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It’s Plum-Flavored Potato Chip Season!

Pickled plum flavored potato chips

If it’s February, it must be time for the shelves to be bursting with umeboshi-flavored goods, but think twice before you pop one in your mouth, expecting something sweet!

Umeboshi are not for the weak. The über-sour, extra-salty pickled plums star in children’s lunches early and often as the red circle in the middle of the white rice “Japanese flag,” so the taste becomes a nostalgic favorite. It’s such a beloved flavor here in Japan that when it’s time for the plum trees to bloom in February, all kinds of snacks get a dose of extra-sour, extra-salty to celebrate the season.

Plum-flavored potato sticks, a perennial fave
Suppaiman to the snacker’s rescue! “Suppai” means “sour” and these dried plum pickles deliver, bigtime.
An actual pickled plum. It doesn’t pay to chomp into these too enthusiastically – there’s a huge pit lurking in the middle.

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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