As a recovering ketchup addict, I remember the cold, hard day when I faced that fact that by dumping nearly an entire bottle of ketchup on fries, I was coupling my future of heart disease with that of diabetes. I actually got to the point where I thought that if I had to hear somebody say, even one more time, “Do you want some fries with that ketchup?”, that I was going to drown in a sea of re-occurring Dad jokes.
I remember reading an article about a person who switched to hot sauce after a long, indulgent affair with ketchup and actually lost five pounds naturally after making no other changes. The thing about hot sauces is that no two are quite alike. In mainstream culture, there are two camps. People who love Tabasco are the long standing traditionalists. The no frills, vinegar taste is nearly guaranteed to be available at any eating establishment. On the contrary, people who love Frank’s basically “Put that shi*t on everything,” and can give you a dozen reasons why it’s better than Tabasco. For the purpose of this article, I will diplomatically say that both of these hot sauces have their time and places in my life, respectively.
Let’s fast forward to 2015 when Sriracha, like cookie butter became the “salted caramel” of 2014. The bottle boasts you can put it on anything from pizza to eggs and major food retailers are pumping out products heavily accompanied by this condiment. Regardless of the two earlier major players in the hot sauce game, Sriracha is my #1.
Not long ago, Men’s Health published an article warning ingesters of the 1 gram of sugar per teaspoon in the stuff, meaning that for my originally intended purpose of minimizing my extracurricular sugar intake, this sauce doesn’t fit the bill. Thank you very much for your words of caution Men’s Health, but the reality is that there are a tremendous amount of teaspoons getting past these lips with far more sugar than just one gram. May that be the very worst of it.
You can only imagine my imagination’s delight when I laid my eyes on Trader Joe’s Lattice Cut Kettle Cooked Sriracha Potato Chips. There are so few things from TJ’s that’s ever disappointed me. Admittedly that’s half because I can barely afford to buy anything there based on the prices, but certainly partially because they truly know how to pump out a high quality and interesting snack.
Opening up the bag, it was a little bit droopy to see how empty the bag itself was. Sure, these chips were firm and decent sized, but for seven servings – let’s not have Cracker Jack flashbacks. The second best part of the chips was the smell. I have no way of knowing why exactly, but these chips smell exactly like a pork egg roll from a Chinese Restaurant. Understanding my sanity can be questioned saying this, let’s just say that I was not the only nose that detected that very specific scent from these chips.
The combination of the lattice cut with the kettle cooking made these chips substantial and sturdy. There seemed to be no threat of cutting the roof of my mouth, which I never actually worry over, but always feel relief when the texture of such firm chips is just right. You can see visually that some chips have more flavoring than other. The ingredients list mentions Sriracha powder and it’s interesting to see that the powder didn’t spread more evenly in transit.
Most importantly, the flavor. These chips were excellent by my standard. The heat wasn’t nearly as overpowering as sometimes the Sriracha sauce itself can be. There was a meat taste associated, but in the best way possible. The entire time I was dreaming of having some dip to accompany these, but regretfully recognize that the lattice cut would make it more of a sloppy experience than my awkward mannerisms might otherwise do with regular chips.
I would purchase these chips again. I’ll find a holiday party to bring them to as a contribution, just so I can eat them again. Maybe I will even go out and meet new friends to get invited to a holiday party, to buy the chips in hopes of eating these again. Before I go on and on with a joke that’s probably only funny to one (me), let me wholeheartedly recommend these chips to anyone who likes a sweet, hot , beefy chip experience. With adjectives like those, you can’t go wrong.