~Your Taste Buds
The potato chip—America’s most effective salt delivery system since 1853. We as a nation eat 1.5 billion pounds of the stuff a year, which pares down to about 4 pounds of greasy, delicious shame for every American. It is an actual American invention, coming into existence because of a douchebag customer who kept sending back his fried potatoes for not being thinly cut enough, and the chef who said, “fuck you, I’ll give you fried potato peelings then and oh holy shit he actually likes it?” Since its inception, potato chips have spread all over the world, which is a good thing for people who work at liposuction clinics, and bad news for people who are trapped in countries that have decided a potato chip can be flavored as anything, no matter how batshit insane it is.
Surprisingly enough, we’re not talking about Japan, despite the atrocities they have committed against the humble Dorito. No, we’re talking about Lay’s, the parent company of Doritos, and a brand of potato chip that, for whatever reason has been hijacked by pure insanity in countries across the world. And before you say “Hey, I tried a bag of Borsch potato chips one time, it actually tasted pretty good!” we just want to remind you that you’re wrong and we don’t care what you have to say.
On to the distressing potato chips!
The Strangest Flavors of Lay’s Potato Chips in the World
Lay’s potato chips first came into existence in 1932 when Herman Lay purchased the Barret Food Company, a potato chip manufacturer, and began selling chips from his car traveling throughout the southern United States. Never in his wildest dreams could he imagine the behemoth that is Frito-Lay becoming an international brand responsible for 59% of the savory snack-food market in the United States. Similarly, never in his nightmares could he imagine that some sadistic bastards would try to make his potato chips taste like octopus. So really this is a good news/bad news scenario as far as history is concerned. Here are some of the other bad news ideas.
Vegemite is called, in polite company, an acquired taste, which is also the same way professional assassins describe taking joy in killing people, if we must construct a straw man comparison. It was invented in 1922 by Cyril Callister of Melbourne in Australia, and it takes leftover yeast extract from the beer brewing process, tosses in some spice and vegetable additives, and the expectation that “leftover yeast” is something an entire nation would feel comfortable slathering on toast. Apparently it fucking worked so well that you can get potato chips that taste like this bitter, salty spread.
We know Australians are obsessed with this shit, because living a life where everything around you exists for the singular purpose of poisoning the life out of your body has led to them thinking that every day is a blessing, even if you have to start it off with congealed yeast poop, but does anyone actually buy Vegemite in potato chip form? We know someone has to, since it’s a product that exists and the world is a little sadder because of it, but what percentage of people buying Vegemite Lay’s are tourists doing it for the lols as a gag gift to bring home to the states? 110%? 120%?
But while this probably is the grossest Australian-influenced flavor of potato chips out there, it’s not the weirdest. That goes to our friends in England with…
Australian BBQ Kangaroo (United Kingdom)
Walkers is the British brand for Lay’s, and Australian BBQ Kangaroo is the first thing our grandfather said after his stroke and before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and the machines in the hospital started beeping frantically. We know that British food is comically depressing, but are they really desperate for flavor combinations that they’re like, “We need a barbecue flavored crisp” (they call potato chips “crisps” because, ugh, God) “but that’s not all. Let’s make it Australian barbecue, whatever the fuck that is, and also kangaroo, a meat that no one will recognize the flavor of in potato chip form.” And then they fucking did it, because the quality control person who is supposed to be around to say, “No, guys, listen to yourself, this is a very stupid idea” was out sick that day because the royal baby had a wedding or something that he wanted to join a crowd to watch. Australia’s a weird country.
Anyway, they made kangaroo potato chips. Fucking outstanding.
Mushroom and Sour Cream (Russia)
Honestly, this probably doesn’t taste that bad? We like sour cream and onion, and sour cream and mushrooms is basically 2/3 of a beef stroganoff, so if you offered us a bag of this, we’d eat it. But it still just feels strange. When’s the last time you’ve ever thought about combining mushrooms with potatoes? Right? And the whole concept seems almost comically “Russia is depressing.” We can just imagine the stern Russian officials at Lay’s Ruska saying, “We must make adding flavors to our potato chips. Let us choose fungus that we can find foraging in the woods, and cream that has been allowed to spoil slightly.” The only way that this flavor could be more depressingly Russian is if the bag was empty and came with a picture of your great grandmother in a firing squad.
Hot and Sour Fish Soup (China)
Yo, what the shit is going on with this bag? First of all, hot and sour fish soup is about three different flavors that scream, “Sure, put me on a potato chip…if you’re a goddamn psychopath.” And what’s this woman doing here? “Hey, I made your soup into a potato chip! I’m holding chopsticks very incorrectly, and am also wearing a formfitting leather dress. Sex appeal? Am I doing sex appeal right? Maybe if I say it all sultry. These chips have riiiiddggessss. Oh God, that didn’t work at all.”
But, we mean, other than that. Fish soup potato chips. The actual fuck?
Bacon, Cheese, and Seaweed (Thailand)
Oh fuck all the way out of here. Alllll the way out of here. What the hell do you think you’re doing, Thailand? You expect us to take you seriously with this? This must have been the most confusing pitch meeting ever when it was created.
Spokesperson: Hey everyone, thanks for coming. We’re really looking to revitalize the Lay’s brand in Thailand, and we think we’ve found the flavor to make it happen. Bacon…
Executive: That’s genius, everyone loves bacon, put that out to the masses and we’ll be selling chips like crazy!
Spokesperson: Wait sir, I wasn’t finished. I said, bacon…cheese…
Executive: Listen, you’ve got me sold already, wow wee, I thought you had me at bacon, but bacon and cheese? That’s two things everyone can love! You’re gonna get a helluva promotion for this son, let me tell…
Spokesperson: LET ME FINISH! Bacon cheese…SEAWEED potato chips!
Spokesperson: …so am I fired or?
Executive: …eh fuck it, make the chip. I don’t really care anymore.
And then it happened. Ugh. Why can’t you make a normal American potato chip flavor, like biscuits and gravy?
Oh…okay so maybe we’re not perfect about this potato chip thing either. Dang.