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Xueci Cheng

Associate Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

instagram.com/scharf.xueci/

Oh, potato chips. The essential snack can be found in every corner of this world, but can divide friends when it comes to flavors. Some prefer the most authentic potato-y chips (or crisps, to those of you in the UK) with minimal seasoning while some endeavor to try novelty flavors. I am the latter.

We sourced 11 unusual flavors from online and specialty supermarkets. On a gloomy Wednesday morning, I brought light to my day by tasting each one of them and noting down my honest, biased opinion. Some of my colleagues shared theirs—but you all know who to trust here. If you’ve also got strong opinions on chip flavors, let me know in the comments.

1. Calbee Curry flavored chips

I had high hopes for these ones, as I like everything curry: Indian Tikka Masala, Japanese or Thai curry, I’ll take it all! At the first bite it tastes of nothing, but then a curried flavor and slight bitterness and spiciness develops. The curry flavor almost seems raw and reminds me of a classic Hong Kong street food: curry fish balls. But, it just doesn’t live up to what a good curry promises: a rounded, complex spice mix that lingers on your tongue for some time.
Rating: 2.5/5

2. Calbee pizza flavored chips

I would call this bag cheese flavored, as the chips both smell and taste cheesy. The chips are crinkle cut and speckled with orange dots that are apparently meant to represent melted cheese. As marketed on the package, there’s Swiss and Cheddar cheese flavorings. It indeed tastes like Cheddar, but in my humble opinion, pizza should be more than that.
Rating: 2/5

3. Calbee chili crab flavored chips

The chips smell really fishy—and for me this is a good thing! They taste sweet and spicy, with notes of true crabby, seafood-y flavor. These are for people who enjoy dried squid as a snack or at least like to munch on prawn crackers. It’s my favorite from the three Calbee (a Japanese potato chip manufacturer) that I hand-picked from an Asian grocery store.
Rating: 4 5

4. Walkers Marmite chips

Marmite, a black yeast extract spread, is said to be the touchstone of true foodies, and was introduced to me through our lovely, but most likely biased, British colleague, Steven. The chips are coated in a dark Marmite seasoning. My Marmite encounters are limited, but I can say that hese are milder: a nice salted chip with a touch of toasty and sour flavors and a herbal aftertaste.
Rating: 2.5/5

5. Walkers Worcester sauce chips

Compared to the last Walkers candidate, the Worcester flavor has a real kick, with an intense salty and sour taste. For those who enjoy strong seasonings and the addictive pain like wasabi, these might surprisingly please you.
Rating: 3.5/5

6. Torres black truffle chips

These chips scream luxury and indulgence, giving off that distinctive truffle aroma at the first sniff. If you’re a die-hard truffle lover, don’t pass these up: they come highly endorsed by our French photographer Aurore. The reviews from the test kitchen were not as favorable: Christian and Bruna thought they tasted more like truffle oil than real truffle (although the ingredient list suggests there’s some of the good stuff in there). I tend to agree with these two: After an impressive “truffle” opening—the taste itself doesn’t linger too much.
Rating: 2.5 /5

7. Quillo chips with fried egg flavor

I like fried eggs and chips, but here, when combined, the result is suspicious. This bag was actually my least favorite. It tastes, according to others who tried it, like a hard-boiled egg. To be precise, a hard-boiled egg opened in a closed bus—hard for me to comprehend why it’s on the market.The chips are crawled and extra crunchy (by that I mean it’s not easy to bite in). The package design is the best, the only plus here.
Rating: 1.5/5

8. Funny-Frisch chipsfrisch currywurst style

One of the few exciting flavors among the limited selection in German supermarkets, which is usually overwhelmed by paprika variations. Surprisingly, it delivers what it promises! The seasoning is strong and truly tastes like ketchup and curry, with the tangy tomato note particularly prominent. I must say it outperformed my expectations for German chips.
Rating: 4/5

9. Koikeya teriyaki chips

This chip is predictably nice, both thin and crispy. Among all, it has the best texture I encountered during my tasting. The sweetness might be overpowering to some, but I see its crowd-pleasing potential, because, who doesn’t like teriyaki?
Rating: 3.5 / 5

10. Lay's cucumber flavored chips

It might sound like a pretty odd flavoring, but I’ve been snacking on these since I was a child. The ones we used to get came packaged in a tube and were less greasy. The Lays version are more crisp rather than seriously crunchy, but the fresh and slight minty cucumber taste is just so unique and so satisfying to me, that these were nevertheless irresistible. If you’re looking for something out of your usual snack world, try these!
Rating: 4/5

11. Lay’s lime flavored chips

The Lay’s lime flavor is similar to the cucumber one, but has even more of a punch, making it, apparently, quite divisive. It’s tangy in the beginning with some sweetness later; to some extent, it tastes like a sweetened version of salt and vinegar chips. However, it’s also the most controversial one. According to the purist, Christian, “Why would you want to put lime and cucumber flavor on potato chips?” But, I mean, why not?
Rating: 3/5

What fun chip flavors have you discovered? Let us know in the comments!

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