Kimchi chips

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Another week, another potato chip review. This time around with a Korean twist, kimchi chips. If the kimchi crackers I tried before were anything to go on, then these chips were going to be next to tasteless. Going in with low expectations, I opened the box and was pleasantly surprised that I could smell kimchi. There is just no denying that sour, slightly off, yet spicy fragrance. My expectation level just rose a few bars.

Low and behold, the taste was there too. Yes, I could detect a hint of spice, and I could definitely distinguish that fermented flavor. Neither of those tastes were very strong, but they were there and that’s what counts. At least this chip lives up to its name. I was going to leave some for tomorrow, but I ended up finishing the whole thing. Take that as a good sign.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Fromage frais chips

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I think I’ve eaten my way through all the crazy flavors of potato chips in China, but there will always come a time to travel and therefore new opportunities for the potato chip aficionado. On a recent trip to Poland I bought a bag of fresh cheese flavored ones.

When I think of fromage frais or fresh cheese, I think of a creamy cheese that’s slightly acidic, perhaps with an additional touch of green herbs. Although I did find that these chips were different from their usual salted counterpart, I missed that tang and herbiness.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5

Wasabi corn chips

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I’ve written a lot about different potato chips, but there are some corn chips out there too. At an import store I ran across a bag of wasabi flavored corn chips that immediately caught my eye. Wasabi can be a great addition to a dish when handled correctly. It’s quite similar to horseradish, and also similarly strong.

These chips were incredibly strong. In that respect it hits the brief. It delivers in taste what it says on the packaging. Unfortunately I found it aggressively strong. There’s a difference in adding a punch to your sushi and accidentally overdoing it and setting your head on fire. The chips definitely fall in the latter category. I usually complain about the taste of chips wearing off too quickly, and now I found myself wishing it did just that.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 4

Honey chips

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You’ve heard me say before that many chips don’t deliver on flavor. This is one of those cases. These potato chips are advertised as honey flavored, but there isn’t the faintest trace of honey in there. Granted, there is a slight level of sweetness that one doesn’t usually associate with potato chips, but that’s as far as it goes. What’s worse is that these chips have a terrible texture. You can definitely tell it’s not made of sliced fresh potatoes, but rather some powdery substance. Another dollar wasted.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 5

Lime chips

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I’ve tasted a lot of different kinds of potato chips over the past few months, and seldom do I really like one. These lime flavored chips have quickly become one of my favorites though. The saltiness of the chips combine perfectly with the sourness of the lime. It’s like having a shot of tequila, but without the alcohol.

Luckily the flavor doesn’t die instantly, so you can feast on limey goodness for a long while. At least until the bag is empty.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 9

Grilled squid chips

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I’m not the biggest sea food fan out there, but I do enjoy a nicely cooked piece of squid. I wasn’t overly excited about roast squid chips, but I wasn’t exactly afraid of it either. Turns out there was nothing to worry about at all.

There was not the slightest trace of fishiness to these chips. Instead there was a deep smoky barbecue flavor, with a hint of paprika. Now that’s something a lot of so-called barbecue flavored chips could only aspire to.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 7

Hot pot chips

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Potato chip producer Lays came up with a few local flavors here in China. One of these is a hot pot flavored chip. Hot pot is the Chinese version of fondue where people cook meat, fish and vegetables in a big pot of soup. It’s typically very spicy and flavored with Sichuan peppercorns that have a numbing effect. No wonder these chips are labelled “spicy and numbing”.

I’m not usually a big fan of Sichuan pepper, as the numbing effect is just too overpowering for me. These potato chips, however, benefit from just the right amount of seasoning. The spiciness is there, and not just in the background. It hits you, and it hits good. It doesn’t numb your tongue though, and you can easily get through a whole bag without losing a drop of sweat. Where other potato chips have tried to impart a strong flavor, Lays numb and spicy had come out victorious.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 10

You can still choose my next dish here.

Aberdeen Angus Chips

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There’s not much to say about these potato chips, other than don’t waste your money on these. There was no taste of steak, and certainly no distinction between these and any other plain salted potato chip.

Two sentences is all I got, well that makes three now.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 4

Red wine steak chips

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From the makers of the sweet mayonnaise chips I mistook for asparagus chips comes a red wine steak potato chip. That sounds promising to say the least.

I bit into the first chip expecting a savory umami overload. Instead I found myself biting into something that resembled charcoal. Not very nice to say the least. I get that steaks can be flame grilled over charcoal, but then please use the steak as flavoring, and not the actual charcoal.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 4

Crispy bacon chips

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I should really stop trying out different potato chips. They tend to disappoint. As did these bacon chips produced by Mackie’s who also gave us whisky & haggis chips.

There was indeed a taste of bacon to the chips. Crispy bacon that has been fried just a bit too long, but bacon nonetheless. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, that the taste didn’t last. This was yet another disappointing potato chip.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 5