Friday, July 31, 2015

Sriracha Kettle Chips - Aldi

Sriracha Kettle Chips - Aldi
Lay's Do Us a Flavor is back again with four new finalists, and I gotta say, I'm underwhelmed. Even though they aren't ideal, I plan on reviewing them tomorrow after I get out of work, but I thought this would be a great time to check out this Aldi version of my favorite chip from the first ever round finalists.

Way back when the Do Us a Flavor contest was shiny and new, there were only three finalists and they all used the normal fried potato chip as a base.

The original finalists were: Chicken & Waffles, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Sriracha. (Although I did get to try all three, I never had the opportunity to photograph the Chicken & Waffles variety.)

Of the three flavors, sriracha was my hands down favorite. It was just so good! The flavoring was initially sweet, kind of like a Korean-style barbeque sauce, and the spiciness slowly built up as you ate the chips. Sadly, it didn't win. The biggest complaint I saw online was that these chips didn't taste like sriracha, and they didn't. To me, they tasted like my favorite honey hot wings from my local pizza place, and that's what I really loved about them.

After Cheesy Garlic Bread was declared the winner (it's totally overrated), the Sriracha chips disappeared from store shelves. They resurfaced for a few weeks when Lay's did a Valentine's Day promo where you could be "reunited with your favorite flavor," but it was short lived, and I've been sriracha-chip-less ever since.

Flash forward to the last few months. Aldi has been getting all kinds of fancy with it's limited edition products and flavors. There were beer, margarita, and sriracha flavored chips available, and they were all kettle-style! How could I resist?

The packaging for Aldi's sriracha chips is no where near as polished as the Lay's version. The sky blue backdrop make no sense, the faux aged scroll looks like some kind of children's Pirate illustration, and the type choices are very default-looking. It's pretty low-end and knock-off-y, but it functions well, and the photo of the chip bowl is really nice. Still, at this price point in this kind of grocery store, it's not bad at all. (They tried.)

I opened up the bag and the chips inside were a similar reddish-orange color as the lay's version, but these smelled a lot less sweet and more garlic-y. The aroma was kind of like a mash-up of salt & vinegar chips mixed with actual sriracha, so things were already off to a great start.

I popped a chip into my mouth, and it's way more sriracha-y than the Lay's version from a few years ago. These have a slight sweetness to them, but it's more like the sweetness of caramelized onions or garlic, and instead of a slow building heat, there is a pretty obvious heat level right away. These aren't super spicy right off the bat, but after a handful or two you do start to feel a medium-level burn, which I really liked. I think the heat level for these chips is a little less than actual sriracha on it's own, but this is way more authentic than the Do Us a Flavor variety.

The best part of this chip was that it was kettle-style, so it had a thick and satisfying crunch to go along with the spiciness. I feel like that was something the first finalists were lacking, Lay's has since remedied that with their newer flavors having kettle and wavy options for the base, but if the original sriracha chip had been kettle style, maybe it would have won.

These sriracha chips from Aldi were fantastic! They reminded me of my long lost Do Us a Flavor love, but they were even better. (My favorite way to eat them is to add them to whatever sandwich/burger/hotdog/meal I'm eating. They add a nice crunch and a bit of garlic-y heat.)

Sadly, this is one of those Aldi seasonal items (I call them "unicorn items") so who knows if and when I'll ever see it again. Why do you chip companies keep breaking my heart?! If any of you were a fan of the Lay's version, try and find these while you can and enjoy them while they last. (I wish I had grabbed a few more bags to stock up. I'm kicking myself now.)
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