My first impression of Meiji's latest potato chips, Jyoukara, was not so good. Looking at the large size of the bag, I expected it to be full of chips. In fact, about 60% of so of the bag is nothing but air. Perhaps aware of that this might give their customers a bad impression, the packaging states that this was done intentionally to 'prevent the chips from getting crushed'.
While this is a little hard to swallow, the chips themselves are anything but. Each chip was cut using a machine that made them as close to 3/4 inch as possible. The idea behind this is that it makes them easier to stuff in your mouth.
As bad as my first impression was, eating these chips restored my faith in the brand. The first flavor you taste is the potato, then the wasabi and then the aftertaste is the potato again. The strong, potato taste is a good thing as these potatoes come from Hokkaido in northern Japan. Hokkaido-grown produce is popular in Japan and is known for having a lot of vitamin C and potassium. I have always found them a really good, flavorful potato for making chips.
On top of that, the strong taste of wasabi has been kept to a minimum and the chips are only lightly salted. I could quite easily imagine myself stuffing down a whole packet into my mouth, something that is usually difficult with wasabi-flavored foods.
One of the stranger things about these chips is that in order to achieve this nice balance of flavors, they have a relatively large amount of additives from some unusual sources. People with egg, crab, shrimp, wheat, soy protein, milk, pork or chicken allergies are advised not to eat these. Yep, they have that many additives! People concerned about a lot of flavorings in their food would be advised to be cautious.
Overall, this potato chip is for people who like the taste of wasabi, but don't like the burning sensation in the mouth and the scratchy feeling in your nose that usually comes from eating wasabi. These are very easy-to-eat with no strong aftertaste. With the spring season coming soon, these would be a perfect snack for enjoying at a BBQ with your friends, even your friends who don't usually like wasabi will probably like these chips.