Snack food giant, Calbee, opened up their latest Calbee Plus store in Harajuku on 7 December, where you can buy their famous potato chips straight from the deep fryer. Calbee already has shops located in Kyoto and New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, but this newest store gives Tokyoites their first chance to enjoy piping hot potato chips.

I rushed out to get a first-tongue taste.

On the opening day, people lined up a half hour before the store opened at 9:30am. After the doors opened, the shop was quickly packed with people wanting to taste the freshest potato chips imaginable.

Calbee is really pulling out the stops to offer the finest variety of flavors. After seeing the menu, you may find yourself driven to order one of everything, but I urge you to resist and order just one at a time (I’ll explain why later).

First, let’s talk about the store itself.

At the entrance you can watch Calbee chefs craft their next order of chips from behind a window. Go in further and you are presented with an adorable menu presenting a list of mouth-watering flavors:

Calbee Plus Menu

■Potato Chips
・Salted Butter
・Sour Cream [coming soon]
・Royce’ Chocolate
・Maple Butter [coming soon]
・Thick Cut Salted with Soft-Serve Ice Cream
・Thick Cut Salted with Soft-Serve Ice Cream and Royce’ Chocolate

■Hot Snacks
・Poteriko (a deep-fried version of Calbee’s popular Jagariko potato stick snacks)
・Calbee Potato Croquette
・Crispy Vegetable Croquette
・Harajuku Sweet Potato and Mochi (with Soybean Flour)

■Ice Cream
・Hokkaido Soft-Serve Ice Cream (waffle cone or cup)
・Hokkaido Soft-Serve Ice Cream with Royce’ Chocolate
・Hokkaido Soft-Serve Ice Cream with Granola

On top of that, you can also choose between thin or thick cut chips.

When it came time to order, I was overcome with the desire to try everything on the menu and made the rookie mistake of ordering too much at once, and the steaming hot chips cooled before I had the chance to finish them—leaving me with just ‘chips.’

Consider the Poteriko. Eating Poteriko straight from the fryer is a thing of beauty, but the longer you let them cool down while eating something else, the more the taste quickly fades away. Wait too long and you’re stuck with plain old French fries. The phrase “Get’em while their hot” has never been so painfully true.

You can order food in medium (M) and large (L) sizes, but go with the medium. It’s pretty big and would hold over most peoples craving for snacks. However, if you want to fill up as much as possible, please, pace yourself. It isn’t a race, and the store isn’t going anywhere.

At least we doubt it is, considering how popular it is.

▼Store Information
Name: Calbee Plus Harajuku Takeshita Street Store
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku Jingumae 1-16-8 (Along Takeshita St.)
Store Hours: 9:30-20:30, 7 Days a week

▼The generously Salted Butter Thick Cut chip

▼Watching them fry up a new order of chips…

▼…and a batch of Poteriko

▼They have many items on display for customers like me who don’t know what to choose

▼Yes, it’s all right there—but remember: 1 at a time!

[ Read in Japanese ]