Life

Picking Our Favorites From Lay’s New ‘Tastes Of America’ Flavors


Lays/Uproxx

Every once in a while, Lay’s introduces a line of new potato chip flavors. When those announcements come, each new flavor sparks my imagination. As I wait for them to drop, I’m inspired to ask the hard questions like: “What will they taste like?” and “How will they make a chip that tastes like lobster?” and also, “Speaking of lobster, why do I have lobster claws instead of hands?” You know, the same basic questions everyone asks.

This particular go-round, Lay’s came up with a flight of chips that was “inspired by regional American flavors and foods,” and not (as they replied in a fairly curt email to me) by the tears a lonely lobster girl cries at night. Surprising. Still, this is the largest run of new flavors the brand has ever rolled out at once, so people were pumped to try them. I was curious too, so I put aside my questions about whether or not a creature such as me has a soul and settled in to determine what the best new flavor of Lay’s is.

Tasting notes: I tried all of these chips in random order, with my crustacean claws, on an empty stomach. I used white wine to clean my palate because, you know, I was going to drink white wine anyway. (Which also explains how I ended up with 1500 words of lobster girl micro fiction that my editor is sure to cut. [Yep. -ed])

8. Fried Pickles with Ranch

What it should be called: Dill Duds

What it tastes like: Dill. And nothing. Maybe sadness? Is sadness a flavor?

How it felt: A couple of days after we tried the chips, my husband walked out of the kitchen eating the pickle chips.

“WHY WOULD YOU EAT THOSE?” I screamed. “THEY’RE TERRIBLE!”

“Its a strategy,” he said, “so that we don’t have to look at them or think about them anymore. They’ll be out of our lives forever.”

And that, friends, is how you know it’s real love.

7. Thai Sweet Chili

What it should be called: Thai not-Sweet Chill-LIES

What it tastes like:

I love sweet chili Thai anything, so I was confident this would be my absolute favorite. I took a big ol’ chip and shoved it into my mouth. And then I learned that life is only pain. Because the taste was: VINEGAR.

That’s it. And I don’t know why. Or how. Or when. Or who. All I know is that there is no Thai or sweet or chili. There is salt and vinegar and nothing else and I wish I was dead.

What it feels like:

If Robert Mueller indicted Thai Sweet Chili chips I’d be like, I KNEW IT. These were created by Russian bots or spies to destroy us. This a bad chip made by bad people. Vinegar people.

6. Chile Con Queso

What it should be called: Cilantro con Cilantro

What it tastes like: Go to the grocery store. Take a handful of cilantro and shove it in your mouth. Now another. Now another. And there’s the taste.

What it feels like:

Confusing? My friend who blind tested the bag just kept saying (after the flavor was revealed) But it’s queso…QUESO. Why is there no cheese? Why does it not taste anything like cheese? Nobody knows. But the question will haunt us forever.

5. New England Lobster Roll

What it should be called: Butter Magic!

What it takes like: Sour cream and onion. Which is… fine. I’m not personally that into it. But, also, to each his own. It definitely doesn’t have lobster, I’ll tell you that. However, after you swallow the taste explodes into your mouth to be pure butter. Such a surprising and fascinating aftertaste. There’s no butter until the end. A buttery surprise that is not entirely unpleasant.

“Do you taste that,” I shrieked at my friend during his blind taste test like a harpy (ruining all credibility for a blind, untainted tasting). “Isn’t the butter aftertaste weird? How do they do it?”

We had no answers. Chip science is crazy.

How it feels:

It was…fine. No lobster. Lots of onion butter. Which is, coincidentally, the same words you’d use to describe losing your virginity. So much onion butter.

4. Deep Dish Pizza

What they should call it: Deep Dish Pizza

What it tastes like:

OH MY GOD. IT TAKES JUST LIKE GIORDANO’S PIZZA. This is the first time in my life I have used the phrase, “These chip scientists are amazing”

What it feels like:

Disclaimer: In other reviews of these chips, I’ve found that east coast monsters like to make snide comments about Chicago Style pizza. These people are bad and must be stopped. To be clear, I love all pizza, but Deep Dish pizza is the best. And you can @ me because it’s an inarguable fact and I will get really emotional and angry cry and all the work I’ve done in the notebook my therapist gave me to “Manage my extreme emotions” will be ruined. But it will all be worth it.

I felt a lot of things tasting these. I guess the biggest was the amazement that this chip doesn’t just taste like pizza or even deep dish pizza, it specifically tastes like Giordano’s pizza, my personal favorite Chicago pizza.

The strange thing though was, while it definitely was the most successful taste-match chip, I didn’t love it as a chip. I just would rather…eat pizza.

3. Pimento Cheese

What it should be called: CheddarCheesePlease!

What it tastes like: It’s a Spicy cheddar-y thing. Maybe a little sour cream in there, which I’m anti.

What it feels like:

This wasn’t bad. Or good. Eye of the storm, I guess? You know bad things are coming but you’re in a peaceful place where you’re just looking out the window and seeing the bad parts of the twister, a witch on a bicycle, Helen Hunt’s dad being sucked out of a shelter, cows, but you’re safe, you know? It’s like…things are pretty good. You’ll grow up to become a tornado scientist and fall in love with Bill Pullman or Bill Paxton or whatever.

2. Cajun Spice

What they should call it. Cajun-pocalypse

What it tastes like: Okay. So let’s say you were having a summer party, and you sprinkled some cajun seasoning on some chicken breasts and threw them on the grill. And then you go to put the bottle of seasoning back, but instead, some random guy grabs it from you and is like:

“Oh, you like Cajun seasoning so much. Think it makes you look like a tough guy, huh? All your friends are eating it, huh? Think it’s cool? Then maybe, finish the whole bottle.”

And you’re like:

“Um, hey, I think you’re confusing Cajun spice for smoking cigarettes.”

And he’s like:

“No, I’m not. Cajun seasoning causes lung cancer and has nicotine in it and is addicting.”

And you’re like:

“No. For sure you’re thinking of cigarettes.”

And he’s like: “Okay, fine. Then let’s pour this whole bottle on these regular Lay’s chips as a compromise.”

It’s tastes like that, I guess.

What it feels like:

I liked it. As advertised. A little spicy. I felt like I wouldn’t want to eat too many in one sitting, but it was a good chip.

1. Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice

What they should call it: Old Bay Ramen

What they taste like: Old Bay. In a good way. These were so unexpectedly good. They tasted like eating ramen noodles kind of…like there’s a chicken bullion thing going on. There’s no crab. Like, absolutely no crab, but who needs it?

How it makes me feel:

Hands down, the people I had try these said that this was the most delicious chip. It was different from any chip I’ve ever tried but in a good way. It was unconventional and it works. I love these crab chips and I’m never going back.

All crab chips. All the time. I want no other non-chip foods. Just the crab chips, mam. Please and thank you. I order them in restaurants now then I scream until someone runs to the store and brings them to me on a fancy plate. I drink them crushed up out of a cup at Starbucks. Instead of showers I just smear them all over my body.

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