Between the global pandemic and record-high temperatures, it’s totally understandable (if not encouraged) if you just stay home this August. One downside — you can’t go out to restaurants or izakaya pubs. Fortunately, several snack makers have come through with new flavors inspired by dishes you can order during a night on the town.

Well-regarded ramen restaurant Bankara has teamed up with snack producer Yamayoshi to create a potato chip, bringing the flavor of its pork bone broth to bite-size form (¥150 after tax). It’s an intriguing idea, but the flavor is too subtle to leave much of an impression. There is a hint of ramen richness, but it ultimately just tastes like garlic.

Far better is Koikeya’s rich black pepper tatsuta-age fried chicken version of its Scone corn snack. This creation (¥132 after tax) ticks the boxes of every advertised flavor — the pepper comes through clearly, there’s a nice, but not overpowering, chicken taste and it’s really spicy. Call it an izakaya-worthy flavor you can get much closer to home.

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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