Japan’s popular shrimp-flavoured snack now comes covered in a coating of dark green matcha chocolate.
Japanese manufacturer Calbee is well-known for its range of potato chips, vegetable chips, and even cereals, but one of its most popular products takes its flavour from the sea. Called Kappa Ebisen, the crunchy, shrimp-flavoured snack is so popular it’s been sold overseas for more than 50 years. And now, for the very first time, it’s making an appearance with a very unusual partner: matcha, or powdered green tea.
▼ Available at convenience stores for a limited time only, when we stumbled upon these by chance they were already almost sold out.
Curious to find out what the bizarre flavour combination would taste like, we picked up a pack when we found them on sale inside Tokyo Station and sure enough, all signs on the packaging pointed to matcha.
▼ The image of a bowl of frothy, freshly made green tea, usually a highlight of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, makes for a strange sight next to a bright red shrimp.
▼ It appears that Kappa Ebisen’s well-known ridged shape chip has traded in its golden skin for a new green coating.
According to the blurb on the rear of the cup, the light and crunchy Kappa Ebisen has now combined salt and matcha chocolate for unstoppable deliciousness. It’s hard to imagine, but let’s see if it lives up to the hype!
After peeling off the lid, we peered inside to find the shrimp chips had indeed turned a lovely shade of green. Instead of being hit with Kappa Ebisen’s usual shrimp aroma, we were met with the enticing, creamy fragrance of matcha chocolate. So far, so good!
Each thick morsel was generously covered in matcha-infused chocolate, which, upon tasting, is the first flavour to hit your tongue. As soon as you bite into the chip, however, that’s when the taste of shrimp comes to the fore, reminding you that this snack combines tea fields with the sea. The salty shrimp aroma fills your mouth and then melds with the bitter-sweet matcha for a moment before disappearing, leaving you with the lingering aftertaste of green tea.
After tasting one, we were keen to have another just to experience all those flavours again. The salty crunch, combined with the full-bodied umami flavour from the matcha chocolate made it hard to stop and before we knew it we’d almost finished the packet and were now wondering why we didn’t buy all the packs we’d seen on the shelf at the store.
At 160 yen (US$1.43) each, the limited-edition chips just recently went on sale on February 8 and will be available at convenience stores around the country. If you’re lucky enough to find them, be sure to try a pack because, like all good things, these won’t be around for long!
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