Jun 18, 2018

Nagoya Chip Star Omiyage

One of my favorite aspects of Japanese culture is omiyage. It always warms my heart to know that I'm on someone's mind when they're traveling. Getting and giving a souvenir is a way to strengthen relationships as well as introduce a new part of Japan to otherwise unknowing individuals.

My friend visited Nagoya recently. I had been once before (years ago) on a day trip, but I only went to visit Nagoya Castle. I didn't know anything about the city, despite visiting once before. So, I was excited to see which souvenir my friend picked out.

Chip Star is a popular brand of potato crisps. They're Japan's answer to Pringles, I suppose. They're housed in a fully paper tube, and in a plastic wrapping inside of that tube to keep the chips fresh. I had tried them a few times before but was never wowed.

Nagoya Chip Star Omiyage photo

The Nagoya-specific Chip Star were impressive to look at. The sleek black packaging made them look expensive. And they had Nagoya's famous golden shachihoko on the packaging too. Gold and black is a winning combination.

The flavor is a spicy-sweet chicken wing. I wasn't aware, until recently, that Nagoya was famous for wings. While I've never had the famous Nagoya wings before, I was familiar with Japanese-style chicken wings and had eaten them often.

Nagoya Chip Star Omiyage photo

My favorite part about Chip Star is how generous they are with the flavor coating. Whereas Pringles usually only have one side (sparsely) coated, Chip Star blasts them with flavor. So, it was easy to taste the flavor they were advertising.

The flavor was really good. I'd like to start off by saying that. However, it definitely was not a spicy-sweet chicken wing flavor. It wasn't spicy; it wasn't sweet. It was vaguely chicken flavored, though... Like a bouillon cube was a big ingredient in the powdered flavoring. To me, it tasted like a salty, peppery chicken consome. It was good, but I'm not sure how accurate any Nagoya expats would think it is.

What are your opinions on omiyage from other cities in Japan? Do they ever capture the essence of where your going? Or are they just a shadow of the city, like these Chip Stars were?



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