Taste all of Japan by tasting all of its potatoes.

Drinks like sake and wine are often appreciated for their regional characteristics that are deeply rooted in the environmental conditions within. It stands to reason as their flavor and textures are entirely dependent on the air, soil, and water from which they come. So, why not potato chips too?

Growing completely inside the earth of their home regions, potatoes are undoubtedly imbued with subtly distinct flavors and textures. This is something that potato chip producers in Japan know quite well, but maybe it’s time for potato chip fans to get in on the action too.

Leading this effort is Koikeya, a producer known for its often extravagant and sophisticated takes on potato chips, such as chips designed to pair with one specific brand of sake or consommé-flavored chips made with a soup of wagyu beef, lobster, and white wine, among other luxurious notes.

▼ But don’t go thinking they’re all stuck-up about potato chips. They sometimes let their hair down too, like with these Pikachu-flavored potato sticks.

Image: ©SoraNews24

But all the fancy dressings in the world don’t matter if the core potato can’t hold its own. That’s why Koike carefully selects the best match from various growers across Japan. And now we can too!

Koikeya is once again holding its annual Brand Potato Comparison line of chips starting 25 May. These snacks follow what Koikeya refers to as the “potato front” or seasonal warming that moves up from the southern prefectures to the northern reaches of Hokkaido, ushering in prime potato-plucking periods.

Image: PR Times

First up are chips made from the Nagasaki Kogane variety of potatoes, created through selective breeding of Hokkaido’s Inca no Mezame potatoes. It first hit the scene in 2017, making it a relatively young variety, but one that has really been shaking up the potato scene and putting Nagasaki on the potato map.

▼ See, it’s right there at the bottom of the potato map.

Image: PR Times

Its name “Kogane” translates to “gold” and indeed its flesh has a vibrant golden color that invites you to taste its sweet, umami-rich flavor. Brand Potato Comparison Nagasaki Kogane seeks to highlight this by making the chips extra-thick-cut and giving them only a modest seasoning of rock salt to really bring out the essence of the potato.

Those who tried them in Brand Potato Comparisons of years past raved about them, declaring that “potatoes aren’t just from Hokkaido anymore!” To find out how good they really are, you’ll have to order them direct from Koikeya online in boxes of six bags for 1,480 yen (US$11).

After that, Koikeya will follow the potato front until it hits the Kanto region in the middle of Japan this summer, when they will release an especially delectable variety grown in that region. Finally, they will hit the mecca of Japanese potatoes, Hokkaido, this autumn to round out another great year of chips.

Hopefully, this can expand to even more regions in the future too so that a real culture of potato connoisseurship can bloom in Japan on par with wine and sake. And I’m not just saying that because I want potato chip tastings to become a thing.

Source: Koikeya, PR Times
Top image: PR Times
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