Or, if you’re in the mood for something less crunchy, there’s the option of tempura soba-flavor popcorn.

It’s a golden age for potato chips in Japan right now, with new, mouthwatering flavors of deep-fried spud slivers lining the shelves of any given store. Many of these come courtesy of the Japanese arm of Pringles, but other companies have also been pushing the potato envelope, like Calbee with their sushi-flavored and green tea chocolate chips.

But something you don’t see very often is Japanese snack food companies experimenting with tortilla chips. There’s an exception this month, though, thanks to a team-up between Frito-Lay (or Doritos fame) and instant noodle maker Maru-chan.

Maru-chan makes the Akai Kitsune brand of instant udon noodles, which have been loved by busy and/or lazy noodle fans in Japan for 40 years. “Kitsune” is the Japanese word for “fox,” and the noodles’ name is a nod to folklore that holds that aburaage, the fried tofu that tops a bowl of kitsune udon, is the favorite food of foxes and fox spirits.

▼ “Akai” meanwhile is just the Japanese word for “red.”

The kitsune udon-flavored tortilla chips went on sale in convenience stores November 19, ahead of a nationwide roll-out in supermarkets and other retailers on November 26. The square chips really do look like little blocks of aburaage, and their flavor mimics the mixture of salty and sweet notes found in udon broth, specifically the more flavorful version popular in Tokyo and east Japan.

But Akai Kitsune isn’t Maru-chan’s only popular instant noodle. The udon’s companion product is the Midori no Tanuki (“Green Tanuki”) instant soba, which is topped with tempura flakes. Instead of making two types of tortilla chips, though, Maru-chan has opted to turn Midori no Tanuki into a special flavor of popcorn with the taste of tempura shrimp.

The on-sale dates for the soba-flavored popcorn are the same as those for the udon tortilla chips, and they’re also identically priced at 125 yen (US$1.10). Track down a can of Pringles’ ramen-flavored chips and you’ll be able to enjoy all three of Japan’s favorite noodle types in finger-food snack form, or see if you can find a legacy bag of KFC potato chips to pair with Maru-chan’s offerings with if you feel like mixing Japan’s cultural traditions with Kentucky’s.

Source, images: PR Times
[ Read in Japanese ]