The 5 most popular snacks in Japan

The 5 most popular snacks in Japan

TOKYO —

Have you ever opened a pre-packaged snack and then, before realizing 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) 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 flavored 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) 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 flavor 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 flavors 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)  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 flavor 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 flavors 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 realizing 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 flavors, 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

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  • 9

    corner-of-my-eye

    if my mother had ever caught me adding boiling water to jagarico and pounding it into mashed potato with a fork, i would have been grounded for a month.

  • -6

    Scrote

    The crisps/chips are sold in too large bags. Each bag has about 400 calories so it's not surprising those people got fat. They should sell smaller bags 1/3 of the size.

  • -1

    kimuzukashiiiii

    I love Happy Tan :D

  • 19

    Maria

    Why are #s 5 to 3 specific brands, but the top 2 just generally named "chips", and chocolate"?

  • 2

    Yubaru

    The crisps/chips are sold in too large bags. Each bag has about 400 calories so it's not surprising those people got fat. They should sell smaller bags 1/3 of the size.

    If you do a little shopping you will find that chips come in many different sizes, from the small, "kid will take on his school picnic" size to the "Jumbo for Japan" party size, and a few in between as well. Prices run accordingly as well, from about 60 to 90 yen for a "small" bag up to 300 to 400 or higher for a "large" bag.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Jagarico (じゃがりこ) potato chips by Calbee (98 yen) 49 votes (7.9%)

    Never knew that Jagarico was classified as a potato chip. I always thought they were "sticks" and not chips. Go figure.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    I was thinking the same thing as Maria. When I read 'chocolate' I thought it was odd, but I guess that was probably based on how the survey was designed and people wrote in just that -- chocolate and chips.

    I like the rice crackers and love chips, but the others I'm not overly fond of. I think Jagariko is disgusting.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Alwats thought it was "Happy Town". Love them.

  • -8

    BertieWooster

    Throw away the crisps and eat the plastic bags they come in.

    They are better for you and more nutritious.

  • 2

    Sperry

    And not a stick of Pocky to be found. heh.

  • 4

    Triangle-of-Cake

    Normally chips come in one size, wrapped in newspaper with a fish on top.

  • -3

    papigiulio

    They should sell smaller bags 1/3 of the size.

    ARe you a gnome? The bags are already too msall as they are. Getting my huge bags at costco for a LOT LESS than what the cost in the usual store.

  • 1

    caffeinebuzz

    I too, thought the ranking categories were odd. Maybe they should have asked people's favorite branded snacks from each major category: Chocolate, chips, senbei etc.

  • 2

    Wakarimasen

    No little dried fish? Dried squid? C'mon Japan!

  • 2

    badmigraine

    I find Cool Ranch Doritos to be irresistible. I eat most of the bag until I feel sort of sick, then put it aside. Five minutes later I open it again and even pour the crumbs into my mouth. Then I'm not hungry for dinner so skip it. Around 10 pm, ravenous for more Doritos. Sound familiar?

  • -3

    Jerome_from_Utah

    Wakarimasen beat me to it. Tastes must have changed since I was there. Back then, it was dried squid or octopus followed Pocky or tangerines (in season). One American girl ate so many of those fruit that the palms of her hands turned orange and scared her parents. After they figured it out at the Clinic, the parents were told not to worry about it.

  • 3

    FightingViking

    No mention of Kaki-no-tane ? Especially "Wasabi aji" ? People don't know what they're missing !

  • -1

    pizzatime

    and................. Tongari Korn!

  • 2

    Jack Stern

    Got to have my Black Thunder chocolate bar for only 30 yen. It's really good for the money. Gives me a quick energy lift and tastes great. Can't beat it for the price.It should be one of those five best.

  • -6

    Francis Urquhart

    Where is natto and that disgusting dried squid?

  • 0

    Probie

    “The smell of “Happy Turn” lingers in my room” (25-year-old male)

    Then clean it and open a window every now and again, you slob.

    “I got so many more pimples” (23-year-old female)

    There is no proven link between diet and acne.

    “I ate so much my jaw got sore” (25-year-old male)

    Idiot.

  • -2

    megosaa

    Triangle-of-CakeAPR. 22, 2013 - 04:43AM JST Normally chips come in one size, wrapped in newspaper with a fish on top.

    You are thinking of First 'N' Chirps I presume?

  • -2

    dcog9065

    I reckon those Bebi-Star crunchy noodles are incredible.

  • 2

    House Atreides

    "I'm totally addicted to the magic powder."

    I believe the scientific term for this "magic powder" is monosodium glutamate.

  • 0

    tmarie

    No mention of Kaki-no-tane ? Especially "Wasabi aji" ? People don't know what they're missing !

    Shhhhh!! Then everyone will eat them!!

  • -1

    Serrano

    I tried Happy Tan. Not bad!

    "Where is natto and that disgusting dried squid?"

    Ha ha lol

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