Here at RocketNews24, we’re no strangers to the culinary charms of extremely meaty hamburgers. Time and again, we’ve seen chefs in Japan push the burger envelope by offering increasingly massive sandwiches.
Today, though, we’re looking at the polar opposite: a bun-based sandwich with no meat at all. While a lack of beef may run counter to our baseline burger beliefs, there’s one important detail that turns this from sacrilegious to scrumptious.
The patty has been replaced by potato chips.
While Japanese snack maker Calbee has had a presence in grocery stores and convenience stores for decades, the company has recently been branching out by opening its own retail locations. Calbee Plus lets customers snack on potato chips fresh from the fryer, while Grand Calbee offers upscale, gift-quality slivers of deep-fried spuds.
The company’s next endeavor is Calbee Kitchen, a snack counter at the southbound rest stop of the Tomei Expressway in Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture.
As we learned on our bus ride to Shikoku, Japanese highway rest stops can be pretty snazzy, and Ebina’s has a long-standing reputation as the place to get some of the best-tasting melon bread in east Japan. Motorists with the munchies now have a second reason to pull over in Ebina, as July 14 marks the opening of the Calbee Kitchen and the debut of the potato chip sandwich.
Nestled between the buns is a handful of wavy-cut chips made with potatoes from Hokkaido, on top of a bed of crisp coleslaw and a slice of cheese.
Calbee Kitchen also has two other unique offerings. While the company’s Poteriko potato snacks are available elsewhere, Ebina is the only place to get them in shrimp flavor, appropriate since the first two characters in Ebina are the same as ebi, the Japanese word for shrimp.
If you’ve been a good boy or girl and earned yourself some dessert by finishing all your fried potatoes, Calbee Kitchen can hook you up with some acai ice cream parfait, which comes with berries, banana, mango and granola, in keeping with the peculiar Japanese custom of mixing breakfast cereals into parfait.
▼ We suppose it makes more sense than t0pping it with scrambled eggs.
The acai parfait costs 450 yen (US$4.45) and an order of shrimp Poteriko 310 yen. Surprisingly, at just 270 yen, the star attraction potato-chip sandwich, is the cheapest of the bunch. That may still seem like a lot for something that looks like it was thrown together by someone waking up with a hangover and piecing breakfast together with the remnants of the previous day’s barbeque. Given Calbee’s reputation for tasty quality, though, we’re sure there’ll be more than a few drivers stopping by to try the sandwich out.