Photo by grape Japan

Stay back! I’ve just eaten the most intense garlic chips in Japan!

I'll make no secret about it. I love garlic.

Whether it's mixed into pasta, blended into salad dressing, rubbed on toast, or stuffed in meats, I can't get enough of it. And don't get me started on oven-roasted garlic and black garlic.

Forunately for garlic-lovers such as myself who call Japan their home, this country also has its fair share of garlic lovers. For example, as anyone who's visited a few ramen shops can tell you, you'll often see a jar of grated garlic and sometimes even fresh garlic for you to grate on the spot among the available condiments.

Sometimes when I want my garlic fix, I'll just head to my local convenience store and look for a garlicky potato chip. The relatively recent trend in strong, pungent flavors has encouraged the emergence of very garlic-centric varieties. For example, a few years ago, we introduced MiniStop's "Garlic Punch" chips which, as the name implies, packed quite a garlicky punch.

However, those chips pale in comparison to the latest garlic heavy-hitter I discovered when I stepped into Lawson's convenience store the other day. Made by Calbee, these chips are boldly called 強烈にんにくダイナマイトポテトチップス which means "Extreme Garlic Dynamite Potato Chips" and feature a manga-style face of a man in a cold sweat yelling: "Stay back!" There's also a version with a woman saying: "You stink garlic!"

In my arrogance, I thought it was all bravado on Calbee's part. After all, I had seen words like "strong" or even "strongest" on garlic chips before, and I was never overwhelmed with the experience, so I bought a bag and decided to give it a try.

Photo by grape Japan

On closer inspection, I noticed a warning message at the bottom. Although I had seen similar warnings for spicy chips and snacks, this was admittedly the first time I had seen one for garlic. It said: "This product is characterized by an extremely strong garlic flavor and it has a strong smell, so please be considerate towards people around you." Duly noted. That's why I had waited until the beginning of the Golden Week holiday when I knew I was in no danger of inflicting bad breath on my coworkers.

So, let's open this bad boy.

As soon as I did, an intense odor of garlic rose up from the bag. It was the kind of fragrance that fills your nostrils when you're grating garlic cloves in the kitchen. They weren't kidding about the smell. This was VERY strong.

Pouring the chips out into a bowl reduced the odor somewhat.

Photo by grape Japan

Let's take a closer look...

Photo by grape Japan

Just based on their appearance, you wouldn't be able to tell that these chips were loaded with garlic flavor.

Of course, that all changes when you actually try one. I thought the odor was intense but the taste was literally the most intense burst of garlic in a snack I've ever experienced! So that's what they mean by Extreme Garlic Dyanmite.

This chip really focuses on garlic and nothing else, so there's not much else to talk about in terms of taste. It's adequately salty and crispy the way you would expect a good chip to be.

But if you're a real garlic lover and don't mind having a mouth full of intense garlic flavor, these chips definitely deliver.

After eating the whole bag, it felt like I had eaten an entire clove of garlic and I really didn't want anyone near me.

Stay back! I've eaten Extreme Garlic Dynamite potato chips! Photo by grape Japan

So, if you're going to try Calbee's Extreme Garlic Dynamite Potato Chips (173 JPY plus tax), you'll either want to be sure you're alone or enjoy them together with friends so you can all have garlic breath together!

One last thing. Be sure to have a big glass of water, beer, or another beverage of choice while you're eating them or you might feel a bit overwhelmed!

By - Ben K.