Ranking The Three Fan Created Flavored Lay’s Potato Chips

It took me long enough but I finally achieved something that took me six months to do: Try all three of the fan invented Lay’s potato chips. I am sure most of you know what I am talking about. About a year ago, Lay’s asked via social media for its fans to submit new flavor ideas for potato chips. After countless suggestions from America and lots of scrutiny from the company to narrow down the field, three flavors emerged: Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, and Sriracha. All three chip flavors would be available on a trial basis and fans would vote for their favorite flavor. The chip with the most votes would become a permanent flavor. I got way more excited than anyone should over an announcement about potato chips and I couldn’t wait to buy a bag of each and do some serious snacking.

However, my initial plan got a little delayed. Believe me, I wanted to chow down on each flavor sooner than later but it was as if it was not meant to be. I simply could never find them on the shelves. One particular day I went to four different places to try to find them, only to be disappointed. About five months ago I did get my hand on a bag of the Sriracha chips. However, it took until this past week for me to try the Cheesy Garlic Bread ones. When my girlfriend brought the chips over and it said on the bag that the Cheesy Garlic Bread snack won the fan voted competition, I just assumed that the non-victorious other two flavors were discontinued and I would never get to try the Chicken & Waffles chips, the one snack that I was really hoping to try.

Imagine my sheer excitement and surprise when I walked into Safeway after work on Friday and I saw a display with ALL three flavors abundantly stacked right in front of my eyes AND on sale! I grabbed the Chicken & Waffle bag and pretty much sped home to try them.

For this post I want to quickly rank and review the three different flavored chips. I can definitely say that the actual taste of the chips contrasted completely with my initial judgments on the ones I thought I would like best before trying them. Starting with the best chip and ending with the worst chip, here we go!

I finally tried all three. Now time to rank them.

I finally tried all three. Now time to rank them.

#1: Cheesy Garlic Bread – I completely understand why America voted this chip its favorite. The Cheesy Garlic Bread chip was very flavorful and enjoyable to eat. It also was by far the one flavor out of the three that tasted like its natural flavor. No lie here, eating a Cheesy Garlic Bread chip tasted exactly like a piece of garlic bread right out of the basket.

#2: Sriracha – Naturally the Sriracha chips appealed to me because there is no other condiment in this world that I love as much as Sriracha. Maybe because of my undying devotion to the condiment I put higher expectations on the chips than I should have. With that said, I was not blown away by the Sriracha snack. I have two main issues with them: 1. They totally whiffed on getting the Sriracha flavor in the chips. I did not recognize the taste that I crave so much, not even to a small degree. To me, they just had a generic Doritos taste to them. 2. There was absolutely no heat to the chips. Even if the makers couldn’t capture the distinctive Sriracha flavor, I would have hoped that they would have made the chips spicy just because that is what Sriracha is all about. Nope. They are completely mild. I will take Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno chips over Lay’s Sriracha chips any day.

#3: Chicken & Waffles – Out of the three flavors I looked at this one and said “What a great idea! These should be fun to eat.” It took me forever to finally get my hands on a bag but let me say this, the wait was definitely not worth it. I was expecting to taste either chicken, waffles, or maple syrup but I couldn’t taste any of them. To me, the chips tasted like Top Ramen. The flavor to me was borderline repulsive and completely disappointing.

I don’t know how much longer the Sriracha & Waffles chips will be available, but if you do happen to find yourself in front of a display with all three flavors like I did on Friday, remember this: Buy the Cheesy Garlic Bread chips for a nice taste bud experience. If you want an average chip that is not very distinctive in flavor, give the Sriracha chips a try. Completely avoid the Chicken & Waffles chips.

Even though I didn’t enjoy each chip flavor, kudos to Lay’s for creating such a fun promotion. I got excited about the new products and my excitement translated into a purchase of each different flavor. Now pass me that bag of Cheesy Garlic Bread chips. Don’t Blink.

Sriracha Sauce

Growing up and continuing into adulthood, I have never cared much for condiments and sauces. To this day I hate the big three: ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. To me they taste, smell, and feel (texture wise) nasty. To be honest, I always get a little sickened when I see others indulging, and in many cases over indulging, in these types of add-ons.

But my dislike for condiments does not end with just the big three. I hate tartar, I pass on relish, I detest heavy dressings on my salads, I find nothing “special” with special sauce, sour cream sucks, and horseradish makes me gag. I dislike many of these condiments because they are messy, fattening, and unnecessary. Most of all though, I dislike them because I eat food for the flavor and most condiments detract from that flavor. What a waste.

However, there is one condiment that I have an undying love for. I could almost justify using it on most any type of non-sweet food. It is a type of sauce that my taste buds crave, that my nose can sniff out from a mile away, and that my eyes can immediately spot if it happens to be in any restaurant or house of a friend. To be completely fair, it is not like my eyes have hawk-like capabilities or anything, I mean it is pretty easy to notice a distinctively shaped bottle with a rooster on it filled with red goodness and topped with a bright green tip. Yes, I am talking about the best sauce known to humanity, Sriracha.

Myself with my one and only condiment, Sriracha

Myself with my one and only condiment, Sriracha

I must admit that even though I hate most condiment sauces, I have always enjoyed a good hot sauce. I am a lover of spicy foods and because of that personal attribute it is only natural that I would like hot sauces too. However, I didn’t know there was a hot sauce in a whole league of its own until I got to college and started finding Sriracha in the cafeteria line. I tried it and fell in love with it and from that point on I have always had Sriracha in my refrigerator. I do find it funny how I had never noticed or heard of the sauce before I tried it for the first time at The University of Montana, because, just like the phenomenon of never realizing how many people drive the car you do until you actually buy one, after I tasted Sriracha for the first time I saw it everywhere. I started immediately to see it in the supermarket aisles, at restaurants, on all the stands of the food wagons/trucks outside of the bars, and at the residences of my friends. This was of course just fine by me because the sauce was just simply so damn good.

Sriracha wins my praises for two reasons: it has amazing flavor and it packs the heat. Most hot sauces have a little bit of a sweet taste and aren’t true sauces…they are very liquidy (not a word but you get what I am saying). Sriracha on the other hand is thick, red, and has a bold, fresh taste. As you enjoy that one-of-a-kind taste, the spiciness of the sauce kicks in. While many hot sauces don’t even register as hot with me, Sriracha definitely does its job. Many times when I write these blog posts I see my hypocrisy come out. You see, above I said I dislike condiments because they detract from the true flavor of the food. But it is this reason why I like Sriracha so much, the flavor of it can at times overwhelm the flavor of my pizza, pasta, sandwich, etc. because I am savoring the sauce so much.

Sometimes I enjoy the sauce so much that I end up not enjoying it. Hopefully I didn’t lose you with that statement, let me explain. Many times I have sat down and ate something after dousing it with Sriracha. After the first bite or two I know I have put too much on and my mouth has started to burn a little but I don’t care. Instead of taking some off, I put even more on and continue to fuel the flames in my mouth. By the time I have finished whatever it was that I was eating I am sweating and my mouth is on fire. I tell myself that I was an idiot for putting so much on and for eating it so fast because I didn’t want the full force of the heat to catch up with me. But just an hour later my bitterness toward Sriracha is gone and I am looking forward to the next meal when I get to use it and turn into a sweaty mess again.

Sriracha does have a couple quirks to it. My roommate and I used to put bottles away of the stuff like the rooster on the bottle was about to stop producing it. We devoured so many containers of it that we started to notice something. Some of the bottles were hotter than others. We would label the bottle as a “hot one” if it did its job and sent our tongues to Hell for a few minutes. We would try to use up the not as hot bottles as soon as possible so we could go buy a better one. As time went on, we got very good at predicting if the bottle was going to be a “hot one” or not. You want to know the trick? The bottles that are filled with a sauce that is more bright red in color deliver a better kick. The bottles filled with a darker red sauce are more mild. Also, some foods bring out the spiciness of the sauce more than others. Foods that are temperature hot or that have another sauce in the original recipe (such as a pasta with marinara) always amplify the spiciness of the Sriracha.

If you want to limit yourself to one condiment, I strongly suggest you select Sriracha. I say this because many nutritionists say it is your best bet as well. Hot sauce causes people to usually eat less because of the burning sensation that accompanies the usage of it. People douse their food with a hot sauce and after they finish they usually don’t want seconds because they need to give their tongue a break. I am not making this up!

If you like hot sauce and you have not tried Sriracha, you have been living under a rock. But don’t feel bad! I lived under a rock for eighteen years before I discovered it. But in all seriousness, if you have not tried it yet, you need to go out and buy a bottle of it. Trust me, it is that good. Don’t spend your time and calories consuming yucky, unsatisfying condiments when you could be using Sriracha. Don’t Blink.