Walkers, a potato crisp (chip) manufacturer in the U.K. (think Lay's) makes a line of flavors just for the World Cup. As the New Times Broward-Palm Beach noted a few years ago, "The special chips celebrate different countries with unique, international chip 'flavours.'" Some of the flavors included among Walkers' 2010 World Cup Chips demonstrate the worst kind of starch confusion: Spanish Chicken Paella, Italian Spaghetti Bolognese, and French Garlic Baguette. But perhaps the craziest of all? Australian BBQ Kangaroo. A dingo stole my potato crisp.
There's a special category of crazy potato chip flavors, a Twilight Zone of sorts. Let's call it "Incongruous Chip Flavors in the Land of the Lost" — these are "flavors" created with the help of geography and nonexistent culinary icons associated with that place. Take for instance, Pringles' New Yorker's Street Cheese Dog potato chips. New Yorker's Street Dirty Water Dog-flavored potato chips? Yes. New Yorker's Sauerkraut Dirty Water Dog on Stale Bun-flavored chips? Yes. But cheese dogs? No. Same with Pringles' Grand Canyon French Fries. Because there's a famous fry place at the bottom of the canyon by the Colorado River, didn't you know? People risk their lives hiking down there to get those fries. Don't even get started on Pringles' Las Vegas Spareribs potato chips — special Vegas buffet heat lamp flavor.
"Chocolate and chile is not crazy," you're saying. "That's not a ridiculous flavor. If you were educated then you'd know that this is a long-treasured, sophisticated flavor pairing that goes back to the Aztecs." Sure, sweet and savory, everyone knows about how great the chocolate and fried potato thing is. But really, you need a whole line of potato chips flavored with chocolate? We highly doubt the Aztecs flavored their potato chips with chocolate, too.
Pringles' Tropical Chicken potato chips beg the question: What exactly is Tropical Chicken flavor? Are we talking jerk or garam masala? Are these jerk chicken potato chips or butter chicken potato chips? Excuse me.. um, over here... anyone?
Pringles' Seaweed Potato Chips. Yes, seaweed snacks are eaten all across Asia — little kids on playgrounds in Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo open up little plastic packets of seaweed strips during recess for tasty snacks. And seaweed's pretty much just salty flavor, so they're probably pretty tasty. But then again, seaweed is supposed to look green. Potato chips not so much.
Doritos Crab Cream Gratin Pizza, also not technically a potato chip, but definitely an assembly of several unholy flavors. But who knows, it probably tastes amazing.
You say Marmite Yeast Extract Crisps and you're likely to get a strong reaction from people. Hey, maybe the crisps make the thick, sticky brown paste taste better. One can only hope.
It's always good to expand your horizons — sample the flavors and culinary icons of different countries. You never know what you might like. Who knows? Like some others, you might just find yourself falling in love with the amazing flavor of Lay's Hot and Sour Fish Soup-Flavored Potato Chips. Foil-packed fish flavor on a potato chip. Right. Maybe they're good... or maybe you should just go get a bowl of soup.
OK, technically not a potato chip, but remember the good old days of Doritos Late Night: Tacos at Midnight? For all those times you wanted tacos at midnight but couldn't bother with assembling all the ingredients or getting in the car to head for the Taco Bell drive-thru? Well, here's an additional late-night option, one that does one better by adding "All-Nighter" flavor. That's right, Doritos Late Night All-Nighter Cheeseburger-Flavored Tortilla Chips pack all the flavors of cheese, ketchup, onions, pickles, beef, and buns into individual tortilla chips.
What could possibly be the ingredients that convey a late-night all-nighter cheeseburger you ask? Onion and garlic powder, Cheddar, Swiss, mustard seed powder, and "natural flavors" (including natural beef flavor). The late-night all-nighter flavor (Does that mean it's meant to taste like it's been sitting out under a heat lamp all night or that it's the kind of burger you crave when you're pulling an all-nighter — a little clarification, please?) must come from the corn maltodextrin and monosodium glutamate.
Did you miss out on last year's list of ridiculous chips? Click here to check out 2011's 10 Crazy Potato Chip Flavors.
OK, not that a potato chip is going to really taste like a cucumber (right, a cucumber... oh, wait, there's a cucumber potato chip you say?), but pickle-flavored potato chips actually sound pretty tasty. Not content with Lay's Dill Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips, Herr's Creamy Dill Pickle Potato Chips, or Old Dutch Dill Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips, the market demanded something with more pickle flavor, extreme pickle flavor. And thus was born Pringles' Xtreme Screamin' Dill Pickle flavor. Scream, pickle! Scream!