February 22, 2012

Uber Tuber Tournament, Episode 2: Miscellaneous Melee

Life Overtaking Law

Think you know everything there is to know about potato chips? Think again! Round 2 of our Uber Tuber Tournament rewards those who think outside the bag, by featuring four unique flavours not normally seen on the convenience store shelves. As usual, our panel has followed the strict protocols set out in the official Ng Ariss Fong Potato Chip Tasting Bylaws: chips are judged on taste, texture, and appearance, with all other information screened out to avoid bias. In this round, our panel was compelled to guess the flavours of the chips under consideration, with interesting (and sometimes hilarious) results. The final standings are as follows:

4th place: Tyrell’s Sweet Chili & Red Pepper

As the last chip to be tasted, this contestant was held to be “the oddest of them all”. Although the individual ingredients sound fairly innocuous, our panel’s consensus was that they did not work well together in combination. The overall result is spicy, sweet, and strong, leading one judge to make a guess of “Kung Pao chicken” as a possible descriptor. However, there is no MSG in this buffet item – the ingredients are all-natural. As for texture, the chip itself received praise for being light, thin, and crisp. Despite the fourth-place finish, the news is not all bad for this black sheep of the chip community – our judges agreed that this was a high-quality round overall, and post-tasting comments and snack habits show that our judges have grown fonder of this chip over time.

3rd place: Boulder Canyon Spinach and Artichoke

Despite the anonymity of the package-free tasting environment, this entrant stood out as the only green-hued chip in a field of orange. As such, it is not surprising that our panel was pretty close in its initial guesses – the flavour of spinach pan-fried in butter shone through without having to be spelled out. Somewhat akin to the more conventional sour cream and onion, this chip distinguished itself for its rich taste, which the judges found to be better than they had expected. By the same token, however, our judges felt that eating a whole bag of these buttery snacks could prove to be a bit much. As this third-place finish confirms, even in the world of potato chips, it’s not easy being green.

2nd place: Tyrells’ Worcestershire Sauce & Sundried Tomato

Worcestershire sauce (pronounced “Woshesheshesheharumph”) is a distinctively English condiment, and it finds a home here in these distinctively English-style potato chips. Hailing all the way from to the UK (Herefordshire, to be exact), these crisps come “with the jackets on”, meaning the skin is included – a nice touch that our judges appreciated. The savoury flavour of the Wooster caused some confusion amongst our judges; guesses ranged from “bacon” to “ramen noodles with ketchup”. However, the reviews were positive, with particular praise reserved for the chip’s extra-crunchy texture. As is often the case, the margin between first and second was as thin as the chips themselves; ultimately, however, these lads had to settle for runner-up.

1st place: Boulder Canyon Red Wine Vinegar

If the results of our panel’s votes are any indication, the best potato chip is one that you could eat all day. So it was with Boulder Canyon’s Red Wine Vinegar chips, which received as much praise for their appearance and texture as they did for their sweet and tangy flavour. In a round devoted to eccentric choices, these chips managed to prevail with a package of strong fundamentals: large, natural-looking chips, non-greasy, with a good crunch, and a taste that is pleasant but not overwhelming. As the first bag to be finished in the wake of the official tasting, this chip has clearly been confirmed as the people’s choice.

While the outer reaches of the flavour continuum have now been charted, the battle for the title of best baked chip is on the horizon. Stay tuned!