There are these potato sticks snacks called Jyagarico made by Calbee which are widely popular in Japan. The main popular flavor is "Salad", but they have multiple flavors such as cheese, butter & potato, cheesey curry to name a few. My cousin Ayumi and my uncle Hiroshi both told me that this potato sticks snack also doubles as (really good) mashed potatoes. Whaaaaaat?!
Here is what the Jyagarico can looks like. Jyagarico can also be packaged in a bag, but you need this canister-type container to make the mashed potatoes.
Here are what the potato sticks look like- they're crunchy in texture (think thick potato chips), and have speckled flecks of orange and green (for what I can only assume are supposed to resemble carrots and lettuce?)
Open the container 3/4 of the way (NOT all the way), and add boiling hot water up until 3/4 of the potato stick height (NOT the canister height).
Close the lid, and secure it with a small plate as to not let any steam out for 3 minutes
After 3 minutes, you'll see the sticks have softened, and most of the water has been absorbed by the potatoes
I started mashing away...
Voila- Jyagarico mashed potatoes! I felt the flavor was a bit weak, but still better than instant potato flakes you find in the States. The texture was thick yet still creamy.
It tasted even better with a bit of Japanese mayo! Yum. I brought an extra 3 canisters home to have them in a pinch, but (ahem, Darin!) they were all gone by the time the flight was over...
Tip: If you're interested in trying this while you're traveling in Japan, just about all the hotels have a hot water heater, so buy a canister and take it back to your hotel room to try. Really- it was so easy and so good. Great for a quick, warm snack. I would highly recommend getting a small (bento-sized) bottle of Kewpie mayonnaise to add on top- easily found at any convenience store (7 Eleven, Family Mart, Sunkus, etc.)