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Japanese snack maker unveils Niigata-themed 'bamboo grass dumpling' chips

This image provided by Calbee Inc. shows its "bamboo grass dumpling" flavored chips. A limited quantity of the chips will be sold for a limited time from Feb. 17.s

NIIGATA -- Fancy a bag of potato chips with your green tea? Such a combination might sound far-fetched, but a representative at Japanese snack food manufacturer Calbee Inc. says its new "bamboo grass dumpling" flavored chips go well with the drink.

Calbee will begin limited sales of the unusually flavored product on Feb. 17 in six prefectures in northeast Japan as well as in the central Japan prefectures of Niigata and Nagano.

In 2017, the snack company began producing different flavors representative of Japan's 47 prefectures. Its "sasa dango" (bamboo grass dumpling) flavored chips are the third Niigata Prefecture flavor after its "kanzuri" pepper paste flavor and "tarekatsu" flavor similar to pork cutlets with sauce. The latest product, which has a sweet red bean paste flavor and a fragrance of Japanese mugwort, goes well with green tea, a company representative says.

The company had solicited ideas for new flavors online, and held a tasting at the Niigata Prefectural Government headquarters. Other ideas included "wappa-ni" flavor, based on a soup from the prefecture consisting of seafood and miso, but the sasa dango flavor apparently won over the crisp connoisseurs.

Sales of 55-grams bags of the new chips, which will be priced at about 130 yen each, are expected to run until the end of March. They will also be made available at Calbee's "antenna shops" across the country as needed.

(Japanese original by Hiroki Masuda, Niigata Bureau)

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