Everyone enjoys a good snack when they’re feeling empty, but there is definitely a difference between snacks in Japan and other Western countries. Sure, they share some common factors, like chips and candy, but in general, a snack at a convenience store in Japan would consist of either rice balls or Japanese bread. There is so much variety that you don’t even know where to start looking. But have you ever ventured over to the frozen food section looking for a snack? We don’t mean the freezer where all the ice cream is, but actually the frozen meals section. Hiding in there is a pretty fantastic snack that is hopefully in your local 7-eleven right now!
The Japanese convenience store has been making good on their name, “convenience”, for years now. Everyone who has ever been in Japan knows that if you need a little pick me up or a full-blown meal, all you need to do is hop over to your local “combini”.
Right now at 7-eleven, a limited time snack is resting in the frozen food section. Called “Stick Potato College Potato” (スティックポテト 大学いも – it sounds only marginally less ridiculous in Japanese), it’s simply fried sweet potato dipped in a delicious sugary coating.
Just to clarify, the name “college potato” doesn’t refer to this specific snack. It’s actually the colloquial name for candied sweet potato. It got this nickname since it is a popular snack for college students in Japan dating back to the 1900s. That’s a storied history we can get behind!
Even though this snack is coated in sugar, it’s the natural sugars in the sweet potato that really give it that extra flavor. It might not be as healthy as munching on some baby carrots, but it’s certainly healthier than the staple snack of American college students, Top Ramen.
The way to eat this tasty treat is by following this one, very important rule: leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes before eating. For those thinking that letting the snack thaw out would turn the treat soggy, that isn’t the case at all! Instead, the crunchy sugar coating goes perfectly with the cool innards, which has an almost gelato-like consistency.
▼Store at room temperature for 30 min. No mistakes…eat like champions!
As of right now, this treat isn’t available at all combinis, but at some 7-elevens and supermarkets around the country for 150 yen (US $1.38). The size of the packaging is also perfect because any more and we would be prone to overeating!
Like so many things in Japan, these college potatoes might be available for a limited-time only. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find these little guys in your local 7-eleven, it might take a bit of searching to find them. But if you are a fan of crunchy sweet things, you definitely won’t be disappointed! Of course, if you are skilled in the kitchen, you can attempt to make this tasty snack right in your own home .
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[ Read in Japanese ]