Japan Snacks: Toppogi Chips!

Tteokbokki are cylindrical Korean rice cakes. In Japan, they’re usually called toppogi, and served simmered and then stir fried or added to hot pots or stews.

I love toppogi. I cook them at home, and order them as a main dish or a side just about every time I go to Korean restaurants. So when I saw these “spicy toppogi” chips in the market, it was a no-brainer to bring them home.

Spicy “Toppogi” chips

The bag made it look like these were probably extruded, fried rice chips, rather than “real” toppogi. Which actually was a point in their favor. Real toppogi are too dense and hard to eat in dried-out form.

The first view

When I opened the package, I smelled a sweet-spicy aroma reminiscent of the spicy sauce Korean restaurants in Tokyo often use to top toppogi. So far, so good.

The chips themselves were lightweight and very crispy, with a texture that, while not sticky at all, likely would have become sticky if I’d left them out for too long in a humid room.

That said, they didn’t last long enough for me to find out.

The flavor delivered on the sweet-spicy promise–in fact, they tasted exactly the way the scent suggested. It’s a lot like the hot-sweet sauce you find on Chinese chili-shrimp (but without any shrimp or seafood flavor to it), if you’re not familiar with toppogi sauce.

The heat isn’t too strong at first, but it does build up on you–so if you’re not one for spicy snacks, this might be a 3-5 chip experience for you.

The plate shown above is about 1/3 of the bag, and was plenty to satisfy my snack chip craving. I sealed the bag back up, and they stayed perfectly crispy for several days (without getting sticky at all, despite my earlier concern).

I really, really liked these a lot, and recommend them if you like spicy chips. They’re not purely hot, and the sweetness adds a nice counterbalance. They worked really well alongside a sandwich at lunchtime, too.

Spicy Korean toppogi chips: would you try them? Yes or no?