Ketchup is so ubiquitous that I sometimes forget what it tastes like, if that makes any sense. You see I associate it with hot dogs, fries or hamburgers and rather than realizing the essence of ketchup, I’m recalling the taste of those foods instead. I know it sounds crazy but if you think about it, we attach the condiment with other foods and not the ketchup itself.
So in preparation for this review, I ate a spoonful of ketchup (or “catsup” if you are a derelict). I never realized how sweet it is, nor could I appreciate the tanginess of the vinegar because I was focused more on the burger or the oozing cheese on the meat.
Don’t get me wrong, ketchup is just as important to a hamburger as much as the quality of the beef. It’s like a letterer of a comic book, the person who does the word balloons and sound effects. That component is just as vital and needed but you’re really focused on the art.
Well, ketchup is finally the star courtesy of Lay’s but in a backhanded move, it’s spicy ketchup. Poor tomato based sauce. Like my Real Ghostbusters collection, you still cannot get the respect that you deserve.
Ketchup chips have been around for some time. I remember first encountering them when I took off to Manchester, England. You see, I should I have been studying the rules against perpetuities in Property Law (these are the people that say catsup by the way) but that’s so boring.
“What is this? Walkers Tomato Ketchup crisps???” I shouted in the supermarket. “Roast Chicken, they have freakkking roast chicken chips too?” Then I belted out an obnoxious laugh and like an idiot, pointed at things like wine gums and spotted dicks to the anger of my English girlfriend. I was sad I never bought a package of ketchup chips and have always regretted it.
Lay’s themselves brought the Ketchup flavor to the Canadians which topped their previous culinary accomplishment, the introduction of Nadia G (I kid, I kid). So it was in great anticipation from the aisle to the drive home that I ripped open the bag immediately and tried one. I’m not a fan of normal Lay’s because I always felt the chips were too thin, but they are always crispy and it’s ketchup!
I was not disappointed. The aroma swirling was akin to pouring ketchup on a sizzling burger. It is that familiar sweet and slightly sour vinegar smell that infiltrates your nostrils at a cookout as you swat at annoying mosquitos.
The red blotches on the insides of the bag were scary. It triggered a fear of the inevitable puberty discussion my wife will probably take care of when and if we have a daughter. They looked oily but when I reluctantly touched them, it was what I call flavor dust (you know like the powdery remnants from Doritos or Cheetos?). These chips were, in fact, not at all greasy.
The first chip was similar to a salt and vinegar chip without the salt and replaced by sugar. It was like a cousin of a barbecue chip, which is completely logical since some barbecue sauces are tomato based. It was initially unimpressive, but who only eats one chip?
As I ate a few more, I could taste the ketchup. There is a nice onion tang that comes up from behind making me wish I had a bottle of UFO White to rinse it down. These were so good. As weird as it sounds, these chips tasted better as I ate more and not because the flavors were emphasized as I grinded chip after chip…the flavors actually developed.
I was also amazed by the heat that hung around. I could taste the jalapeño in these chips and not of the canned pickled variety. Tasting a nice bit of the pepper which doesn’t overwhelm is rare and pleasant. I can also say the level of spiciness is tolerable, like a stick of Big Red chewing gum (and if you can’t handle that, you probably say “catsup”).
The only negative thing I can say is the shade of these potato chips. They look like chips colored by a burnt sienna crayon, which is not appealing to me. However, it is the flavor that counts.
Having a penchant for spicy foods, I understand why Lay’s made these spicy. It balances the sweet tomato perfectly and is necessary. The pepper contrasts the sweet vinegar and prevents it from getting boring. I can imagine eating ketchup chips sans jalapeño would start to get bland to my taste buds.
I’m enjoying the fact Lay’s has been introducing some interesting varieties as of late. It was worth the wait despite my actions at that innocent Sainsbury’s supermarket in cloudy, murky industrial Manchester.
As of this writing, the spice is still lingering on my tongue enjoyably even though I ate my last chip five minutes ago. I hope Frito-Lay keeps pumping out Spicy Ketchup because I love them. I cannot even come up with a hokey, snide or jackass tinged pompous line to end this. I simply lurrrve these. Must. Buy. Must. Eat. Don’t. Say. Catsup.
(Nutrition facts – 1 ounce/about 17 chips – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Other Lay’s Spicy Ketchup reviews:
Fatguy Food Blog
Item: Lay’s Spicy Ketchup Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 10 ounces
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like ketchup. The heat is complimentary and tolerable. UFO White if you can find it. Sweet, vinegary and spicy, what is not to love. Nadia G., I’m addicted to her show.
Cons: The color of red kryptonite on my food is scary. My behavior in that supermarket. Who says catsup? I loathe that word. Rules Against Perpetuities.