Taste Test: Walkers Potato Crisps

Due to popular demand and the fact that
we love trying weird foods and candies,
The A.V. Club will
now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or
delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at
tastetest@theonion.com.

Various flavored Walkers potato chips from England, $1
per bag

The third thing Americans know about Great Britain,
after The Beatles and The Stones, is that Brits like weird-flavored potato
chips. (And they call them "crisps"; isn't that adorable?) Don't get me wrong,
Americans savor stupid flavors, too, but for some reason, the Brits tend toward
flavors that resemble bits of an actual meal rather than, y'know, just
flavors. For example: Americans have BBQ chips, while the British offer BBQ Rib
chips. See the difference?

One of the biggest perpetrators of chip-flavoring in the UK
is Walkers, whose packaging will undoubtedly look familiar to chip-friendly
Yanks: It's exactly the same logo as Lay's, with a red ribbon around a yellow
sun. That's because Walkers and Lay's are both part of the PepsiCo empire. So
don't worry, you're still eating corporate.

We couldn't get our hands on every odd variety of Walkers
crisps, but we did manage to sneak four small bags out of the UK by securing
them in condoms, then swallowing them for the plane ride. (Actually, we got
them off the ol' Internet; plenty of places service the needs of Brits abroad,
and most of them have awesome candy.) The flavors we ended up with: Steak &
Onion, Roast Chicken, Smoky Bacon, and Prawn Cocktail. The flavors we'll have
to try next time: Marmite, Worcester, Tomato Ketchup.

Taste: Every week
can't bring pickle-flavored frozen treats, cheeseburgers in cans, or
bacon-flavored crickets. Sometimes a Taste Test lives up to the hopes and
dreams and nightmares of The A.V. Club, and sometimes it falls
flat. The overwhelming response to these British chips was "meh." The idea felt
a lot more exciting than the execution—we were all at least semi-excited
to try these unusual flavors, but none of them were overwhelmingly good or bad.
They're chips, and they'll do in a pinch. Smoky Bacon tasted like less-intense
bacon bits. Prawn Cocktail, not bad, tasted like cocktail sauce without the
prawn. Roast Chicken actually tasted like crispy chicken skin, but not nearly
as delectable. And Steak & Onion, by far the least popular, had a weird
acidity. Nobody would throw any of these chips out, but nobody here would
likely be inspired to buy them again.

Office reactions:

• (Steak
& Onion) "Oh, that's really terrible. Like a chip rolled heavily in
bullion, with a sort of sour-salt aftertaste. It's really bitter."

• (Prawn
Cocktail) "Maybe a little tomato-y. Not fishy at all. It should probably be
called 'vaguely prawn cocktail sauce' flavor."

• (Roast Chicken)
"Tastes like chicken! Okay, that was predictable. Again, kinda tastes like it's
been powdered with bullion, but it isn't nearly as sour and bitter and
unpleasant."

• (Bacon)
"Probably the best use of fake bacon of anything bacony we've tried so far, but
that isn't saying much. They're okay. Chips dusted in bacon bits."

• "Overall,
the best thing about these is that they taste like baked chips, so they aren't
really greasy; they're kind of like Pringles Special Meat Flavor Bouquet. But I
wouldn't reach for them when I was in the mood for meat OR chips."

• "It's been what, 25 minutes? And after a glass of water I
still have the taste of those damn chips in my mouth. It's a miasma of flavor."

• (Roast
Chicken) "It doesn't taste like anything at first; the chicken flavor is
relatively subtle. As Krusty says of the Ribwich, 'I don't mind the taste!'"

• (Steak
& Onion) "Fucking disgusting. Just tastes like beef stock and onion powder,
and that's a bad thing."

• (Prawn
Cocktail) "I wasn't even sure what this was supposed to taste like. Whatever it
is, it's salty."

• (Prawn
Cocktail) "Tastes pretty much like sour cream and onion chips—honestly
wouldn't have noticed if the bag wasn't labeled."

• (Roast
Chicken) "Has a subtle smoky flavor. Me gusta."

• "The
prawn is not that bad; I don't think you'll be disgusted by it at all."

• "Steak
and onion is fucking gross." "I kinda like it!"

• "Flavor
aside, they're actually pretty good chips. Good, greasy, thin chips."

Where to get them: Google "walkers crisps" and take your pick.
Britishdelights.com definitely has them.

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