REVIEW: Trader Joe’s – Bollywood Popcorn (Vegan Tikka Masala)

Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips (lip-smacking)

trader-joes-bollywood-popcornIs Tikka Masala the new BBQ or Cheddar?  Most likely not, but the Indian flavor does seem to be picking up some traction, as Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn is the second Tikka Masala flavored snack that we have reviewed in as many months.  We can tell you without a doubt, that TJ’s snack version of the flavor, is easily the far superior one!

Every year Trader Joe’s always seems to knock a couple of their new snacks out of the park – last year we loved their Ghost Pepper Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Potato Chips and the Partially Popped Popcorn …with Butter & Sea Salt, and two years ago it was their Potato Chips with South African Style Seasoning, this year we already praised their Somewhat Spicy Dill flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips – and it is fair to say that TJ’s Bollywood Popcorn has joined this lip-smacking list!

To accurately describe to you what exactly this popcorn tastes like we would have to have a much better understanding of Indian cuisine overall.  So, rather that do a half-popped job with that we are just going to plagiarize a few key descriptive words from What’s Good at Trader Joe’s review:

a big, aromatic cloud of cloves and cumin and garam masala, which quickly laid to rest how potent the seasoning might be on a simple popcorn base… Potent is an understatement. My goodness. The best way I can explain it is a “happy heat.” …it builds slowly but surely, with a lot of warmth, and it just lingers on and on, but it’s never overbearing.”

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves, and so we didn’t.  The popcorn is amazingly fragrant, dusted perfectly with those exotic spices.  And it certainly brings a slightly spicy, steady warmth after a few handfuls.  But above all else, we would describe the popcorn as balanced, and extremely SAVORY.  We just loved it!  If you like popcorn, then you owe it to yourself to give this stuff a try!!

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

Popcorn discovered at Trader Joe’s; Oak Park, Illinois

Trader Joe’s Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

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REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked – Passport to Flavor – Indian Tikka Masala

Rating: ©©©© chips (lip-smacking)

Lay's Kettle Cooked - Indian Tikka MasalaBehind door #3 of Lay’s ‘Passport to Flavor‘ showcase showdown we have an affordably exotic trip to: India!  Brought to us through the dish of Tikka Masala.  Otherwise known as – Chip Review’s taste bud confusing jumble of spices and flavors!

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, or you do not read about chips (which, just FYI, you are technically doing right now), and you have somehow, for some reason, not visited the chip aisle of any grocery store recently, then we are going to guess that you have heard about Lay’s new ‘Passport to Flavor‘ promotion.  And, we are also going to guess that we do not have to tell you that Lay’s new flavor foursome are obviously being released in correlation with this year’s Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A few days ago we reviewed Lay’s Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce), and last week we reviewed Lay’s Wavy Greek Tzatziki.  So far, we have Greek Tzatziki wearing the gold, and Brazilian Picanha taking the silver, and not to give anything away but, Indian Tikka Masala will be walking away with the bronze, unless the last flavor – Chinese Szechuan Chicken – has anything to say about that!  All that being said, we must say that we have been pretty darn impressed with Lay’s showing so far at these Passport to Flavor Olympics!

Chip Review’s flavor creativity rating for Tikka Masala (scale: 1 – 10): 5

Chip Review’s excitement for this Tikka Masala flavor (scale: 1 – 10): 3

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

Our first Chip Review taster initially stated – “Honestly, the first thought I had were of my mom’s ginger snap cookies…???”  We’re not going to pretend like we are Indian cuisine experts here, because honestly we are far, far from it.  We have of course eaten it, and we have more often than not really enjoyed it, but for the most part, we have found that Indian flavors or spices are all far too often just too powerful for chips to handle.  So, with that being said, here is our minor assessment of these new chips.

First, we always associate Tikka Masala as the most “mainstream” or safest Indian dish there is….  Is this in fact true?  Not sure.  Either way, we’re guessing that many, many people out there who have never even tried Indian cuisine, may actually know this dish by name.  Maybe only more common would be the generic use of the word ‘curry’ in regards to Indian cooking.

Secondly, here’s what we taste in these chips: creamy sour cream and tomato (unique), almost overwhelmed by assumed spices of cumin and tumeric.  The flavors are definitely savory, and certainly bold.  We don’t love these chips, but we certainly do appreciate them.

We feel like the kettle cooked variety of Lay’s was definitely the right choice for this flavor.  A thick and crunch chip, to combat a powerful seasoning.

For a more in depth take on these Tikka Masala chips, check out Junk Food Guy’s.

So there you have it, all four ‘Passport to Flavor’ chips eaten and reviewed.  We were pretty pleased with this new flavor line-up.  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:

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