18 Bags Later, There are Two Clear Leaders in National Potato Chip Day | Dallas Observer

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We Try 18 Bags of Chips From an Asian Market for National Potato Chip Day

We decided to celebrate National Potato Chip Day by going a bit overboard at our local Asian market.
We decided to celebrate National Potato Chip Day by going a bit overboard at our local Asian market. Hank Vaughn
We don’t have to tell you, dear reader, that March 14 is National Potato Chip Day. It’s one of the few days that bring us together as a nation as we celebrate America’s No. 1 snack food, at least according to Big Potato. National Broccoli Day? Piffle. National Something on a Stick Day? Who needs it? (Both are real days that also occur in March, just for the record.)

However, if we’re going to do National Potato Chip Day, we’d like to put a bit of a spin on it, and when we happened upon what seemed like dozens of chip flavors at one of our local Asian markets, an epiphany ensued. What better way to celebrate this most American of holidays than by sampling several slightly offbeat chip flavors from Thailand? Buckle up, it’s going to be a savory ride.
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Roasted garlic oyster, chili crab, nori seaweed.
Hank Vaughn

Roasted Garlic Oyster
The oyster flavor here seems to be what one would get after putting spent oyster shells in an old shoe for about two weeks. That didn’t stop us from finishing the bag, however.

Chili Crab
Eh. Tastes of the associated seasonings, not really of the crab. Par for the course.

Nori Seaweed
If your favorite part of a sushi roll is the outer seaweed wrapping, then this flavor is for you.
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Mexican chicken tomato, sweet basil, wasabi mayo.
Hank Vaughn
Mexican Chicken Tomato
The tomato flavor is up front with no real chicken present. Slightly on the sweet side, and we’re still not really clear what about this is Mexican.

Sweet Basil
Despite the pepper pictured on the bag, this seemed to have a very low spice level at first, but it gradually intensified. The flavor profile is reminiscent of a 4-year-old jar of dried basil that one might find in a forgotten spice cupboard.

Wasabi Mayo Flavor
The wasabi, thankfully, drowns out the mayo, but is on the lower range of the wasabi punch scale, if such a scale exists. We like wasabi flavor that’s strong enough to clear one’s sinuses as an aftereffect.
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Salted egg, roast beef, extra barbecue.
Hank Vaughn
Salted Egg
Upon first opening this bag you are assaulted with an odor that smells a bit of wet sock, which is redeemed slightly with a flavor profile that evokes a slightly burned room-temperature fried egg, if you're into that sort of thing.

Roast Beef
One is greeted with a strong odor that doesn't instill much confidence in the snacking experience to come. The flavor is reminiscent of meat drippings mixed with cold mashed potatoes on a leftover plate, but the sweetness ends up being a turnoff. This isn't a honey ham chip, after all. Come on.

Extra Barbecue
We had high hopes for this one, what with the picture on the package depicting what appears to be chicken kabobs on a grill. but at the end of the day these simply have a slight barbecue chip flavor and are boring.
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Truffle, sour twist, roasted cumin lamb skewer.
Hank Vaughn
These were great. The truffle flavor didn't come across as artificial, and there was also a secondary buttery taste just as one finds in the real McCoy. Thumbs up.

Sour Twist
You'd be surprised to learn that this is really ... sour. We were taken off guard. This has a really intense lime or vinegar flavor, and based on the packaging, the "twist" would appear to be some sort of pepper, along with the assault on our tastebuds that came out of the blue without warning.

Roasted Cumin Lamb Skewer
Another in the long line of things that capture the seasoning of the protein if not the protein itself; this did have a hint of lamb in the aroma when the bag was first opened, however. Now if we could only find a bag of mint-flavored potato chips to accompany it.
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Ghost pepper, strong beer flavor, grilled squid.
Hank Vaughn
Ghost Pepper
As spicy as you'd expect, but edible, which is a nice twist on most ghost pepper-flavored things.

Strong Beer Taste
We had to translate the packaging using a phone camera and the Google Translate app, but it seems valid what with the glass of beer on the label. This does taste of beer: not strong, but slight. To be more specific, it tastes slightly like a room-temperature flat pilsner beer. Too bad they didn't go with an IPA.

Grilled Squid
Grilled squid has the smell of some sort of aquarium fish food with a flavor that, amazingly, slightly redeems itself. Still, we aren't guppies.

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Salted shrimp, takoyaki, beef wellington.
Hank Vaughn
Salted Shrimp
Very similar to the grilled shrimp-flavored chips with an unsettling aroma and a flavor that is only slightly more appetizing. In this case less so, though the salt-and-pepper combo that's upfront isn't bad. It's a shame that the pictured beer didn't make an appearance.

This had a mustardy-meat profile, which tastes better than it sounds. Takoyaki typically is filled with minced octopus, but it's hard to tell here. Checking the ingredient list we find potatoes, oil and "meatball flavor seasoning," so that clears it all up.

Beef Wellington
These were much better than the simple roast beef-flavored chips mentioned above. This tasted like a flavorful hunk of beef that had not been sitting too long under the heat lamp at the local Golden Corral on a Sunday afternoon, and we mean that in a good way. This takes top honors along with the truffle chips.

So there you have it. Happy Potato Chip Day, indeed. Why constrain yourself to blah, ho-hum flavors like sour cream and onion, vinegar or barbecue when a world of weird and odd chip flavors awaits those willing to venture out to some Asian markets? Sure, some flavors may be a bit off-putting, but it's just $1.99. And to be clear, even though many of the chips we sampled above had an issue or two, that didn’t stop us from finishing each and every bag. We’re Americans, after all.
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Hank Vaughn is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing and overthinking his food and drink experiences, both good and bad, from his culinary journeys with his wife across North Texas and beyond.
Contact: Hank Vaughn

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