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The easiest way to breathe new life into a snack food is to combine a famous regional ingredient with a familiar flavor. Two recent convenience store arrivals highlight this strategy well.

Calbee’s long-running Shiawase Rich Butter potato chip series has long been a winner for those seeking something sweeter in their potato snack. It’s gone and upped the stakes by updating the flavor with real Hokkaido butter. The honey flavor in these chips (¥214 after tax) really ups the ante on the sweetness, making for a richer flavor experience overall.

Yamayoshi’s current limited-edition creation, meanwhile, tries something new with seafood-flavored potato chips. Usually, when a snack trumpets a lobster taste, the end result is something closer to mediocre crab. Yet its new Spiny Lobster Grilled Mayonnaise chip (¥152 after tax) manages something rare: nailing the lobster flavor — kind of. It’s impressive all the same.

I guess giving a nod to a place famous for said crustacean demands a certain quality.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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