It is that time of year again when Lay’s lets the public create a new potato chip flavor and the country votes on their favorites. Last year’s winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread, won against Sriracha and Chicken & Waffles (I really liked Chicken & Waffles, so I was sad to see that go).
This year’s finalists are Mango Salsa, Wasabi Ginger, Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Cappuccino. My boyfriend Kris and I tasted each flavor and jotted down our first impressions and thoughts while eating the chips.
Samantha: It smells like barbecue.
Kris: You can smell hints of mango. It’s like Hawaiian BBQ, like Kalua pig.
S: Like a smoked mango.
K: It’s like eating laundry. That’s weird! I don’t know how to describe that. It’s a very soapy flavor.
S: I can definitely tell what you mean about the soapy flavor.
K: It’s confused as to whether it wants to taste fresh or soapy.
S: It reminds me too much of dried mango, which I’m not really into.
K: Fruit and potato just do not mix.
K: I feel like this is going to be really good.
S: It smells like a Japanese restaurant.
K: It smells like classic kettle.
S: That wasabi really hits you.
K: It’s like wasabi shoyu [soy sauce]. Ooh it has a nice aftertaste of ginger! This is the most unique one and it works.
S: I can go for some sushi right now.
Bacon Mac & Cheese:
K: I bet this is going to taste good. Everyone loves bacon.
S: It smells like smoked gouda.
K: It smells like barbecue.
K: That’s not fair because everything is good with cheese. Like the cheesy garlic bread. Cheese is like the elixir of potato chips. Anything tastes good with cheese, it’s kind of unfair.
S: It reminds me of a baked potato and I feel like I’m eating the T.G.I. Friday Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins. The flavor really packs a punch.
S: Smells like Dunkin Donuts!
K: It smells like breakfast.
S: Look at those specks of cinnamon!
K: This just tastes burnt. It tastes like broken dreams.
S: Is it weird that I can taste the cream? It’s so bland. They should’ve added more sugar.
K: It gets better as you keep eating it, though. Definitely better than that mango one.
Kris and I both agreed that Wasabi Ginger is the winner in our eyes, however we think that America will vote for the Bacon Mac & Cheese. Between the spiciness from the wasabi and aromatics of the ginger, the flavors balance each other out. The kettle chip texture also has the right amount of crunch to make sure that the wasabi ginger flavors are not too potent. That being said, we don’t think the world is ready for a Wasabi Ginger chip. I remember years ago, there used to be Wasabi Funyuns, which I loved to pieces. I don’t think it was received very well, so it was removed from shelves. Now, Funyuns has a Chile Limón flavor. I just don’t think America is ready to embrace wasabi in their chips. The Bacon Mac & Cheese really is the standard cheesy chip flavor, but it’s been overdone. There’s already Cheddar & Sour Cream, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and of course the T.G.I. Friday Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skin. That flavor already exists. The new flavor should be something bold and different, not something that’s to be expected. But who am I to say, I’m talking as though the Bacon Mac & Cheese has already won. It also seems that the Mango Salsa is being well received, but really I can’t get past the mango-soap flavor. Thinking about it makes me sick.
Now I guess we will play the waiting game to see which chip wins. Have you tried any of the flavor finalists? Which ones are your favorite?
Special thanks to Kris for being a part of this taste test! Check out his blog here.