Are these chips enough to satisfy a true natto fan?

Natto, or fermented soybeans, is just one of those foods that you either love or you hate. With an odor that feels like it’ll linger in your nostrils for days, a sticky, mucous-like coating, and a flavor that some might describe as rotten feet, it is something most many tourists don’t enjoy–but many more Japanese love.

In fact, our Japanese-language reporter Kouhey is not just someone who likes natto…he’s what we call a “natto maniac”. He loves natto so much that when a good opportunity for a natto taste-testing comes up–like Japan’s most expensive natto or natto-infused ramen–he’s the first one to volunteer to try it. So when he saw this bag of natto-flavored potato chips at the supermarket, he, of course, had to buy them.

They’re called “Natto-zuki ni wa tamaranai! Kakete taberu potato chips”, which closely translates as: “Potato chips with a sprinkle-on flavoring that natto lovers can’t get enough of!” Yes, it’s a mouthful in both English and Japanese, but more importantly, for Kouhey, it was a direct challenge to his natto-loving soul.

Much like Calbee’s natto-flavored potato chips, these come with a packet of natto flakes to sprinkle on before eating, and the instructions for preparation are the same: take off the seasoning packet stuck to the front, pour all of the seasonings over the potato chips, close the bag and shake thoroughly, then eat.

In keeping with natto’s healthy image, these chips are also somewhat low-calorie (at least in comparison to other potato chips). The bag comes in at 280 calories when other chips typically have more than 300 per bag.

But that’s enough data gathering. How do they taste? Kouhey first opened up the bag of chips and gave it a good sniff. They had a slightly mustard-like scent to them, which was appropriate, since natto is often topped with mustard.

Before adding the spices, Kouhey took one out to try. It did taste faintly of mustard.

But of course, the purpose was for it to taste like natto, so he sprinkled in the natto flavoring

And gave the bag a good, thorough shake.


Without any delay, Kouhey picked up a chip and began to snack.

They tasted exactly as Kouhey would have expected: like natto-flavored potato chips. They had the right flavor, and the seasoning mix also had properties to give the chips a slight stickiness, so it received passing marks from our natto maniac.

But at the same time, Kouhey couldn’t help but think something was missing, and after pondering this issue for a bit, he realized that the problem was the texture.

Natto is, of course, a soft food, but it’s also sticky, which the powder tries to replicate but understandably can’t quite accomplish like the real thing. Natto is also often eaten cold, straight out of the fridge. So while these chips are great if you specifically want potato chips that taste like natto, their lack of all these qualities wasn’t enough to satisfy our natto maniac.

So Kouhey began to wrack his natto-obsessed brain for a suitable way to make these chips satisfy the superfan in him, and after some serious contemplation, he came up with a genius idea: dipping the chips in natto.

The recipe is simple. All you need is a standard box of Hikiwari Natto, which you should be able to find in any supermarket. As is necessary for bringing out the best flavor of natto, Kouhey made sure to stir his natto 50 times before adding the included sauce, and then stirred it another 50 times. Normally he would add the mustard as well, but since the chips already come with a mustard flavoring, he decided to omit it.

The result was extremely appetizing (for Kouhey).

Now to scoop up the Hikiwari natto with a faintly mustard-flavored potato chip and give it a taste!

“Holy cow…it’s really good!”

Kouhey had not expected the soft texture of natto to pair so well with crunchy potato chips. It was such a delicious luxury snack that he probably could have eaten this combination all day every day.

▼ Balance is key, he says. Don’t overload your chip with natto. Only use enough to cover about one-fourth of the chip.

In conclusion, natto lovers can, in fact, get enough of the “Potato chips with a sprinkle-on flavoring that natto lovers can’t get enough of!” because on their own, they aren’t quite satisfying enough in texture. However, when paired with natto, these chips become good enough to receive the seal of approval even from the most die-hard fans of real natto!

They’re made by Yamayoshi Seika, the same company that makes the popular Wasabi Beef flavored potato chips, so you know you can’t lose by trying them, but if you see these chips in the supermarket, make sure to pick up a pack of Hikiwari Natto to go with them. According to Kouhey, the combination will blow you away!

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