‘Singapore Flavour’ Potato Chips

‘Singapore Flavour’ Potato Chips

And why not? Browse the potato chip section of your local convenience store and you will find a whole range of unusual and often downright bizarre flavours. Salted egg flavour, anyone? Salmon wasabi? Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding??

Not being able to resist most of these temptations, even if I only try them the once, there was no way I was not going to sample these Singapore Laksa and Hainanese Chicken Rice potato chips.

They are actually the brainchild of local company F.EAST (this stands for Flavours of the East) who were inspired to create chips based on hawker stall favourites, and apparently have a bunch of other Asian favourites in the pipeline.

I was planning to blind taste these to see if I could tell the flavours apart, but the smell and colour were an instant giveaway – for the laksa version at least. These are reddish coloured and give off a strong aroma of coconut and spice. As for the chicken rice version, although there is a hint of ginger and sesame, unfortunately these paled in comparison.

That said, I enjoyed both of these and will probably buy them again, if only to amuse visitors.

2 in 1 Potato Crisps

Top marks to whoever at Lays Thailand came up with this hilarious idea.

Helping you out with that tricky choice between favourite flavours of crisp, they have launched these 2 in 1 packs. Each contains a pair of tastes which complement each other nicely – one being the main event and the other the sauce.

There are just the 2 options at the moment, which I snapped up on sight on my latest trip to Bangkok.

My favourite was the grilled prawn with dipping sauce, as the tastes are quite distinct and go very well together. The crisps are even slightly different colours, so you can easily see which is which.

The steak and peppercorn sauce variety was less successful, in that I could not tell the crisps apart either by flavour or colour, but they still tasted nice and I was happy to finish the pack.

It will be fun to see if they come up with any new combinations, and since the small packets cost a paltry 10 Baht each, I will be ready to try them all!


Crazy Crisps

I admit, I cannot resist the temptation of some new and unusual flavour, however unlikely it may seem. Hence the taste test of these decidedly crazy crisps whilst daughters #1 and #2 were visiting.

Surprisingly, considering these came from either Thailand or China, they were far less challenging to our taste buds than some of my previous purchases have been.

I was most hopeful of the untranslateable packet, which seemed to promise the flavour of that amazing Thai snack where you parcel bits of onion, lime, garlic, peanut, chilli and dried shrimp into a leaf to eat as you are studying the menu. Sadly, those proved to be oddly sweet, and could have done with a lot more chilli if they were to resemble the real thing.

The scallop flavour was also a disappointment, with barely a sniff of actual scallop and unpleasantly buttery overtones.

The squid variety won universal approval, though – nicely spicy, just enough of a fishy flavour to make it tasty without being overpowering. We agreed we’d probably buy that one again.

As for the cucumber crisps, they were decidedly bizarre. Daughter #1 thought the cucumber taste was interesting, but felt they were too sweet, and might work better with sweet potato crisps. Daughter #2 found them “not unpleasant but a bit weird…” and suggested they might go well with a g+t as an aperitif snack. I really did not like them at all.

Still, you have to try these things!

Chocolate Covered Crisps

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I’m really not sure what I think of this idea. I like crisps, I like chocolate, but together..?

But they seem to be very popular in Japan, where you can buy a range of different variations on the theme, from cheap snacks in little tubs from the convenience stores, to expensive boxes from upmarket brands, to actual takeout portions freshly prepared at stalls in trendy shopping districts.

At the bottom end of the scale are Jaga Choco chips in small pots with a peel-off lid. They could be worse, but the chocolate is very poor quality and there isn’t really very much of it so the taste is predominantly potato with just a hint of chocolate.

A more polished product comes from Royce, a Hokkaido based confectionary firm that has been operating since 1983 and now has branches in 18 countries outside Japan. They offer chocolate covered potato chips in regular, caramel, and cheese flavoured white chocolate variations, all of which seem to be best sellers. The tagline on these products reads: ‘by breaking down old customs and producing consistently original items, we are pursuing a new level in chocolate enjoyment’.

Well, Hokkaido is famous for both its potatoes and dairy products, so I guess it makes sense to try putting them together. In this case, the chocolate is top quality and thick enough to hold its own against the potato. It’s still a bit of an odd combination for a western palate, but these are not unpleasant.

The best place to buy them is at Sapporo’s New Chitose airport, where there is also a Royce Chocolate World mini factory and museum as well as ample opportunity to shop.

Back in Tokyo, in particular on teen haven Takeshita dori, you can satisfy your craving for chocolate chips at several stalls where the hot crisps come topped with molten chocolate sauce and ice cream  – but be prepared to queue!

Finally, also spotted in Japan (but left on the shelf…) not just crisps with a chocolate coating but shrimp flavoured potato sticks, from Calbee. This was simply a taste sensation too far!

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Sweet Pringles

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What were they thinking?

I saw these ‘butter caramel’ Pringles in Seoul and could not believe my eyes, then saw them again in Singapore alongside the ‘sweet mayo cheese’ version.

There is no way to be polite about them – fake butter flavour, horrible sweet taste… they were completely revolting.