Potato chips are a versatile snack – I think everyone can agree with that. They can come in all kinds of tasty flavors, and they vary according to where in the world you are. But there’s good variety and downright weird variety…and in this list, we’re celebrating the downright weird. From woodland animals to flavors that would be more at home in a yogurt, there’s a little bit of everything in this list. Prepare to have your stomach lightly turned, and your senses befuddled by our Top 10 Most Bizarre Flavors of Potato Chips.
10. Cheese Lobster
Mmm…lobster! Food of the upper classes, quality on a plate. Something to be savored, lingered over and enjoyed. Or maybe something to use for a flavoring for a cheap bag of potato chips. Still, that’s not too weird, until you mix it with cheese. Yes, cheese lobster flavor – available from Lays in China. If the very idea isn’t weird enough, take a look at the packaging – the lobster seems to almost be enjoying being bathed in the plastic-looking sauce, even though it’s scalding him. A little light sado-machicism with your snack? Apparently it’s a “classic great taste” but I, for one, am not hurrying to try it.
9. Baked Bean
Now, if your flavoring had an unfortunate bodily-function connotation, you’d try and play it down, wouldn’t you? As every British schoolchild knows “Beans, beans good for the heart…the more you eat the more you fart”…it’s not exactly appetizing, is it? So when Walkers brought out their new baked bean flavor in 2003, did they try and ignore the farting aspect? No, they celebrated it. Each packet came with a free whoopee cushion, for playing hilarious fart-related gags.
It was all in aid of Comic Relief, a British comedy event that raises money for developing countries by encouraging the general public to do bizarre and wacky things. Like ride a unicycle while carrying a custard pie. Or wear all their clothes backwards. Or sit in a bath full of baked beans. Is it all starting to make sense now? The actual crisps tasted of nothing much, but the charity aspect helped to push sales, and soon Walkers-branded whoopee cushions were everywhere!
I once tried to make a kiwi cheesecake. It didn’t work. The kiwi curdled the cream and it tasted revolting. But probably not as revolting as this next entry on our list – Lay’s kiwi flavor chips. Apparently “kiwi crisps” are a delicacy in some parts of the world – you cut a kiwi into thin slices and then crisp it up – but this is not the same. These are regular potato chips, which someone decided to flavor by using a kiwi.
You may have already guessed that this is another Chinese product. This time, the selling point is that kiwi is “natural and cool”. Well, maybe if you crushed it up and put it in a smoothie it would be, but on chips? There is nothing natural about that, and I very much doubt it’s cool either. The same range also has a blueberry option, a fruit which really does taste better in a cheesecake!
7. Builder’s Breakfast
Another flavor with slightly unappetizing connotations. Builders in Britain are not well known for their breakfasts. There’s “builders’ tea” (a derogatory term for a standard cup of PG Tips) and there’s “builders’ bottom” (when someone’s pants are riding a bit low) but breakfasts? No. There’s a farmhouse breakfast, with fresh eggs, home-slaughtered bacon etc…but the creator of this flavor, one Emma Rushin, obviously got all these elements confused as she produced the builder’s breakfast flavor for the Walkers’ “Do Us a Flavour” competition in 2008 – where six bizarre new variations battled it out to become a permanent line. The Builder’s Breakfast won, but was discontinued in 2010 as Walkers launched a new competition. Obviously, eating chips like a builder never really caught on with the British public.
6. Haggis and Cracked Pepper
Now this is a delicacy indeed – the stuffed stomach of a cow, with a nice bit of pepper on top. Haggis may be the national dish of Scotland, but it’s a brave person indeed that takes it on. So, why not experience that great, intestine-y taste in potato chip format? That’s what Mackies of Scotland will help you do, with their “distinctively Scottish” haggis flavor, which they say is “moreish” It may taste perfectly pleasant, and may never have been anywhere near anything’s digestive system, but it’s kind of hard to shift the mental image, isn’t it? Still, if you’re wanting a distinctively Scottish experience, this might be the easiest way of doing it!
5. Ham and Pickle
From a typically Scottish dish to a typically English one…or is it? Anyone who picked up a packet of these Brannigan’s Ham and Pickle potato chips might be forgiven for thinking it’s just English eccentricity. But no, Ham and Pickle is not really a thing. Cheese and Pickle, yes. Ham with other things, yes. But with pickle? No.
It was a slightly odd mix, but it was preferable to its brother flavor Beef and Mustard, which were actually painful to eat because the mustard flavoring was so strong. They didn’t taste of anything in particular but there was an afterburn you didn’t forget in a hurry. An eccentric range certainly , but not a typically English one. They aren’t widely available in British shops any more, but wholesale boxes are doing a roaring trade on ebay.
4. Cucumber and Goats
When you think of all the distinctive flavors in the world, which vegetable springs to mind? The watery blandness of a cucumber? No, thought not! Yet, Lays decided that cucumber would be a great addition to their range in China (see above), to complement the blueberry and kiwi in the “cool & refreshing” range.
But there’s a more bizarre variation still. There’s a flavor in Belgium called Cucumber and Goats. While it initially summons up entertaining visions of Lays’ workers trying to herd whole goats into the packets, the reality is sadly disappointing. It seems that it’s another apostrophe that has been mislaid on the journey to English, along with the last word. It should be Goats’ Cheese. But I think the concept of watery, tasteless crisps infused with the hairy essence of unco-operative goat is far more entertaining.
3. Chilli and Chocolate
Things are getting a little odd from here on. And in third place, we have another competitor from that Walkers’ “Do Us a Flavour” promotion. Chilli and chocolate are an uncomfortable mix at best, but I can see that a nice bar of very dark chocolate, infused with a bit of chilli could work. But to then translate that already weird experience to a bag of potato chips? Wrong in so many ways. Chips and chilli work fine together, chocolate and chilli can work, as discussed. But all three?
The inventor, Catherine Veitch defended her creation, saying “Chilli and chocolate might sound like a crazy idea for a crisp, but the combination is actually scrumptious. Spicy heat with a cocoa kick!” The public respectfully disagreed and the innovative flavor lost out to Builder’s Breakfast.
2. Pepsi and Chicken
We’re back in China for another crazy flavor of Lays. It’s Pepsi and chicken! While it might sound stomach-turning, it’s actually not such a strange idea – after all, cooking meat in soda is starting to catch on. Caramelizing chicken wings in Pepsi is a common occurrence in Chinese cooking, which makes sense as they often combine sweet flavors with meaty ones. The advert plays on this, with a man rushing out to buy Pepsi for his girlfriend, only for her to pour it all over the chicken wings she’s cooking.
So, it all makes sense, but still…I challenge you to look at that packet, with greasy-looking chicken wings being dunked into a nice glass of Pepsi. Can you really look at it and not feel a little bit nauseous? Thought not! Don’t worry, you’re not alone….!
1. Cajun Squirrel
And the last one from that infamous flavor competition, here’s how to give a snack that hint of roadkill – Cajun Squirrel! The whole thing was bewildering – Walkers said that “no squirrels were harmed in the making of this crisp”, which suggests that they somehow synthetically recreated the taste of squirrel. But how did they know what it tasted like without harming any? Surely the whole thing wasn’t just attention-grabbing, was it? They probably surmised that it tasted like chicken, so used that as a base before smothering it with cajun spices to make it actually taste of something.