Lay's potato chips. I grew up being deprived of snacks when I was a kid, being sickly and all, so you can imagine how fast I scarfed down junk food whenever I had the chance! Growing up I tried to be on the healthier side of life by allowing myself to snack in small portions, and trained myself not to indulge in one of God's greatest creations: the fried potato. Fries and chips are my Achilles' heel, especially if the fries are made fresh (bonus: a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning) and the chips are the sweet barbeque kind. Enter the Lay's "Do Us A Flavor" contest that began to run yearly since 2013. These days my kryptonite is Wasabi Ginger, the winner of their 2014 contest, which perfectly balanced the kick of wasabi, ginger and soy sauce onto thick, kettle cooked chips. Thank goodness their large bags aren't as large as their normal ones, or else that one time I ate a whole bag for dinner would have ended in disaster (don't worry, I ate healthy afterwards). Lay's, stop stocking Safeway! (Not really, no, I just have to learn to eat this in moderation).
This year's flavor finalists are as diverse as the previous years'. Needless to say, my coworkers and I (no, they're not chip connoiseurs, just your average chip-loving Americans) have mostly the same views on each flavor. They'll never top my love for Wasabi Ginger chips, though!
This was the least favorite. It didn't conjure images of the beloved gyro for us, instead it was the last one to be finished, if someone did finish the last few chips it had when I last saw it in our break room. It was tangy and the smell was not appetizing at all - you're better off just eating the real thing at your favorite Greek place even if it's a couple of miles away. We're still boggled by the fact that this was a finalist, much like when we scratched our heads at how Mango Salsa and Cappuccino were able to get through the internal voting process at Lay's. Ick, such a waste of potatoes.
Score: 1 out of 5
Ever since truffle oil started popping up everywhere (if it's cheap then it's most probably faux/synthetic), I've been wanting to try the expensive French variety that sells for $100/1oz at Amazon (but of course I can never bring myself to buy those as-expensive-as-gold slivers of mushroom). Quite honestly, I felt that this flavor was a bit of a cheat since it's already originally on another version/cut/form of fried potato. I didn't get the truffle at all, and we all agreed that it actually tasted vaguely of sour cream and onion, albeit a lighter version of the much-loved flavor. We did manage to finish the bag, but it's nothing I would buy again when I go to the grocery store.
Score: 3 out of 5
This was one of the office favorites, they said that it had all the notes of the Reuben down pat. Some have said that the sauerkraut flavor is too overwhelming and lingers on your palate, but since I haven't had the chance to try the real sandwich, I'm left with the option of just going with what everyone had to say. I can definitely taste the corned beef and the tanginess of the sauerkraut, with just a hint of cheese.
Score: 4 out of 5
This was also a crowd favorite, invoking memories of big family dinners, or for immigrants like me, road trip lunches at the nearest Cracker Barrel. The thin chips carried a perfect balance of the smoky and peppery flavor of sausages (one of the key ingredients in white gravy), the creaminess of gravy, and a hint of buttery biscuit (side note: biscuits, which in the Philippines/UK means the harder version of cookies/digestives, while in the US the term is used for buttery, crumbly and savory confections usually paired with fried chicken). This was a win-win: someone forgot they were eating the last 1/4 of the bag until he demolished it.
Score: 4 out of 5
There you have it, I hope you get to enjoy the newest batch of Lay's chips (and sneak a lap or two around your neighborhood while you're at it)! As always, eat in moderation :)
Wasabi Ginger is love!