Potato chip alchemy is nothing new. Our favorite company for addictive salty snacks has taste-tested some downright weird seasonings in the past including Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese, Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, and Chicken and Waffles. Basically, if Lay’s can think of a complex dish with a lot of flavors and textures, they’ll try to distill it into a single potato chip somehow.
The same is true of their latest endeavor, the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor campaign, which aims to showcase different tastes from all across America. One winner will continue to exist in our hearts and stomachs, while the rest will disappear into obscurity, living on only as a fleeting memory on sponsored Buzzfeed posts. This is the third year of the contest, with this year’s winner destined to join Cheesy Garlic Bread and Wasabi Ginger in the annals of chip immortality (at least until the grocery store needs to stock something else on that shelf).
When I walked into a convenience store looking for my own favorite Lay’s flavor—Barbecue, in case anyone was stumped on a present to get me for my birthday—I saw this year’s contest flavors and knew I’d been given a new mission in life. I had to taste ALL of these new offerings to determine the future of our nation’s snacks. Out of the four available choices, which are Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, and New York Reuben, I decided to start with the Truffle Fries and bought a bag right away. Here’s what I discovered.
Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries Review
Smell: I made a mistake in taking a big whiff of the bag right after opening it. Truffle oil has a strong, potent smell, and it’ll knock you on your ass if you aren’t prepared for it. These chips smelled rank and nauseating, but they can’t rightly be blamed since wild truffles are, after all, a fungus. Just keep your nose away from the bag is all I’m recommending.
Look: Lay’s totally made the right call on picking the wavy texture for their truffle fry option. The chips are handsome, green flecks dressing up a plain chip for something that would look great on any snack table at your next party.
Taste: I’ve traditionally had good experiences with truffle-flavored snacks, namely popcorn, as it’s already addictively edible at the movies and only improved with a more sophisticated seasoning instead of whatever “movie theater butter” is (please don’t actually tell me). My first reaction when I bit into one of these chips was repulsion, but then as my tongue adjusted to the surprise of the flavor I realized the chip was actually pretty good—salty and oily in a seductive way that beckoned you forward for more. The next few chips were addictive and tasty but halfway into the personal-size bag I started to feel ill and had to stop. The chips are oily and heavy and before long you’ll regret eating them.
Verdict: These chips were a roller coaster of emotions, the final stop on the ride being “I feel gross.” Truffle oil chips are a strong concept that would probably be excellent at the hands of a skilled chef but are sickening and overdone here. Let’s hope the other flavors in the contest have more staying power.
Post and Photos by Bailey James.