Calbee spoils us with new Italian and Japanese Jagarico flavors.

With Calbee, there's always something new to look out for. Usually, when it comes to their Jagarico potato sticks, it's a limited edition Japanese flavor. But this time Calbee's gone Italian too. Say ciao to the newest Calbee Jagarico lineup: Caesar Salad, Mozzarella Cheese & Tomato and a wafu classic, Mentaiko Cheese Monjyayaki!

Jagarico sticks differ from original Calbee sticks in that they are not as potato-y and have a lighter crispy texture. Each stick is thinner (about the same as Pocky). But it is precisely the light and delicate consistency of the stick that makes the play with different flavors possible. I decide to sample the flavors as I would with an actual meal: first the salad, then an appetizer, and finally the main dish.


Caesar Salad

Peppered with orange and green seasoning flakes, these caesar salad Jagarico sticks certainly resemble a packaged salad. And they definitely taste like one too. The distinctive taste of lettuce with a signature caesar dressing flavor make it feel as though I'm forking my way through a fresh salad. Perhaps a better description would be munching on crotons, which is the best part of salad anyways! Well now there's no need for actual salad, just get a cup of Caesar Salad Jagarico for instead crunch gratification.

Moving on to the appetizers: Mozzarella Cheese & Tomatoes.

Generally, anything with cheese on it can hardly go wrong, especially when it comes to munchies. A cheesy, crispy snack is a fail-safe guarantee for deliciousness. But it's a savory tomato stew aroma that wafts out of the cup after breaking the seal open. Taking a nibble, these orange-tinted Jagarico sticks are a pleasant surprise. Rather than the familiar taste of cheese, it's tomatoes that tingle my taste buds. The strong, flavorful taste of ripe tomatoes is almost overpowering, but right at the end, the cheese sets in as an aftertaste. It's like a grand finale, the icing on the cake. Except that in this case it's cheese on tomato. Perfetto.

And finally, it's time for the main course: Mentaiko Cheese Monjyayaki!

Most of us are familiar with okonomiyaki, savory Japanese pancakes from Osaka stuffed full of shredded cabbage and meaty bits. Monjyayaki is very similar, but hails from Tokyo. Instead of a well-grilled pancake consistency, monjyayaki is runny and wet. It's a shame Jagarico sticks can't replicate monjyayaki's runny texture. Nevertheless, the sticks do a good job of drawing out various layers of taste, first with a salty monjya sauce, and then a spicy mentaiko tang. Mentaiko Cheese Monjyayaki Jagarico has the strongest taste of them all, so it's good idea I saved it for last.

This season's limited edition Jagarico lineup certainly live up to the expectations. Surprised and delighted, they're certainly a must-try before they run out of stock.