What are Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips?
The Louisiana-based company invoked New Orleans voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau to inspire the newest flavor of its famous kettle style potato chips: a subtly hot, Cajun-spiced flavor.
How are they?
I was excited to try Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips for a couple of reasons:
First, the brand’s parent company, Utz of Hanover, is based in my home state of Pennsylvania, and we Pennsylvanians take our potato chips very seriously. (I have vivid memories of a first-grade field trip to Troyer Farms, where our class observed potato chip production under the watchful eye of the brand’s charming farmer mascot.)
Second, I can’t resist the novelty of snacks inspired by spooky lore.
Zapp’s Evil Eye chips are heavily–although unevenly–powdered with red seasoning. The aggressive color, similar to a “Flamin’ Hot” anything, is misleading, though, as the first taste yielded a sweet, tangy tomato flavor that brought to mind one word: ketchup. As I ate, the flavor grew rounder, with notes of vinegar, onion and garlic, and a paprika-dominant Cajun spice mixture. Hints of cayenne and black pepper contribute some heat, which slowly builds and ranges from subtle to mild, but noticeable.
As the spice level fluctuates, the tomato flavor is squarely in the foreground until everything fades in the aftertaste to a vague onion flavor. After the initial ketchup taste becomes more complex, the flavor profile is like what would happen if you combined a barbeque chip with a Salsa Ranchera Tostito.
Meanwhile, the texture is everything you would want from a kettle style chip: thick, hearty, and crunchy without an oily feeling or aftertaste. Zapp’s products are cooked in 100% pure peanut oil, which apparently contributes to the characteristic crunch.
I needed to taste at least five chips before I decided that, yes, I like Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips. I needed several more bites to figure out why, ultimately deciding that I owe my enjoyment to the fact that these chips taste different from any other salty snack I’ve eaten. The tomato-forward flavor will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely makes for an interesting, easy-to-eat bite.
Is there anything else you need to know?
Although its website offers smaller-sized packages, I could only find a 9-ounce “party size” bag in-store. Zapp’s must anticipate that its customers will enjoy Evil Eye chips at Super Bowl or Mardi Gras parties. But if you are like me and do not celebrate either, beware not of the evil eye, but the danger of reaching into the depths of the enormous bag and gradually coating your sleeves with red dust.
Zapp’s Evil Eye Potato Chips deliver a perfect texture and unique seasoning blend that skews heavy on tomato and light on Cajun spice. I enjoyed the flavor profile immensely, but if you are looking for intense heat, the evil eye is not on your side.
Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 oz/about 20 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein