Calpas: Japanese Semi-Dry Sausage like Salami
“Umaibo (うまい棒)” is a Japanese corn puff snack bar with a light and slightly hard texture which some Japanese snack lovers call “The King of Dagashi“. Amazingly, its price of 10 yen (about 0.1 USD) has never changed since the first flavor went on the market in 1979.
For the unfamiliar, Dagashi is the word for cheap Japanese snacks and candies. It comes in so many different types that those snacks are great treats for children in Japan.
In fact, when I was a boy, I used to go to a small candy shop dedicated to Dagashi called “Dagashiya” near my house with my friends to buy such cheap snacks including Umaibo.
Even now, I love Dagashi snacks, and especially at the time of drinking beer, I sometimes crave a small Japanese sausage snack known as a Dagashi, called “Calpas (カルパス)”.
A piece of the Calpas sausage is very cheap in Japan and has the same price as Umaibo, 10 yen. However, it is delicious and goes quite well with beer.
Actually, Calpas is the Japanese semi-dry sausage that has its roots in a Russian sausage called “Kolbasa”. Calpas is made from ground meat, such as pork, beef, and chicken, or a mixture of these ground meat.
Specifically, after the ground meat is seasoned, spiced, mixed with lard, it is filled into a sausage casing, heated, dried, and then aged for 60 to 90 days. In Japan, Calpas is defined as a type of semi-dry sausage with less than 55 percent water content.
We Japanese often enjoy the Calpas sausage as an “Otsumami (おつまみ)”, or a snack accompaniment for alcoholic beverages, so the Japanese semi-dry sausage is available in most supermarkets and convenience stores.
The majority of Calpas sausages are individually packed and sold in bite-size pieces.
The Difference: Calpas Sausage vs Salami
Calpas sausage is similar to Salami. But Salami is an Italian dried sausage made from ground meat, such as pork and beef, or a mixture of these ground meat.
The basic producing process of Salami is similar to that of Calpas sausage, but in Japan, Salami is defined as a type of dry sausage with less than 35 percent water content.