The latest offering from Japanese snack manufacturer Calbee has got some people eagerly awaiting its release and others scratching their heads in puzzlement. 

Forget the fact that it’s smelly, slimy, and more than one-third of my former Japanese students couldn’t even stomach the stuff–natto, those infamous, foreigner-repelling fermented soybeans, is like ambrosia to me. I genuinely enjoy the taste, too (not just because it’s healthy). In fact, the only thing holding me back from eating it on a daily basis is that it’s not as readily available and is about three times its regular cost where I live in the States.

▼ Natto tends to bring out polarizing reactions in people. Check out these first-time tasters from around the world!

The dish is often eaten as a breakfast food in Japan, where is it mixed with small amounts of soy sauce, mustard, and/or spring onions before spreading the contents over a bowl of rice. If you happen to be part of the natto-lovers camp and would love to smear it over more than just your rice, then life is about to get a little more exciting with the introduction of Calbee’s “natto-flavor for natto lovers” potato chips. 

Check out the new product’s packaging in all of its fermented soybean glory:

▼ The bag even pays homage to a traditional way of storing natto within wara rice straw.

Potential buyers should note that the chips (sadly) don’t actually contain fresh natto, but rather flavored flakes that replicate not just the flavor of it but also its trademark sticky texture. I suppose that makes a lot more sense than what I originally imagined, but it’s still a bit disappointing all the same…

If you happen to grab a bag on your next konbini run, note Calbee’s recommended way of eating the snack:

  1. Open the bag and taste one chip the way it is.
  2. Sprinkle the side bag of natto flakes over the rest.
  3. Shake the bag to diffuse the flakes throughout the bag.
  4. Enjoy the difference in the flavor and texture.

A limited quantity of these chips will go on sale at Lawson convenience stores on June 25. Don’t let the thought of natto scare you away from at least sampling them!

Source: Calbee
Featured image: Calbee (edited by SoraNews24)
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