REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked – Do Us a Flavor Finalist – Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©-1/2 chips (notable)

Lay's - Wasabi GingerBy now we’re sure that most of you, if not all of you, are well aware of Lay’s all new 2014 ‘Do Us A Flavor’ contest.  Just about every one and their mother has chimed in with their own thoughts or reviews on these unique flavors.  Similar to last year’s wildly popular flavor contest, Lay’s is once again offering up the chance for one lucky individual to win a million dollars for creating an all new potato chip flavor, and for the general population deeming it the best!  This year Lay’s has offered up four flavor finalists instead of three, and you can stay tuned for our future reviews of: Cappuccino – yep, that’s right Cappuccino, Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Mango Salsa!  Also, this time Lay’s has allowed the flavor creators the liberty of choosing what style of Lay’s potato chips they would like to use as their delivery medium.

As humungous chip fanatics and consumers and reviewers, we cannot begin to tell you how giddy we get each time a contest such as this is released.  We love this stuff!!  And usually, as soon as we hear about this sort of thing we run out to as many different stores as it takes, and we hunt those new chips down!  Unfortunately, this time around Lay’s forgot to check our schedule and released their new chips just as we left the country for two weeks!!  So, in other words, we had to idly sit back and watch as review after review hit the web for the past two weeks.  Well, we are now back stateside, we have the four flavors in our possession, and we are ready to toss in our two cents!

First up: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger

Submitted by: Meneko Spigner McBeth

Chip Review’s flavor creativity rating (scale: 1 – 10): 7

Chip Review’s excitement level (scale: 1 – 10): 6

Initial reaction, these have no scent to them at all.  Seriously, we had to do a double take to make sure that there really were even any chips in the bag.  In our opinion, the wasabi ginger flavor seems like a perfect fit for the kettle cooked variation of Lay’s potato chips.  Bold flavors, paired with robust, thick and crunchy kettle cooked chips.  We really like the idea of the wasabi ginger combination too.  It is a classic flavor pairing and yet one that we have not seen combined with chips.  We have tried plenty of wasabi flavored chips, and a few ginger flavored chips, but never the two together…. Wait!!  Hold on here! We stand corrected, our records do show that we have actually tried the combination before a couple of times.  In fact, even on a kettle cooked potato chip once before – go figure!

Right off the bat we do taste the distinct wasabi flavor, but it certainly did not encompass the level of spicy, nasal heat that we are used to with wasabi.  For those of you out there familiar with wasabi, you know what we mean.  That practically unbearable wasabi nasal burn that despite only lasting for a short passing moment, can bring the toughest person to tears.  Yep, none of that hear, only a slight touch of heat.  As for the ginger half of the duo, well, there really isn’t any, or possibly the wasabi completely overwhelms it.  Either way, we couldn’t taste any.  Pity, we would have really liked to have tasted that slightly pickled, sharp, aromatic ginger flavor on these chips.  We did notice that soy sauce is included among the ingredients, and we should at least note that it added a welcomed, salty, umami depth to the chips.  It didn’t make up for the absence of ginger, but it did add something at least.

Overall the chips weren’t really bad by any means, just a little bit of a let down.  We had rather high hopes for them, and honestly thought that this flavor combo would be an easy slam dunk for Lay’s to execute.  Alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.  Hopefully the other three flavors impress us a bit more, because if these end up being the best of the bunch, then we wouldn’t be happy!

Chip Review’s ‘Do Us A Flavor’ Rankings:

1. Cappuccino

2. Wasabi Ginger

3. Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese

4. Mango Salsa

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

Vote for your favorite here

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REVIEW: Chex Chips – Wasabi

Rating: ©©©-3/4 chips  (notable)

Chex Chips - Wasabi

The jury simply could not reach a verdict on this one.  While some reviewers were quite impressed with the wasabi flavor execution, others were proclaiming that wasabi was never, ever-ever meant to be combined with rice cereal!!

Most of us here at Chip Review are from the generation raised on homemade Chex Mix!  Not the Chex Mix that kids these days are growing up with, but the kind that was so deliciously saturated with unctuous amounts of butter and Worcestershire sauce, that it took the mix pieces forever to crisp back up again in the oven.  The O.M. – Original Mix!  Absolutely delicious!  Granted, many of us referred to this “classical” delicious mix as Doo Dads, rather than Chex Mix, however, that’s another story.

So, what exactly has Chex given us with their Chips?  Well, the story we heard was that someone took Chex’s standard rice cereal, and placed it under that laser from ‘Honey I Shrunk The Kids (for what reason we’re not quite sure, but that’s not he point, just play along).  Not knowing how to accurately use this machine, rather than shrink the cereal piece they used the laser to enlarge it into a giant-jumbo Chex piece, about the size of a chip!  Then a friend of a friend, not knowing what the giant Chex piece was, sprinkled a little bit of salt onto the pieces, and viola!  The Chex Chip is born!

In our opinion, Chex Chips are not much different than most other puffed, or popped, multigrain chips currently on the market today.   They are airy, crisp, light, with a slightly melt-able texture, reminiscent of a good corn puff.  However, we think that Jack over at The Impulsive Buy said it best in his review of the chips that “the texture of Chex Chips is a wonderfully effective hybrid somewhere between the puffiness of Bugles and the crispiness of the late (and well missed) Doritos 3D. Much less flimsy than their breakfast cereal brethren.”

The wasabi seasoning on the Chex Chips is instantly unmistakable for anyone who is familiar with wasabi.  The chips deliver on that fresh, spicy, pungently aromatic, flavor blast.  The flavor complimented the crunchy rice chips rather well, and overall the chips are very well executed.  But again, all that being said, some people loved these, while others could not separate their Chex morning cereal memories from the new savory flavor being presented!

These cereal chip hybrids are certainly not for everyone, but if you are a fan of wasabi, and/or a fan of puffy-popped style chips, then give them a shot.

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

Discovered at 7-Eleven; Burr Ridge, Illinois

Chex Official Website

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REVIEW: Crave Canyon – Wasabi Ginger Kettle Corn

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Crave Canyon - Wasabi Ginger Kettle Corn

Comments:

The amazing Chef G strikes again!  This time with a delicious “east meets west” flavor combo that has our taste buds tingling, and mouths watering!  Just like with Crave Canyon’s Cane Juice & Sea Salt Kettle Corn Kissed With Anise, it is not very often that we stumble upon something completely new in the industry!!  Luckily for us, Chef G seems to be making a habit of delivering us with combinations that are not only different, but tasty!!

Now, who the heck is Chef G you ask?!?  According to Crave Canyon’s website he is:

THE MYTH, THE LEGEND, THE MAN BEHIND THE FLAVOR

We don’t think Chef G. is an elusive man by nature, it’s that he’s just too busy to be in one place for very long. But because of this, we at Crave Canyon don’t know that much about him.

From what we can gather, he’s had a culinary passion since a young age and as an adult started to travel the world to broaden his palate. He has been moving on to the next flavor adventure ever since.

We started our partnership with Chef G. when he approached us one day, eager to try his hand at creating unique popcorn flavors. Of course we readily agreed, his reputation preceding him. What resulted were the wonderful flavors we offer today. Who knows how many more he will come up with; like the man, it still remains a mystery.”

Well, we can tell you one thing for sure about Chef G, and that is that he has a particular gift of combining sweet and salty kettle corn (a classic favorite of ours) with unique flavor combinations, that not only work, but take the kettle corn to places we never imagined possible!

The first thing our mouths noticed as we popped in a few kernels of this kettle corn was that the sweetness really stood out.  The classic crystalized coating of melted sugar was front and center.  Then the backs of our throats, all the way up into our nasal cavaties, felt the spicy shock from the pungent wasabi blast.  Once our mouths had readjusted, a light touch of some aromatic ginger notes appeared, and finally everything was rounded out with an ample dusting of salt.  Surprisingly….this complex, unorthodox, unique, combination worked, and many of us quite liked it, but we are almost certain that it may still confuse many others.

It is definitely not a “natural” or typical popcorn flavor combination in the traditional sense.  It may even be fare to say that this combo could be looked at as an acquired taste.  Did we like it?  Certainly!  Is it for everyone?  Probably not!  It doesn’t quite meld as organically as butter and popcorn, but rather it forced our mouths to think about what we were tasting, and we always appreciate a delicious new kettle corn experience!  And don’t forget, Chef G says that this kettle corn “is to be eaten gingerly, Wasabi-san.”

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

Kettle corn provided to Chip Review by Crave Canyon for review

Crave Canyon Official Website

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REVIEW: Pringles – Wasabi Mayo

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

Pringles - Wasabi Mayof

Comments:

Here we find ourselves at the crossroads of another peculiar snack from the wonderful array of potato chips that our good friends S&A brought back from, yep, you guessed it, Japan!!  So far we have reviewed Yamayoshi’s Wasabeef , and Chip Star’ Caesar Salad potato chips.

First things first, Pringles from Japan, taste exactly the same as Pringles from the USA.  Go figure!  Same shape, same crunch, same salt and seasoning levels, as well as, same location (only on the underside) of the flavoring.  An even dusting of white creamy powder representing the mayo coated each crisp.  While just the tiniest scattering of green specs signified the wasabi.

The flavoring was spot on, but definitely too delicate and timid for our preferences – especially the wasabi aspect of the combination.  We expect, and prefer, to get a “spicy” nasal wallop when we eat wasabi chips.  Either way, pretty much everyone enjoyed them, and couldn’t stop eating them.

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

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REVIEW: Yamayoshi – Wasabeef Potato Chips

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Yamayoshi - Wasa Beef Potato Chips

Comments:

Yamayoshi Wasabeef happen to be the very first chips that we have tasted from the wonderful array of Japanese potato chips that our good friends S&A brought back from, yep, you guessed it, Japan!!  Now we’ve tried wasabi flavored chips before, and we’ve had beef flavored chips a handful of times, but these are the first chips we can think of that have combined the two wonderful flavors together to create a fantastically new flavor experience for us!!

Immediately, the chips’ scent conjures thoughts of savory beef, and Worcestershire sauce – can someone say “UMAMI-whammy!!  We can already tell that we like where these are headed.  Just as we thought we probably knew what to expect from these chips, they threw us a curve ball and hit our tongues with a surprisingly welcome sweetness!  Nice touch.  The sweetness was gradually followed by a slow spicy nasal burn from the wasabi root, and then everything was rounded out by a great mélange of savory-umami-meaty flavor!  We don’t think it is too far of a stretch to fitting to describe these chips as an enlightened BBQ flavor hybrid – meatiness with a unique burn. Yum!

The potato chips themselves are medium thick, smooth texture, with a soft crunch.  Most of the chips were larger in size, and surprisingly unbroken, despite traveling from the other side of the world.

These Japanese chips are so great and unique that even CNN approves!, and according to their article these chips have been around for more than 25 years!  And for another raving review, make sure to check out Crisp Nation.

These are our thoughts, agree or disagree, make sure to let us know!

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