REVIEW: Lay’s – Passport to Flavor – Chinese Szechuan Chicken

Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips (lip-smacking)

Lay's - Chinese Szechuan ChickenAlright chip fans, like we so often do, we’ve done it again, we’ve saved the best for last! 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, we are pretty late to the Chinese Szechuan Chicken flavored potato chip review ball!  For the most part everyone else has danced their last dance.  But, the very last song is playing, and luckily for us, that song happens to be our most favorite so we are going to get down like there’s no tomorrow.

Chip Review’s flavor creativity rating for Szechuan Chicken (scale: 1 – 10): 8

Chip Review’s excitement for this Szechuan Chicken flavor (scale: 1 – 10): 10

Chip Review’s rating of bag design and color (scale: 1 – 10): 7

For whatever reason we here at Chip Review appear to be in the minority on this flavor.  All of the other “big boy” reviewers have already chimed in, and overall they just don’t seem to really enjoy these.  So, let’s take a look at some of these other reviews and try to understand why they may not love these, and whether we have anything to say about that or not.

First up, The Impulsive Buy’s review

They were spicy, sweet, and unusual to the point where I’m not sure if I liked them.

All of those adjectives have a little something to do with why we actually like them so much!  They are a touch sweet, they do bring some heat, and there are certainly some unusual flavors in there that we haven’t necessarily tasted on other chips (which is why we love them so much).  Although The Impulsive Buy calls them adventurous and spicy, the review also mentions that these are their least favorites of the four flavors.   TIB also posed the question – “what’s wok flavor?”  Well, we are pretty sure that Lay’s is referring to “Wok Hei”, aka “the breath of the wok”, which is the flavor or essence imparted by the wok when cooking over very high heat. The characteristic flavor is due to the the Maillard reactions caused between the high heat and sugar, in the end, the charring of the ingredients.  Shout out to In on Thai’s extremely WOK HEI-FUL Spicy BBQ Pork Fried Rice!!

And, Junk Food Guy’s review

I’m more offended by this: The white takeout container????

SALT BOMB. After eating a good bit of the bag, my stomach definitely started to feel sour. These are FINE, but I won’t be eating them again. A little too sodium packed for me, overwhelming normal chip balance. Nope. 

Offended by the white takeout container, really??  Come’on Junk Food Guy, we value your opinion very much, but we cannot agree with that statement.  In fact, our three most favorite Chinese restaurants in the Chicago area all still utilize these “classically iconic” take out containers.  We can agree with JFG’s assessment that they are salty, because they most definitely are, but we never got to the point of feeling like they were too salty.  And regarding the overall chip and flavor balance, well, we can also agree that they are very well balanced, but that is part of what we loved about them.  They kept us intrigued, perplexed, and were something new for our chip loving mouths to enjoy.

Lastly,  Junk Banter’s review

I think I’ve submitted every single Chinese dish as a Lay’s Do Us A Flavor submission in the past. Chinese food is awesome, but sometimes I am too lazy to pick up a phone and have someone bring me food. Lay’s Chinese Szechuan Chicken fulfills my dream of having Chinese food that I can eat from a bag with my hands.

We too can reiterate the statement that we’ve submitted so many different Chinese dishes as possible flavors for the Do Us a Flavor competition each year.  That being said, never has one of those submissions been Szechuan Chicken.  Overall, we agree with most of Junk Banter’s review of these chips, accept where as Junk Banter feels like this seasoning, doesn’t jive with the potato chips, we feel like it does.  The seasoning may not work as well as other classic matches, but we just love that we are tasting these flavors on fried potato chips!

Rich, foreign, exotic, flavors.  Our most favorite aspect of these chips is that they do in fact contain Szechuan peppercorns.  We actually got some of that undeniable mouth numbing characteristics of these unique peppercorns.

So there you have it, all four ‘Passport to Flavor’ chips eaten and reviewed.  We were pretty pleased with this new flavor line-up.  But, how about next time Lay’s just goes ahead and releases four new Chinese food flavors!  Here is how we would hand out the ‘Passport to Flavor’ medals:

Gold – Chinese Szechuan Chicken

Silver – Greek Tzatziki

Bronze – Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce)

What’s after Bronze? – Indian Tikka Masala

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.

Chips discovered at Walmart; Hodgkins, Illinois

Lay’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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4 thoughts on “REVIEW: Lay’s – Passport to Flavor – Chinese Szechuan Chicken

    • Most places are no longer carrying them as they were a promotion targeted at the olympics, but if you are lucky you may find them at your local 7eleven still.

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