Sunday 6 October 2013

Calbee Pizza Chips

So the Ski Instructor very kindly agreed to bring me home a packet of crisps from Canada. Which he left on the kitchen table so bought two new packets on his way home. The first I've opened is this offering from Calbee who seem to be a Japanese company but mysteriously manufacture their crisps in Hong Kong. And sell them at Vancouver airport.

You can see from the packet that these are pizza flavour. Or meant to be. Quite apart from the big white word "Pizza", there's a photograph of a slice of pizza. Pretty horrid looking pizza absolutely smothered in melted cheese with an odd selection of mushrooms, ham, beef (maybe?), mince (again, maybe?) and green things. Not a pizza I would order myself.

There are great big closeups of crinkle crisps, quite fine crinkles like the Simba crisps from South Africa rather than European wide crinkles. And another crisp in a red oval showing the crinkliness; "v chips" it says with an arrow, and another arrow showing how each crisp has little bits of cheese on it. Really? I can see a few bits of herb but am not convinced by the bits of cheese. I have found two reviews online which praise the cheesey bits but honestly I can't find any evidence. I even held them up to the light to try and spot the cheese.

I'm not sure exactly what the Japanese writing (I think it's Kanji) above the red oval means but I'm pretty certain that part of it says cheese chips. Well done Google translate! The more complicated writing by the word "pizza" I have no idea about, but I expect the red writing in the white oval probably says Calbee.

Oh yes. And check out the crazy use of the Italian flag here to emphasise how genuine the pizza flavour must be. Not to mention the crazy use of a cartoon potato wearing a hat and gloves and, wow!, a sash saying potato.

I never tried a Japanese crisp before but I have flown Japanese airlines, and stayed the night in a hotel at Narita airport. Which was interesting. Tinned spaghetti bolognaise and chips for breakfast? Why not. What about a handful of miniature fried fish or a bowl of stewed lotuses? Not for me thanks. I can't remember what I ate in the end but I'm not a fan of Japanese food. I won't eat fish and I hate the smell of rice cakes. Many of my friends seem to delight in Japanese food but when they describe what they've eaten it all sounds horrible to me. So I didn't really know what to expect.

And I wasn't expecting to find that when I opened the packet there was a strong smell of stables.

Stables? You know; with horses in. Or maybe lion cages. I don't know what to think. Have I got a really weird sense of smell do you suppose? It was a very big, very busy smell with too much going on.

However, the taste isn't all bad. Not at all pizza-y and still very busy but quite tasty in a sort of a way. And I suppose the plum powder in the ingredients lists contributes to the unusual sweetness. I was not aware that plum powder featured in pizza recipes.
It's quite an anxious looking potato isn't it?

The list of ingredients is very long. In fact, there are several lists. And a great big long list printed on a sticky label, possibly added for the Canadian market, which has a seemingly endless list of chemicals. And having read it you begin to wonder why anyone would want to eat any of this stuff. And if that were not enough there are even more E numbers than in the Simba crisps - but no label warning of possible health risks!

However, they are quite tasty and if there happened to be a bowl of them lying around I might find myself tucking in. Just not too many at a time.

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