REVIEW: Ruffles Korean-Style Sweet & Spicy Chili Potato Chips

I’m not an envious person by nature. I don’t “yearn” for much. I try my best to be satisfied with what I have… but that all changes whenever I see the chip flavors they get over in Asia.

Before my Impulsive Buy days, I wanted to start a blog called, “Lay’s for Days,” where I’d seek out and try every crazy chip flavor from around the globe. In my delusional brain, I’d start by dropping a small fortune eBaying crazy flavors, and I’d get so popular that people would willingly send me bags to try.

Once I realized I no write no good and couldn’t even figure out Blogspot, the short-lived dream died.

Thankfully, the Frito-Lay corporation has slowly let some interesting flavors trickle out over the years, and it’s not impossible to find international releases if you know where to look.

Enter Korean-Style Sweet & Spicy Chili Ruffles, a chip with all the hallmarks I’ve been looking for. Asian-inspired flavors? Check. A super long, intriguing name? Check. RRRidges? Check! These have to be good, right?

Right. They’re pretty damn good.

Sweet chili is elite. It never fails. It should be a standard flavor across all snacks. If you like sweet chili, these are for you.

These have a heat level I’d put a tick below “Flamin’ Hot.” Props to them for ignoring the siren call and not slapping those two words on this bag like Frito-Lay seemingly does with everything else. Like an annoying guy describing Vegas, it’s a “dry heat” and tolerable, leaving a slight afterburn on the back of the tongue.

As I was eating and enjoying myself, I started to get nervous because I didn’t really know how to articulate the flavor. I don’t think my initial thought of, “This tastes like Asian food,” would’ve been kosher, literally or figuratively. I can’t condense an entire continent into one chip, but I sometimes have difficulty distinguishing international flavor.

These instantly tasted more Chinese-inspired. I’ve had more Chinese food than Korean food in my life, so maybe that played a role, but the spice profile just reminded me of a vague Chow Mein-style sauce you’d get slathered on some protein and vegetables. As I chomped on, I started to convince myself I might be tasting some kimchi and settled on what they ultimately reminded me of – Korean BBQ. Yeah, wow, very descriptive, huh? I actually thought of Korean Chicken Tacos more than anything.

The ingredient list is basically all the usual suspect spices you get in a chip like this with nothing distinct standing out. That, mixed with the pronounced chili flavor and “dryness,” just made me think of Asian-inspired BBQ chicken.

Either way, these are pretty complex and taste really good. The sweetness is there, but it’s not distinguishable from anything beyond, I guess, a pinch of brown sugar?

I won’t say these are as good as purple bag Doritos or the G.O.A.T. Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles, but they’re not far behind either. Grab ’em if you see ’em. Hopefully, you find a sale because I might as well have eBay’d these at the price I paid.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 8 oz
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 13 Chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Honey Butter Potato Chips


So here we are with Lay’s offering honey butter-flavored potato chips in the US, almost a decade after the flavor’s height of popularity in South Korea. Ugh. Has it really been THAT long? This is the first time a potato chip flavor made me feel old. However, before you run out to find this, you should know it is/was only available at some Costco locations in Northern California. Yup, an exclusive AND regional Lay’s flavor.

How popular were honey butter-flavored potato chips? Well, when it first came out in South Korea in 2014, it sold out in stores. But you could purchase bags from online sellers for several times more than their original price. When I tried to acquire a bag back then, they were going for $50 on eBay. I guess you could say it’s the most viral potato chip ever. Sorry, Lay’s Wavy Milk Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips.

So, is it worth flying to Northern California to buy a bag or buying one on eBay for three times the original price, like I did? Of course not. But I think it’s good enough that I’m using this review to convince Lay’s to make this flavor available to everyone throughout the country, but with a slight tweak.

If you’re in Camp No Sweet Chips and have raised your eyebrows at those holiday Pringles that came out years ago or the Lay’s IHOP chips that were on Walmart shelves earlier this year, Lay’s Honey Butter won’t be for you.

The chips looked like original Lay’s, but after handling a few, a layer of white seasoning accumulated on my fingertips. Their flavor hit all the right sweet and savory notes that make me think of all the honey butter-flavored chips I’ve had over the decade from Korean and Japanese brands.

It starts off with a nondescript sugariness, but then the honey flavoring comes around. The underlying butteriness hits about the same time as the honey, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of what you’d taste with buttered popcorn. But the taste leans more towards sweet than savory. Honey and butter are listed as ingredients, but above those two is sugar, which might explain the initial sugar burst.

However, there needs to be more consistency in the application of the seasoning. A notable number of them lacked the sweet and savory punch that others had, which makes me think these might need more seasoning.

Despite the minor issue, Lay’s Honey Butter Potato Chips are quite tasty and I hope Frito Lay decides to roll out the flavor nationwide and not exclusively.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 23 oz bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips/28 grams) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar (including 1 gram of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Fritos Flavor Twists Queso

One of the biggest mysteries emanating from the chip aisle is why the hell aren’t there more Fritos Flavor Twists flavors? Originally released in 1992 in the now-beloved Honey BBQ, as well as two others I never had the pleasure to try — Cheddar Ranch and Jalapeño Cheddar — these twirly, crunchy corkscrew corn chips are inexplicably delicious to anyone who enjoys a sweet but smoky BBQ flavor. Yet for how excellent the form factor is, Frito Lay has sat on its hands for over TWENTY years without adding any new flavors aside from two limited regional drops in the early 2010s…until now! Fritos Flavor Twists Queso originally came out last year as a Dollar General exclusive (again, why the limited distribution?!), but are now making their way to most stores that carry the brand.

The reason why Flavor Twists are so fantastic is that fusilli-adjacent shape really does lock in a ton of flavor while delivering an exciting, crunchy, yet light and airy texture. This is coming from someone who loves regular Fritos, too, both the smaller and Scoop varieties. In fact, I think original Fritos are the most underrated “plain” chip in all of chips, but the Twist shape is better in every way aside from scooping. Frito Lay may have unlocked the ultimate cheat code in the early 90s and has criminally under-utilized it since, but this beautiful purple-accented bag of Queso Twists is a promising sign of things to come.

These new-ish Flavor Twists have a solid amount of seasoning that will leave your fingers decently caked after enjoying a couple handfuls. The flavor reminds me of Chili Cheese Fritos without the cumin-y funk. They have a solid cheese-forward burst in the front, followed by the classically strong and iconic Fritos corn taste, and then finish with just a teeny tiny bit of spice. I don’t think I would even call the finishing note “heat,” and it isn’t noticeable until you have eight or so in a row; it’s a nice round peppery spice that sits pleasantly beneath the salty cheese-prominence.

Queso Flavor Twists aren’t nearly as dynamic as their Honey BBQ sibling, but they are still a really tasty chip. They channel a big bowl of Fritos Scoops next to salsa con queso at a party, minus the mess. While they aren’t quite as good as getting a big scoop-full of meaty chili cheese on a thick salty chip, they are a fun new addition to the Fritos family that’s worth grabbing a bag in hopes that they stick around with more Twists to come.

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 3 1/2 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (23 pieces, 28g) 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Salsa Fresca Potato Chips

Every time I see a bag of Lay’s potato chips, I am reminded of the brand’s famous slogan, a testament to the enduring brilliance of advertising: “Betcha can’t eat just one!”

While it’s a bet most of us would lose, I have always found tortilla chips and salsa to be the more addictive snack: the salt, the crunch, the heat, the sweet and juicy tomatoes, the urge to eat an entire bowl as your meal at the Mexican restaurant while the waiter casts judgmental glares in your direction!

Merging two snack food kings into one limited edition summer flavor, Lay’s Salsa Fresca potato chips promise a rich, zesty crunch inspired by fresh summer tomato salsa. Betcha can’t eat just half the bag?

Well, there are always loopholes in self-control, and here’s one for this product: it takes somewhere between one and twenty crunches to experience this flavor fully. Deliciously light and crispy, each chip is coated with savory red tomato powder, which is the dominant flavor throughout the bag. The taste reminds me so much of SpaghettiOs—concentrated and a little sweet without being ketchup-like—but I’m not mad about it.

In the first few bites, a faint tickle of spice rises near the back of the throat. Although jalapeños are featured on the packaging, the chip seasoning captures the pepper’s spice without its earthy flavor. The result is a salty, zesty heat that builds, but very slowly. Like a clumsy person navigating an icy sidewalk, it takes its time and risks no fancy footwork. The tickle evolves to broad warmth across the mouth but never gets too intense.

In the aftertaste, I detect some garlic, as well as a little tang. I attribute the tanginess to the sour cream listed in the ingredients, a delicious side in its own right but a curious addition to salsa fresca. Every few chips, the tang turns sharp and vaguely reminds me of lime. Other flavors associated with salsa fresca—like cilantro and onion—are not present.

While the chips represent several key salsa ingredients, the flavors are simple and unfold in stages rather than as one cohesive bite. Overall, the chip is tasty, salty, and snackable, but its flavor is predominantly tomato powder with a building kick.

As a limited edition summer product, Lay’s Salsa Fresca potato chips scratch that salty, snacky itch that plagues me as I wait for my tomato plants to bloom. It’s a fun flavor, but replaceable in my snacking repertoire. I’ll gladly eat more than one (chip), but not more than one (bag).

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 7 3/4 oz (219.7 g) bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per serving, about 15 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Doritos Baja Fiery Mango

With the introduction of these new Doritos Baja Fiery Mango Tortilla Chips, will we start seeing a new fruity Baja chip flavor every year, similar to how Mtn Dew rolls out new Baja soda varieties annually? That would be a Baja Blast if that happened, PepsiCo.

As you can guess from the name, these are spicy. However, they’re not overly spicy. Well, my mouth didn’t think so because my hands weren’t reaching out for a cool beverage to put out an intolerable burn in my mouth. However, other parts of my body were not in sync with my mouth because certain glands on my head thought otherwise, causing the pores on my forehead and the back of my neck to express their thoughts about the spiciness through perspirat…Whoop! There’s the intolerable heat in my mouth! I’ll be right back. I need something cold to drink.

While the spiciness forced me to get a glass of water, it didn’t make me forget about the slightly off-putting mango flavor when I first started eating them. There was no mistaking it was an artificial mango taste, but there was a saccharine explosion that made things too sweet. Thankfully, the heat rose up and cut through that. After a few more bites, there was a sweet and spicy balance, but every time I gave my taste buds a break, that initial flavor would make its unwanted return. When everything is balanced, the chips have a decent chile artificial mango taste, but it’s not a flavor that I’ll be yearning for.

Before these Doritos, Frito-Lay’s only offerings with mango flavor were potato chips. Both times, they seemed odd and produced varying results to my taste buds, from mediocre to bad. Maybe it’s just me, but fruit and fuego flavors make more sense on a tortilla chip than a potato chip, like with last year’s Doritos Spicy Pineapple Jalapeño.

Much like the previously mentioned fruity spicy Doritos from a year ago, these are okay, but aren’t compelling enough for me to eat again. However, if you liked Doritos Spicy Pineapple Jalapeño, you might enjoy this.

Actually, now I’m truly wondering if I really do want Doritos to offer a new Baja chip flavor every year, like how Mtn Dew rolls out new Baja soda varieties annually.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 9 oz bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 11 chips) 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.