Potato snacks hardly go wrong. Be it french fries with fish & chips, potato chips or crisps, potato snacks are always delicious, especially when deep-fried. The love for potato extends to Japan as well, and evidence of Japan’s success in making delicious potato snacks can be seen from how well Calbee does locally and internationally. As a major Japanese snack maker, Calbee Inc. has operations all over the world, but nothing gives it more attention than its stores in Japan.
Calbee Plus is a series of Calbee stores in Tokyo selling freshly made potato snacks as well as varieties of its regional potato snacks. Two of its prominent stores are in Tokyo Station and Harajuku respectively.
Located in Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori, the Calbee Plus store in Harajuku is impossible to miss. While you might be distracted by the striking sights going down Harajuku’s famous street, the Harajuku Calbee Plus store grabs your attention as you walk pass it. With a rainbow-colored signboard and adorable potato figurines plastering the interior of the shop, the store draws you in with its bright colours. Besides, on a weekend, there is almost always a queue snaking outside the store, showing the immense popularity of Calbee’s snacks.
Unlike the pre-packaged potato snacks that you can get from convenience stores, at Calbee Plus, potato chips and potato sticks are freshly fried on the spot and served with a topping of your choice. One of its hit items is Poterico, potato sticks that come in a cup, and offered in flavours such as cheese and salad. Apart from the bright and cute visual of the potato cup, the Poterico itself was delicious. Eating freshly fried potato snacks that came out of the fryer made all the difference. I chose the cheese-flavoured Poterico sticks. The combination of the light, crunchy, not overly greasy Poterico sticks with the fragrant salty cheese was perfect.
Another delicious item on the menu was the freshly fried Potato Chips. Offered in two cuts – thin or thick cut chips – the thick cut ones were my personal favourite. Flavours include salt & butter, cheese, Royce chocolate, and Royce chocolate & soft serve. Figuring out that there could be no better combination of hot and cold, sweet and salty, I went for the thick-cut potato chips with Royce chocolate & soft serve. Indeed, it did not disappoint, and was absolutely delectable down to the very last bite. The chips were hot and went well with the melted chocolate, and eating it with ice cream ensured it did not get too salty. The portion was generous, and good for two.
Other items on the menu include potato churros, Hokkaido soft serves and also seasonal toppings to go with the potato chips.
Also available at the Calbee Plus stores were the regional Jagarico potato stick flavours dispersed throughout Japan. These included flavours such as sweet corn limited to Hokkaido, takoyaki limited to the Kansai region, scallop shoyu butter limited to the Tohoku region. All thanks to the Calbee Plus stores, you can now sample each of these exciting flavours in a thoughtfully packaged 8-pack set.
Calbee Plus stores can be found at several locations in Tokyo - Tokyo Station Calbee Plus store (9-1 Marunouchi 1 Chome Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Tokyo Okashi Land B1) which opens from 09:00 – 21:00, Harajuku Calbee Plus store (16-8 Jingu-Mae 1 Chome Shibuya-ku Tokyo) which opens from 09:30 – 20:30, Tokyo Sky Tree Solamachi Calbee Plus store (1-2 Oshiage 1 Chome Sumida-ku Tokyo, Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi 4F) which opens from 10:00 – 21:00.