Have you ever opened a pre-packaged snack and then, before realising it, found you devoured the whole thing?
This was the question put to 906 readers of an online news site in Japan. Out of the 906 people in the survey, 618 said they had unwittingly scoffed the lot. But what are Japan’s most irresistible snacks? And what makes them so impossible to resist? Take a look at some of the comments from respondents as we bring you an inside look at the top five…
- Number 5:
Happy Turn (ハッピーターン) rice crackers by Kameda Seika Confectionery (158 yen, US$1.62) 43 votes (6.9%)
“The taste of the happy powder is superb.” (34-year-old male)
“I’m totally addicted to the magic powder.” (31-year-old male)
“They’re individually wrapped so they’re easy to eat and I like that they’re both sweet and salty.” (24-year-old male)
Happy Turn rice crackers with magic happy powder? We couldn’t wait to try these out! It’s true, the sweet and salty taste of the powder really is something; a bit similar to a light barbecue flavoured chip. Only different. Deliciously addictive, their bite size means it’s almost impossible to stop at just one. We did feel happy afterwards, but that was probably because we hadn’t had anything since lunch…
- Number 4:
Jagarico (じゃがりこ) potato chips by Calbee (98 yen, US$1.00) 49 votes (7.9%)
“They’re different to potato chips. They have a texture like fried potato chips which I love.” (31-year-old male)
“I can’t get enough of the crunchy texture.” (26-year-old male)
“They’re delicious and I always eat them; I think their big selling point is that the flavour isn’t overpowering.” (26-year-old female)
It seems it’s the texture and flavour that keeps people reaching out for more of this snack. The reason Jagarico gets our vote though, is because there’s a whole other secret way to enjoy these chips: by turning them into mashed potato. How? Simply pour boiling water on the chips in the container and let it sit for a minute or two. Then mash it all together with a fork and… instant mashed potato! In as many flavours as they offer. That somehow makes it more like a healthy meal and not a snack, right?
- Number 3:
Kappa Ebisen (かっぱえびせん) prawn chips by Calbee (42 yen, US$0.43) 54 votes (8.7%)
“The salty seasoning and the taste make these superb.” (37-year-old male)
“They have just the right amount of seasoning and I love the prawn smell.” (32-year-old female)
“The size is perfect for your mouth.” (44-year-old female)
There’s a Pringles-style catchphrase for these chips: “Yamerarenai Tomaranai” (sometimes shortened to “Yame Toma”), which means: “You can’t stop, you won’t stop”. It’s a really well-known commercial jingle in Japan, and such is the power of the catchphrase that many people find themselves unable to stop until they get to the very last prawny chip! These had such a strong prawn smell when we opened the packet but the prawn taste was perfect, just subtle enough and not overpowering at all.
- Number 2:
Chocolate with 110 votes (17.7%)
“It’s sweet and its goodness spreads its way through my brain. Plus, it goes well with coffee.” (22-year-old female)
“Once I’ve finished a piece, the sweetness disappears from my tongue, so I end up throwing them into my mouth one after the other.” (26-year-old male)
“When I’m stressed I want something sweet.” (23-year-old female)
“When I eat chocolate it puts me in a happy mood.” (25-year-old female)
There were many responses singing the praises of chocolate’s mood-lifting effects, and a lot of people seem to be seeking out the sweet satisfaction of chocolate. Japanese chocolate is definitely not as sweet as its western counterpart. Which only makes it easier to eat a whole (albeit thin) bar in a single sitting…
- Number 1:
Potato Chips with 169 votes (27.3%)
“Because salt and potatoes are a perfect match.” (26-year-old female)
“The light salt flavour is something I keep going back for so once I open a bag I can’t stop.” (39-year-old male)
“Chips go well with a drink and there are so many different flavours to enjoy.” (36-year-old male)
“A chip is very thin so it doesn’t fill me up too much. But also they’re really tasty so I end up eating them really quickly without realising it.” (31-year-old female)
The irresistibility of plain-old potato chips seems to be in that salty seasoning. And the feeling that they don’t fill you up. Potato chips in Japan come in all sorts of unusual flavours, like fish roe, soybean, roast mushroom, and cherry blossom. You can’t get bored with potato chips in Japan!
There is of course, a downside to snack-overeating: respondents’ talked about remorse, lingering smells, increased cholesterol levels and a 10 kilo weight gain.
“A short while after I finish eating a whole snack, I feel bad” (33-year-old female)
“The smell of “Happy Turn” lingers in my room” (25-year-old male)
“I get full and then I can’t eat dinner” (27-year-old female)
“Even when I’m on a diet I can’t stop myself when it comes to snacks” (26-year-old female)
“I got so many more pimples” (23-year-old female)
“I got into the habit of eating them at night so I put on ten kilos in a year” (30-year-old female)
“My cholesterol count went up” (45-year-old male)
“I got a lot of cavities” (28-year-old female)
“I ate so much my jaw got sore” (25-year-old male)
It’s amazing how people can reflect on their natural love of sweets with the instinctive knowledge that you shouldn’t overdo it by eating too much! It seems that when it comes to snacking, with deliciousness comes sweet sorrow. Sweet, delicious sorrow.
Source: Niconico News