One of the things Lon and I love to do when we travel is check out the local supermarkets. In particular, the potato chip aisle, where we’re always bound to find new and unexpected flavors. (Remember the Paprika chips and the Olive Oil chips we found in Greece? or the Magic Masala chips from India?) It’s totally a cultural learning experience, seeing what flavors sell in different countries. I thought I was going to have to scavenger hunt on my own in London since Lon wasn’t with me. I should have guessed that my friend Angie does the same thing so the two of us stockpiled chips every day and even in the airport while we waited for our flight. We looked like two bag-ladies coming off the plane bounding up to Lon and showing him our bounty.

It seems that the English like meat flavored chips, something we don’t see in the states often, even though America seems to love meat. I picked up two different Roast Chicken flavors, one with thyme. The plain Walkers Roast Chicken actually really tastes like roast chicken which didn’t work out for us. We thought it was a strange potato chip flavor. The Roast Chicken & Thyme didn’t really taste like chicken. It was just a chip with a weird muskiness to it.

Roast Chicken Roasted Chicken & Thyme

I’m going to categorize Mexican Chili in meat because it’s usually meat, though it can be made vegetarian. This tasted like a good hearty ridge cut potato chip with Mexican Chili spices sprinkled on. Good, but not super special.

Mexican Chili

The Bacon Rashers, though not a true potato chip, was the clear winner in this category. They are very bacon-y up front starting from the aroma as soon as you pop the bag. They end with strong corn flavor that helps reset you for the next one.

Bacon rashers bag Bacon rashers

The Flame Grilled Steak was another weird one with a lot of flame grilled aroma but doesn’t taste like steak.

Salt & Malt Vinegar, Flame Grilled Steak

Though Salt & Vinegar chips have made their way into the hearts of Americans, there’s a bit more variety on vinegar in London. I found a Salt & Malt Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar & Caramelized Onions, and Worcester Sauce. The Sat & Malt Vinegar was very vinegary but I don’t detect any malt. It’s still good but not as good as the other two.

The Balsamic Vinegar & Caramelized Onion tastes like a sweeter vinegar, makes sense, with a sweet onion flavor. It’s delicious!! I’m going to lump the Worcester Sauce into the vinegar category because it’s very vinegary in flavor and quite potent so some loved and some didn’t. If you get past the strength of it, you’ll notice a hint of caramel.

Balsamic Veingar & Caramelised Onion Worcester Sauce

Down to the last two with some spice, these may be similar to flavors you can find in the U.S. but there is a distinct difference. Most noticeably is that these UK versions are less sweet. The Sensations Thai Sweet Chili has a good, smoky flavor and nice heat, but it never burns. The Tyrrell’s Sweet Chili and Red Pepper tastes as flavor as described with medium heat. My problem is that the chips are inconsistently salted and flavored, some lightly dusted and some doused so heavily.

Thai Sweet Chili Sweet Chili & Red Pepper

We also got some plain chips, cheese and onion flavors, the “regulars” to help us compare. Overall, the chips in London have shorter ingredient lists if you look at the back of these bags. There is less chemical interference and they end up tasting lighter. Walkers which also makes Sensations are actually Lays, re-branded for the UK, yet the Walkers/Sensations products taste better than the Lays in the States. The McCoy’s are all produced in the UK and have many more unique flavors that we didn’t find while we were there. The Tyrrell’s hand cooked potato chips are also produced in the UK. Tesco is a supermarket brand also headquartered in the UK, though products may not be produced there.

Next time you travel, make sure to check out the potato chips!

posted by jessica at 09:43 AM Filed under Products, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.