In February of last year, Lay's rolled out a contest where you could vote for your favorite of 3 new kinds of chips: Cheesy Garlic Bread, Sriracha, and Chicken & Waffles chips. We of course reviewed them, and agreed with America on the winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread.
And they've done it again this year. SO, that means it's time for me to spend some time eating chips and talking about them. Ladies and gents, I present the 4 finalists for this year's contest. Save your fave!
First up: Something I've never had and can't imagine I'd want on a potato chip: Mango Salsa, in wavy form:
These smell pretty strongly of mango. I was surprised already.
So these are weird. The less flavor-covered chips are kind of fruit-sweet, with a pretty hidden tomato-ish (I guess) salsa flavor and are kind of enjoyable, but still weird. The super covered chips make my face do bad things. They have such a strong mango flavor, and even though I generally love mango in all forms (have you had a Bud Lite Lime Mango-rita yet? WONDERFUL), I thought these were pretty gross. They're just way too sweet and odd of a flavor, and mango flavoring in dry rub form just doesn't work as anything other than odd and kind of gross. I don't think the world is ready for fruit flavored potato chips. I'm sure as hell not.
I decided to stop messing around and just went for the day-ruiner right off the bat. Dear taste buds, I'm sorry.
I present: Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger chips:
Let me give you a little backstory. I don't like sushi. I never have. I'll never understand how people who were raised on cheeseburgers and pizza suddenly hit age 30 and not just like, but absolutely LOVE and praise like the lord baby jesus himself raw fish wrapped in goo rice. For years, I was told, "you don't like sushi? It's probably cuz you haven't had GOOD sushi." But over years of being dragged to sushi places and eating roll after roll to prove to my friends that no- I have had what they consider to be good, I just don't like sushi, I have proven time and time again that sushi just isn't for some people.
So should I be doing this review? Well, I bought the chips, so yea.
Even though I don't like sushi, I could eat some of it if I had to- at least the less raw/weird versions. I could eat a California roll and not be too grossed out if it was my only option for food. Could I eat one dipped in wasabi and ginger? No. Fuck that. I'd rather starve.
Since the first time wasabi touched my tongue, I've despised it. I don't believe anyone likes it- I believe it exists solely so people can claim they like it and make a scene when they eat it. "DOOD! DID YOU SEE HOW MUCH WASABI HE JUST ATE?! DAAMN DOOD!" Or so Steve-O can snort it.
And ginger? I spit it out when I tried it. Isn't it basically tongue poison that kills off any taste you just had so the next thing you eat can get a fresh palette? And I'm eating this on my beloved potato chips!? Of all the people I know who eat sushi, I think 1 person mixes wasabi and ginger together. But Lay's decided that the lunatic who submitted this flavor deserved to have these made. Sure Lay's, ignore my submission of chipotle ranch potato skins. But make sure you go out of your way to make this piss. Jerks.
I bit in, and immediately spit everything out. In fact, here's me eating these for the first time:
I guess that means that Lay's got the flavor right. As I panicked and spit chips all over my friend's garden and tried my best to not violently puke up my entire intestines, I was immediately taken back to the first time I tried these flavors, at a small sushi place in Somerville, Massachusetts. I swore at my friends and stared deep into their souls, appalled that I willingly spent time with people who purposefully ate such atrocities of flavor.
So, if you love wasabi and ginger, these will probably be your favorite chips. If, on the other hand, you like actual food, you should set fire to every bag of these you see, screaming at them to drag themselves back to the hell they came from. NOTE: FGFB does not condone setting fire to bags of chips, unless of course you own them and it is done in a controlled way.
Grade: Every F that's ever existed, jammed together into one giant F that flattens your whole family and everything you've ever loved. I'm either setting fire to this bag or using it to prank someone I really hate. Unfortunately, there's nobody I hate enough.
Next up, another odd choice for Lay's, Cappuccino:
Lay's is certainly getting adventurous this time. I opened these up, and they smelled like coffee. As I got closer to the bag, the smell sweetened up, with cinnamon and subtle hints of an almost maple chocolate. The chips looked awesome. I've never seen a chip so brown before.
Were they good? ehhhhhh....
I'm not a coffee drinker (seriously, why am I even doing this review?) but I tend to love coffee flavored things, generally because coffee flavored things have a lot of sweetness to them. These don't. I mean, initially, they are definitely sweet, but as I chewed them, I found the coffee bitterness started creeping in, and I was left with a bitter coffee aftertaste that every now and then hit me with some cinnamony sweetness. This really just confused my taste buds more than anything- making me think I really liked these with time, but then each chip I ate gave me the same reaction: yuck.
So, while I've been excited to try these for the experience and test of my taste buds, these contest chips were failing pretty hard. Would the one flavor I was certain would be good save it?
Time to find out.
Opening these up, they stunk. They smelled of a weird plastic meat. But that's ok- all chips I've had with bacon involved smell terrible. Could the taste be all that I'd dreamt of?
Again, sort of! But these are still awesome. They aren't really that different from any other cheddar and bacon chip out there, but I'm ok with that, since there aren't enough, and Lay's and Ruffles' delicious Bacon chips are only available in Canada, and SHITTY STUPID RUFFLES STILL HASN'T BROUGHT BACK THE WORKS. These are close to Ruffles' cheddar and bacon potato skins chips, just slightly more bacony. Honestly, right away, I tasted mac and cheese, but once I questioned if I was just imagining it, I felt like I was. These are cheesy, but are they really Mac & Cheesey? There is a very slight uniqueness to the cheese, but if I was taste-testing these and asked what they were, I'd just say they were cheddar and bacon.
But again, I'm ok with that. I am 100% buying a big bag of these (or 5), but at the same time- I don't have to rush and buy out the store. Because there is NO WAY IN HELL any of the other flavors beat this one. If they do, it's a conspiracy. Fruit chips, wasabi and ginger hell, and a complete gimmick of coffee chips vs. a flavor that has time and again proven itself to not only be awesome- but be awesome on chips? These'll be permanent (or at least as permanent as Lay's decides to make them, which probably won't be very long).
Either way, these are great.
Try them all if you have the stomach for it. When you're done, vote at https://www.dousaflavor.com/#!/ but only if you're voting for Bacon Mac & Cheese. Seriously. Don't screw this up.
-review by Mike