One of the fun things to do in Japan is to try the trendy snacks. You can find them just about anywhere such as in convenience stores, 100yen shops, vending machines, and shopping malls. Have you ever seen Calbee+ (or Calbee Plus カルビープラス) in Odaiba or Harajuku? It’s part souvenir shop and part café serving up fresh made potato chips. If you thought Calbee snacks were great right out of the bag, eating them while they're hot is just another dimension of tasty goodness!
As a foreigner, it can be difficult to decide what to buy since the names and descriptions of snacks are printed in kanji. However, most of the time flavors can easily be determined simply by the design or the section the item is grouped in. Calbee is a recognizable brand you can always find on the shelves of any retailer. They're famous for potato chips, shrimp crackers, & vegetable snacks and their flavors can be easily be identified just by examining its package.
In 1964, Calbee introduced an innovative snack called Kappa Ebisen, a chip with raw shrimp kneaded into the flour dough. It proved a big success around the country and in the United States. In 1995, they introduced Jagarico Salad, the crunchy potato sticks made with carrot and parsley bits cleverly packaged in a green cup, similar to that of instant ramen. Today, it’s their number one seller and is available freshly made at Calbee+! The fried steamed potatoes have a crispy texture and pronounced potato flavor. Easy to hold and fingers won't get dirty or sticky. Doesn’t it sound so appetizing?
This particular Calbee+ shop is located at Diver City shopping center in Odaiba. There’s usually a 10-15 minute wait time for the food menu, but that’s okay. You’ll not only need time to figure out what you want to order, but your curiosity will keep you watching the workers cut, fry, and package the lip-smacking goodies right before your eyes. Did you know that soft-serve ice cream is also available? Try fresh Hokkaido ice cream with a side of wavy potato chips drizzled with chocolate in a bowl.
Seating capacity is about 30 persons; feel free to grab a table to enjoy your midday snack. While seated, you can view an informative video on how Calbee takes pride in their potato selection and how the potato chips are processed. Just for fun, kids can hug the large pillow potato mascot, a cute photo opportunity. On your way out, pick up some pre-packaged goodies to share with your friends and family back home!
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Originally from San Diego, California, I lived in Japan for 4-1/2 years and now I am currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. In December 2010, I arrived in Yokosuka with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also ended up going back to California for one month, raised a small monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured a few phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the United States could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. After all, I wanted them to know that all of the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as JapanTravel.com to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here on JapanTravel. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶