KO Punch Garlic Chips

Brand: Yamayoshi

Cost: Emil forgot (130-140 yen)

Found At: Family Mart

Emil always manages to find the best potato chips. I never see him do it, either. I will go to the bathroom or get in the shower, and when I come back, it is as if a bag has miraculously appeared in his hand. My only proof that it was not some immaculate chip conception is the guilty look he gives me when I return – like a basset that has just hidden a sandwich in the couch.

This bag was a particularly fine example of Emil’s chip-finding magic. The yellow bag features cartoon garlic heads in boxing gloves and cartoon panels celebrating the powerful garlic breath these chips will cause. In bold red letters, it brags about the power of the flavor – no less than “the strongest class of garlic taste.”

And from the moment Emil opened the bag, it was clear that these chips aimed to keep their hyperbolic promises. The apartment instantly smelled like the kitchen of an overzealous Italian grandmother. Had he still been down at the convenience store, I would have been able to smell him open the bag. At that point, I was expecting the chips to taste like a raw head of garlic – an experience I once accidentally had while distractedly snacking in the middle of a pesto. Sure enough, the chips were sweet and strong and pungent, but unlike real garlic, they lacked the “bite” that usually comes along with eating raw garlic toes. Instead, they had all of the kick of garlic while somehow eliminating sharpness and were the perfect pairing to a sweet drink or a cold beer.

Though oddly enough, I did not get the garlic breath I was promised.

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