Should you wait almost four decades for a frozen croquette?

35 years is a long time. A lot can happen in that time; just look at how much the world has changed since 1988. Japan alone looks completely different from three-and-a-half decades ago.

Now, imagine wanting to try a famous croquette–a deep-fried minced potato patty–and ordering it online, only to find out you’d have to wait 35 years for it to arrive. Can you even fathom receiving a package of croquettes from your past? Would you even still want them by then?

Well, such a croquette exists. It’s called the Kobe Beef Croquette Kiwami, and it’s made by Asahiya, a Kobe beef specialty shop based out of Takasago in Hyogo. It’s so popular that it now has a 35-year waitlist, which has made it a hot topic on Japanese social media where it’s been dubbed “The Phantom Croquette”.

The Kobe Beef Croquette Kiwami comes frozen in packs of five for 2,700 yen (US$18.90). It has steadily been building in popularity for years. In 2016, it had a wait time of 13-14 years, and in 2022 it was 30. This year it’s jumped to 35 years. That ridiculous popularity is likely owing to the fact that it’s packed with Kobe Beef.

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun had of course heard about the Phantom Croquette, and, being a foodie, had been interested in trying it. But with a wait time of 35 years, he believed it wasn’t in the cards for him. Lucky for him, he works for SoraNews24 and is therefore a member of the press, which means when someone decided to host a tasting event, P.K. received an invitation.

He finally got to try the elusive Kobe Beef Croquette Kiwami. Is it worth the hype? Let’s find out.

The “35-year Wait Croquette Tasting Party” was actually held by the president of a Tokyo-based IT company, who ordered 50 about ten years ago. He’d essentially forgotten about it until he received notice that they’d be shipping soon, and thought, “Why not share these since they’re such a hot topic?”

The party was held at Kakunoshin, a restaurant in the Tokyo neighborhood of Roppongi run by a prestigious butcher, where a pro chef would fry up the croquettes for the guests. 40 people in total were in attendance.

After some speeches, the Phantom Croquettes finally appeared. So, ladies and gentlemen, here are the Kobe Beef Croquettes Kiwami, which currently have a 35-year wait time:

▼ What do you think?!

It didn’t really have anything to distinguish it from any other croquette, but P.K. still thought that it had some kind of solemn aura. I mean, when you think about how, even if you ordered right now, you would still have to wait until 2058 to try another one of these…you can’t help but feel like this is an important moment. P.K. found himself a little bit nervous.

Before he got into the actual taste test, he decided to analyze its appearance first. The battering on the outside appeared to be made of ordinary panko bread crumbs, as it was not particularly fine or coarse. Naturally, since it was fried by a pro, it was perfectly crispy-looking.

The potato inside appeared to be extremely smooth. According to the pro chef, it’s difficult for a machine to form patties out of such smoothly mashed potatoes, so P.K. wondered if they all had to be hand-moulded, and that’s why the wait list was so long.

Mixed into the potatoes were about three chunks of Kobe beef. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but according to the pro, “Every 110 grams (3.9 ounces) of croquette contains about 40 grams of Kobe Beef, although the standard proportion is only about 10 to 1.” That means this croquette is fairly stuffed with meat, compared to other croquettes.

And now, the most important assessment: the flavor!

Naturally, it was delicious. The addition of onions and Kobe Beef to the silky smooth potatoes made it a top-tier croquette. You could really taste that “35-year wait” spice.

However, to be perfectly honest…in P.K.’s opinion, croquettes, in general, earn a rating of about 7/10, so he had to admit that it wasn’t anything overly special, as far as food goes. While it was certainly one of the most delicious croquettes he’d ever eaten, it was still just a croquette. He wouldn’t say it changed his life or anything.

On the flip side, the cost of each croquette at the time they were purchased was just 278 yen (currently US$1.95), and the current price is 540 yen. Considering that in today’s market, any old croquette you can buy from a street stall costs about 500 yen, the 540 yen price tag is actually not bad at all, especially since it’s such a high-quality product. By the time you actually receive them in 2058, they’ll be a downright bargain, probably.

Well, whether it’s worth a 35-year wait is up to you to decide. Without a doubt it’s a supremely delicious croquette–even this netizen thought so–so if you like croquettes, and you see yourself still liking them in 2058, then why not order some? Maybe future you will thank you!

Related: Asahiya’s “Kobe Beef Croquette Kiwami”
Images © SoraNews24

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