Monday, September 13, 2021

Wasabi Potato Chips are How I Roll

Journey to Japan Wasabi Chips -Aldi

Remember the Wasabi and Ginger Kettle chips from the Lay's Do Us a Flavor Contest? (I think they were from the second ever contest.) They were delicious, with a sushi-like profile thanks to the wasabi and ginger with a hit of soy sauce. I was sad to see them go, but I feel like their execution needed a bit of work. They were good, but not perfect. Still, it's a flavor profile that doesn't have any equivalent in the American potato chip market. Until now. 

Quick fact, actual wasabi is expensive, and kind of rare, so a lot of the stuff we see sold as "wasabi" tends to be green-colored variations of horseradish mixed with fillers and mustard. In fact, I don't think I have ever had real wasabi. That said, when I say, "I love wasabi," I actually mean the horseradish-y bright green goop that comes with your take-out sushi that's pretending to be wasabi. It has a pasty, yet dry texture, a wonderful sinus-clearing burn, and a flavor that's hard to describe to anyone who has never had horseradish before.

With Aldi's offering being unadulterated wasabi, I was really excited to give this a try and hoping for an intense, burning, wasabi experience. (After all, most American horseradish chips tend to be ruined by including Cheddar. I want something intense!) 

When opened, the chips smell...odd. They smell slightly wasabi-like, but I feel like I can smell ginger, which isn't listed on the bag or the ingredients...unless it's part of the "natural flavors." That makes me a little sad, I was hoping for straight-up wasabi, but this smells like American grocery store sushi. I hope it tastes better than it smells. 

Popping a chip into my mouth, I can taste salty, ridged, potato chip, which is delicious as always, and a mild-to-medium wasabi-like horseradish burn. It all depends on the chip, the more colorful, the more flavorful. I feel like I do taste ginger as well, but it's more mellow than it smells. 

I find myself a little disappointed. With some of the chips looking so green, I thought these would be more intense with more of a burn. Then again I am far from a wasabi-lightweight. I am at the point where I just eat it. Straight up. That is how much I love it. This is more of a whisper, with some ginger notes I wasn't interested in.   

Looking at the ingredients it makes sense. We have vinegar, parsley and spinach powder (likely for coloring) all listed before horseradish. And for those of you in the know, the closer the ingredients are to the start of the list, the more of it is in the product. It's like a list from most to least. And sadly, horseradish to towards the very end, followed by onion power and yeast. 

These are snackable, and if you eat several in succession you get a bit of the good ol' wasabi burn on the sides of your tongue, but no amount of chips will give me the sinus-burning feeling I crave. So yeah, these are yummy, but they aren't perfect. At least, not for me. Maybe I missed my chance since I never got to try the wasabi limited edition Doritos. With how bold their flavors tend to be, it might have been the chip I've been looking for.  

Fans of these would also like: Wasabi Seaweed Snack, 2014 Lay's Wasabi Ginger Kettle Chips, Wasabi Pea Crackers, Wasabi Soy Sauce Pringles, Crispy Wasabi Seaweed, or Aldi Green Bean Fries with Wasabi Dipping Sauce
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