The only place in Japan where you can enjoy this super huge snack.

Part of the fun of travelling to Japan is the chance to try unusual snacks you can’t get back home. One snack that’s recently come to the attention of overseas visitors is even surprising locals like our reporter Seiji Nakazawa, because although it’s based on a well-known type of potato chip, it’s waaay bigger than usual, and only available at one location in Japan.

Seiji recently learned of its existence after watching a video entitled 5 Crazy Big Street Food in Japan by DancingBacons, a YouTube channel that provides gourmet information to English-speaking viewers. Given our love for crazy big crazy foods, having previously tried some of them like Nakano’s super-tall, multi-layered ice cream (pictured below), Seiji knew he had to go out and try the giant potato chip for himself.

The big chip is being sold inside Tokyo Station, which is a confusing labyrinth of ticket gates and stores, so Seiji took us through his route to make things easier for anyone wanting to get there. The store he was headed for was called Calbee+ (read as “Calbee Plus”), located on the first basement floor of Ichibangai, right outside Tokyo Okashi Land, and to get there you should first head to the underground just outside the Yaesu Central Exit ticket gate.

When you exit the ticket gate, go straight along the passageway to the right. You’ll soon come to a set of stairs, and when you go down the stairs on the left, you’ll arrive at Tokyo Okashi Land (“東京おかしランド”), beyond which you’ll be able to see the colourful Calbee+ sign.

Calbee is a Japanese snack maker that makes the country’s best-selling potato chips, and one of its top sellers is Jagarico, which are fried potato sticks sold in cups. Usually, the sticks are just a little longer and thinner than a human finger, but at Calbee+ you can get a version that’s so big you need several fingers just to hold it.

▼ The promo poster outside the store shows the difference in size between the BIG and regular versions on the bottom left.

The extra-large version sold here is known as “BIG Poteriko“, with “Poteriko” being an amalgamation of “Jagarico” and “potato“. Unlike regular Jagarico, which are sold on store shelves, this special variety has to be ordered in-store, so Seiji lined up to place his order via the touch-screen terminal.

Although it was midday on a weekday, the store was very busy, with most people buying the BIG Poteriko. Despite the lineup of customers, the ordering system is quick and easy, with several language options on the display, and the BIG Poteriko standing out at the bottom left, priced at 430 yen (US$2.88)

The menu items on the left of the screen above are all made to order, and you can watch them being made in the kitchen while you wait.

You’ll want to keep an eye on the screen here as well, as that’s were your ticket number will pop up when your order is ready to be picked up from the counter.

Seiji felt like an excited school-kid on a school excursion to Tokyo when he picked up his order. Not only were the oversized visuals great — the freshly fried potatoes had a wonderful aroma as well.

The fried potato sticks protruded from the cup, and when he pulled one out, it was even bigger than expected.

This was definitely a big eat that deserves all the attention it’s been getting, and when Seiji bit into it, he was happy to find it had the same crunchy texture as a regular Jagarico.

However, because of its increased size and freshly fried preparation method, the inside was soft and fluffy! This created a tantalising contrast between airy and crunchy textures, increasing the focus on potato as a central ingredient.

The BIG sticks have a much richer potato flavour than regular Jagarico, so it’s not just the look but the taste that’ll leave you with a memorable impression. Seiji thought it was a fantastic treat, and definitely one to keep an eye out for next time you’re travelling through Tokyo Station, where you can also find a fossil of an extinct crab in its walls.

Store information
Calbee Plus Tokyo Station Store / カルビープラス東京駅店
Address: Immediately outside the JR Tokyo Station Yaesu Underground Central Exit ticket gates (Tokyo Station Ichibangai, B1F, Tokyo Okashi Land)
JR東京駅八重洲地下中央口改札を出てすぐ(東京駅一番街 地下1階 東京おかしランド)
Open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (business hours and holidays correspond with those of Tokyo Okashi Land)

Related: YouTube/DancingBacons
Photos © SoraNews24

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