Potato Chips he found recently really threw him for a loop.
Sato happened to find them when he was checking out Nihonbashi Fukushima-kan Midette, a shop in downtown Tokyo’s Nihonbashi neighborhood that’s dedicated to selling products from Fukushima. Shops that sell local specialties for different prefectures are common in big cities, where rural transplants and urban foodies alike can get a taste of the different delicacies from around the country. Fukushima, for example, is famous for growing many fruits, including peaches, pears, and cherries, as well as for producing delicious sake, and you can find many of those things at a shop like Midette.
But what made Mr Sato do a double take in Midette was the veritable mountain of bags of peach-flavored potato chips. He wondered how well the flavor of peach would transfer to a potato chip. Wouldn’t you normally want something with a stronger flavor to overpower the taste of the potatoes? Other prefectures’ specialty chips feature more pungent flavors like “Flame-grilled Sendai Beef” from Miyagi Prefecture and “Taco Rice” from Okinawa. The soft fruitiness of peach is too delicate for potato chips…right?
Mr. Sato did some research and found a little documentary about the development of these chips on the e-commerce site 47 Club. According to the video, the Fukushima Prefecture Agricultural Girls Network, who had a hand in the production of the chips, tried multiple recipes and did many taste tests to create a product that gives off a nice taste and aroma of peach first, and then settles into a potato chip flavor.
This is the result! One bag contains 120 grams of chips and sells for 432 yen.
The ingredients lists features “peach powder” and “peach puree powder” somewhat prominently, so it seems like the peach flavor comes from actual peaches. Apparently, the Fukushima Agricultural Girls had a hand in growing the peaches used to make the powder, too, so these chips are entirely a product of Fukushima Prefecture.
Without further delay, Mr Sato dove right in. When he pulled open the bag, a faint, sweet smell wafted out.
It was actually a pretty soothing scent, and was quite possibly the most fruity-smelling bag of chips Mr Sato had ever had the pleasure of sniffing.
Besides the sweet smell, though, the chips looked pretty ordinary. He wondered if they really would taste of peaches, despite the strong smell.
Mr Sato popped one into his mouth. His first impression was…of peach juice! The taste really reminded Mr. Sato of the peachy fruit drink by Fujiya known as Nectar. That was quite a surprise! It was the first time that Mr Sato had ever bitten into a potato chips that was genuinely sweet. It really did taste like peaches!
But what was even more surprising is that after that initial pop of peach, the peach flavor quietly disappeared and left Mr Sato with the regular taste of salted potato chips.
These chips were featured on TV last year and won the title of Best Local Chips for the year, so you know they’ve gotta be good. Mr Sato can verify that they’re not only completely original, but are very true to their flavor. If you’re interested in trying them, definitely check them out at a Fukushima specialty shop, or on 47 Club’s online store.
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