REVIEW (x4): Lay’s Global Flavors (Greek Tzatziki, Brazilian Picanha, Indian Tikka Masala, & Chinese Szechuan Chicken)
The Olympic Games, a biennial/quadrennial competition between the world’s finest talents, has long been considered the most fascinating display of athleticism known to man and the female equivalent of man. But if you ask me, athleticism is sitting on your couch eating too many potato chips while watching others exercise.
Lay’s just dropped four new potato chips out of nowhere to coincide with the Rio Olympics 2016. They’re being marketed simply as “Lay’s Global Flavors.” The campaign is a first for Lay’s, who normally reserves multiple simultenous releases for fan votes such as the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest and the recent Lay’s Flavor Swap thing. Nobody voted for any of the new flavors in the Flavor Flop, so Lay’s just went ahead and released four more. It’s clear that Lay’s gets off on releasing new chips. It’ll soon be clear that I get off on eating them.
Let me get right to the review because your attention spans are razor thin as it is.
The first new flavor, Lay’s Wavy Greek Tzatziki, isn’t new at all. They were available last year at Costco and in Kettle Cooked form in the 2014 Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contest in Canada. I knew this first hand because I order all the Canadian flavors every year. Not ashamed of it, either. I declared Greek Tzatziki the victor (to myself), and I find these “new” chips equally as delicious.
Lay’s Wavy Greek Tzatziki are the most accessible chips of the group. They share many similarities with classic sour cream & onion, but have all the added complexity of tzatziki sauce. There’s a heavy emphasis on dill and a smaller dose of cucumber. The chips are bursting with the flavor of fresh herbs and garlic, and they taste cool and refreshing. They indeed have a creaminess component to them from “natural yogurt type flavor,” whatever the hell that is. The herbs and spices in tazatziki sauce are a natural complement for potato chips; a home run in my book. They’re also the only Wavy variety and nothing beats Wavy.
Things That Beat Wavy Rating: 0 out of 10
Natural Yogurt Type Flavor Rating: ??? out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
Let me be frank with you guys. I can’t tell you how much Lay’s Brazilian Picanha tastes like Brazilian picanha because I’ve never even heard of picanha. But Lay’s already figured out that Americans are dumbasses, so they put “Steak & Chimichurri Sauce” as the subheading. I fully understand steak and I partially understand chimichurri. But this exact dish? Never had it.
It might not be the strongest flavor in the game, but it’s clear that these chips are flavored like seasoned meat. I admire that Lay’s Brazilian Picanha isn’t in-your-face with mystery meat flavor; what’s here is steak. They have a nice charred flavor without any aggressive liquid smoke element that many meat-flavored chips do. The use of black pepper is judicious and appropriate.
The chimichurri aspect is balanced evenly with the steak flavor. I got the meat initially and the herby sauce rounding out the bite. They complement each other well. My experience with chimichurri sauce isn’t extensive, but I taste oregano and parsley to a large extent and garlic to a lesser one. That’s chimichurri, right? I was expecting to taste cilantro because the chimichurri sauces on my resume all contained it. Turns out most chimicurries don’t contain it. Shows what I know…
My History with Steak Rating: 10 out of 10
My History with Chimichurri Rating: 2 out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Lay’s Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala were also previously released not 3 months ago at Costco. No more sneaking past the Costco Security Guy for me; the chips finally achieve broad distribution for a limited time only. Tikka masala is a dish I know I love, but I still confuse it with every other Indian dish I’ve tried. I hope that doesn’t make me a racist. All I know is that tikka masala is excellent, and these chips do it justice.
Lay’s Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala are easily the most flavorful of the bunch. It tastes just like the real orange stuff: very creamy with savory tomatoes, sweet coconut cream, and complex spices of which I most easily recognized cumin. The chips are rich with spices without being spicy. If you enjoy tikka masala, you should love these chips. Another selling point is the superb crunch from being kettle cooked. Nothing beats kettle cooked. Except Wavy. Wavy beats kettle cooked.
As much as I really liked these chips, this is some complex shit. Lay’s Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala isn’t exactly mindless snacking. I’m grading them highly for achieving the flavor they set out to. What holds them back is repeatability, as in “these are difficult to eat repeatedly” and “these will probably repeat on me later tonight.”
Odds I Eat These Repeatedly Rating: 10 out of 10
Odds These Repeat On Me Later Tonight: They Already Have out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
Finally. I think I’ve submitted every single Chinese dish as a Lay’s Do Us A Flavor submission in the past. Chinese food is awesome, but sometimes I am too lazy to pick up a phone and have someone bring me food. Lay’s Chinese Szechuan Chicken fulfills my dream of having Chinese food that I can eat from a bag with my hands.
Haha, what idiot thought of this? Chinese Food as chips was destined for failure, and Lay’s Chinese Szechuan Chicken chips are proof. The seasoning is sweet from the start, drawing from the brown sugar. The transition to spice is a gradual one but where it lands was bolder than I was expecting. Layered underneath all of this is the saltiness of soy sauce. Sweet & salty & spicy. All of it together is just too much in my opinion.
I believe the flavors achieved by Lay’s Chinese Chicken Chips are true to szechuan sauce. I don’t really get a chicken vibe, and that’s probably for the best now that I spell it out with words. I just don’t think the sauce works well on potatoes.
Eating Chinese Food With Your Bare Hands Rating: 5 out of 10
Watching Your Dream Chips Fail Rating: 1 out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Lay’s Global Flavors are a strong showing by Lay’s with the exception of the Chinese Food chips that I once thought were a good idea. My personal favorite is the Wavy Greek Tzatziki. Do with that information what you will.
In summary, America gets the Gold Medal for weight gain.
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