Cost: 378 yen
Found At: 7-11
In my defense, the font was unclear, and I was under the impression that I was, in fact, buying beet chips. They struck me as a little expensive, but beets are not common in Japan, so I didn’t think too much about it. But instead of getting one type of yuppie snack, it seems I got another. Imagine a hybrid between beef jerky and prosciutto and chips and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I ended up with. They are little, red discs of thinly sliced, dried beef – mostly muscle, but also marbled here and there with glossy veins of beef fat. These are then packaged in two small bags, delineating serving size, that are marked with the heading – in a beautiful scripted font – “The Excellent.”
But, as far as my untrained palate can tell, this is just well-marketed beef jerky. There’s lots of florid language on the gold packaging talking about “the essence of beef, dried slowly over a long time at low temperatures” and the “moist texture” and the “beef leg meat from Oceania,” but it tastes more or less the same as what I would pick up at a gas station back home. It’s very chewy and typically beefy but there’s really not much beef to be had in the tiny, single-serving packages. It’s nice to know that I do not have expensive tastes. Now if only I could find beet chips.