Lays Potato Chip Renaissance
08 Aug 2004
Without a doubt, food is one of the major perks of living in China. Not only do we get the most authentic Chinese flavors here, but we frequently get them cheap. In addition, a Westerner living in China will inevitably be exposed to all kinds of new and exotic foodstuffs completely unavailable back home. What the Westerner doesn’t expect is to discover those exotic foods produced by familiar American multinational corporations and displayed in Chinese convenience stores.
One such example is mint Sprite. Yes, it tastes like mint, and it’s a drink. The Chinese seem to like it, and I read that it’s available in Canada and the UK as well. I bought it once. I finished the bottle, but that was plenty for me.
What interests me more is the current Lays Potato Chip Renaissance that we in China live in the midst of. Lays (乐事 — “Happy Things” in Chinese) has come out with some really unusual flavors, and some of them are quite good.
Click each thumbnail below for a bigger image.
The three flavors in the groups on the left are Cool Cucumber (清怡黄瓜味), Crisp Hokkaido Seaweed (北海道鲜脆海苔), and Fresh Lemon (沁凉柠檬味). I like all those flavors, but the cucumber flavor is especially weird and tasty. The Chinese really know how to appreciate cucumber.
The three flavors on the right all belong to the “Chinese Favorites” (中华美食 — actually more along the lines of “Chinese Gourmet”) collection and include Spicy Crab (香辣蟹味), Peking Duck (北京烤鸭味), and Five Spice Fish* (五味鱼香味). I haven’t tried these yet (I am not a total potato chip freak), but I will soon. I find it interesting that only the Peking Duck flavor from the “Chinese Favorites” collection has any English on it. Is this Lays’ prediction of which flavor foreigners will actually be willing to try? (Hmmm, maybe someone should send Richard a bag.)
Collecting and trying all these strange new potato chips almost makes me think I need to do another Junk Food Review….
* OK, I know my translations of the flavor names are not the greatest, but I also know from experience that translation of Chinese food names is not easy, and in this case particularly not worth the effort.