REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

Goddamn, I really wanted to like you. I wanted to praise you to Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and tell all my friends how good you were. I patiently waited to open up your bag as you already had me at “Kettle Cooked.” You had me at KETTLE COOKED dammit!!! I love the crunch that quickly shatters into delicious crumbles. Being kettle cooked is the only way to make a potato do that.

I also love wasabi flavored snacks, including that hard to find Lindt chocolate bar. Akin to a big, boisterous and caring aunt who keeps telling you to eat more because you’re so skinny (but you’re not) or how much of a grown man you look in your tie (even in a bolo tie?), wasabi is loud and imposing. It makes its presence known as your nasal flares slightly then tempers down to a sweet cooing.

As for ginger, I love all forms of it except the ubiquitous pickled stuff that comes with sushi. I find the shades that range from the opaque hues of a cadaver to the neon rose on a Hypercolor t-shirt are as awful as the sometimes soapy unpleasant taste pickled ginger imparts. However, I was excited because the vinegary-pickled ginger could play off well as an Asian-tinged Salt & Vinegar chip.

So what went wrong? Was it my high expectations? Was it the excitement of another Lay’s Do Us a Flavor competition? Was it the bourbons and binge viewings of Community? Either way, I was let down in a manner that rivaled the time when my father told the family that my younger brother was his favorite son. Shades of Thanos’ family, I will seek my revenge…eventually.

Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips Closeup

The flavor, inspired by Meneko Springer McBeth, makes sense and probably on Earth-616, the flavor profile would be as normal as sour cream and onion. A quick read-through of her bio shows she’s as normal as anyone: a married registered nurse with three daughters (presumably cute and well-mannered). She has an “affinity for spicy flavors” and loves sushi. Her fun fact is that “The Clearance Queen” is her nickname because she always hunts down the best bargains. She sounds like someone I could ask the time and not be scared of being maced or threatened with undeserved violence involving an ice pick.

Letting me down is one thing, but why let down nice and normal Meneko Springer McBeth who just wants to find good bargains? Is being budget conscious enough to damn an innocent soul, Lay’s?

I should have known it when I opened the bag, only to smell the roasty and pleasantly fried scent of kettle chips. Don’t misunderstand me, the chips smelled great. But when you’re saying there’s wasabi and it was bereft of the pungent horseradishy blast…well, that let me down a lot. I can only compare it to smelling a grilled thick cut steak with pieces of garlic embedded and you can’t smell any of the aromatics.

If that wasn’t sad enough, besides being seen with your nose in a bag of chips as if you were sniffing a fine cognac, the chips tasted just mundane. I was also glad I bought the small convenience store version because I would likely feed the rest to the ducks and they would get hyperlipidemia.

The bag promised wasabi and ginger, but the wasabi was so faint and the ginger was non-existent. The only prevalent taste I could discern was a soy sauce flavor and the onion powder.

Lay's Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips Closeup 2

I ate a handful Cookie Monster-style to see if the flavors would be stronger. It wasn’t and all I tasted initially was the ghostly vinegar kick that was more like a shuffle. The wasabi was too lazy to even nod a “hey” to me and I believe a thousand Japanese mobsters cut off their index fingers in shame.

The chips did have a well-rounded saltiness to them and the soy sauce gave off a sweetness that channeled the highly sought umami factor. I’m so depressed now that I think I’m just filling up words in this review so it looks like I am actually working instead of being as lazy as the wasabi and ginger in these chips.

I don’t know what Meneko Springer McBeth did to make Lay’s so angry. For God’s sakes, she even reported that she loves spicy foods and all they could eke out was something as spicy as Mr. Rogers eating a banana. I’m torn because I want this flavor to exist, but I don’t want it to win because of the flat flavor Lay’s has given it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz/about 18 chips – 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 350 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 2 7/8 oz bag
Purchased at: RaceTrac
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: The texture is really nice, crisp with that audible crunch. The sweetness of the soy sauce is nice. Nurses, be kind to them cause’ they work hard and aren’t given a lot of credit, yo. The chips are well seasoned, the goldilocks zone of salt. Earth-616.
Cons: The wasabi couldn’t deliver because it was faint. The ginger couldn’t stand up because it was just as faint. The onion powder and soy sauce overwhelmed the chip. Earth-8101.

13 thoughts on “REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips

  1. My friend brought over 3 bags: this, the cappuccino, and the mango salsa. This was by far the best. We both agreed it was tasty due to its traces of flavors similar to sushi.

  2. I also wanted this flavor to exist, but it sounds as though they wussed out on the “flavor” side of it. It is a great concept, but Lay’s seems to have failed at implementing it. This was the only one of their new flavors that I was really looking forward to, and now, all my hopes have been dashed. ;-)

    1. I personally think they are the best of the group and the only one I enjoyed enough to finish the bag. I agree that they flavor of the wasabi and ginger take too much of a back seat, but they are in it enough to make the experience pleasant for people who enjoy wasabi and ginger and those who may be on the fence. I think they sit about a 5/10 in my book. Being the only flavor I may actually buy again.

  3. I bought a bag and agree with your impressions that the wasabi and ginger flavors were much too mild. These chips would have been better if there was simply more of the flavor used since it was pretty tasty.

    Why was Lay’s stingy with the flavor? Were they simply being cheap or did they think people wouldn’t like the chips if they had a more pronounced flavor? Do people like bland chips?

  4. I tried these too and found myself eating more in hopes of a bigger flavor. They tasted like I was smelling wasabi if that makes sense. If you want good horseradish chips I suggest reviewing Trader Joes horseradish and cheddar ripple cut chips. Good lord! Best thing ever! EVER!

  5. I must have gotten an unusual bag then since I thought it the chips I had were very well seasoned and it was awesome. There was plenty of horseradishy bite to them and I like spicy foods a lot. The ginger was also very prevalent with a hit of soy sauce flavor behind it all.

    The cappuccino flavor I got was not flavored very strongly though so maybe there is a consistency problem flavor powder applicator at the factories!

  6. I really hate Lays chips but I actually thought these were pretty good. I think the wasabi flavor is on point. I don’t really get a ginger taste though.

  7. Wow I’m surprised by this review. When I tried this flavor, it turned out to be one of my favorite Lay’s flavors ever. They were surprisingly delicious. My only complaint about them is that the wasabi “punch” was a bit weak.

  8. Glad to see you gave these an overall good review, but … FAINT? I seriously think you got a bad batch. When I opened my first bag of these I could smell the wasabi from a mile away, and the taste practically exploded in my mouth. I loved them. Besides, I think it should have been expected that Lay’s would have adjusted the “heat” of the wasabi for American palates. Most Americans don’t care much for foods that “burn” the way wasabi and some mustards do. So that may explain the faintness of the flavors that you expected to be stronger. Great review!

  9. In the defense of Lay’s, I would have to say that wasabi is not readily available here in the US like horseraddish is. These chips were the best out of all of them (I didn’t even bother trying the Cappuccino-flavored ones). The Mango Salsa chips were actually a bigger disappointment because I got very little mango or salsa flavor. The Bacon Mac & Cheese was a close second to these Wasabi Ginger chips.

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