Snack Attack, Vol 10

TGI Friday’s Crunchy Fries – Extreme Heat 

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I’m endlessly fascinated by the American shelves at my local Tesco – ludicrously overpriced imported goods of a remarkably unhealthy nature. Every so often my curiosity gets so great that I simply have to try something out. It’s a patchy record so far.

These are disgusting. Sticks of sawdust glued together with some of the least punchy chilli seasoning that you will ever put near your face. I guess the consistency is somewhat like that of cheese puffs/cheetos, so maybe fans of those won’t hate them as much as me, but the flavour claims on the bag are a downright lie. I know extreme heat, and it is not to be found within this bag. Plus they were really bloody expensive, being a novelty imported item.

1/10

 

Snack Attack, Vol 9

Co-op Irresistible Hand-Cooked Christmas Dinner crisps

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I spotted these in my mum’s local co-op on a trip to my home land, and felt the need to see what on earth was going on.

On opening the bag and having a sniff, I was struck by an incredibly pungent (in a bad way) odour. Stale, sweaty feet mixed with ready salted walkers.

I poured some on to a plate to examine – they look the part. The sprout crisps (which I presume to be the green ones) appeared at first to be composites of mushed up sprouts, unless they’d found some huge candidates, but on closer inspection turned out to be potato crisps dyed green, which was confirmed by the blurb on the back of the packet.

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First up I went to the parsnip ones. Initially, my mind was put at ease. These tasted like many parsnip crisps I’ve tried when feeling bold, nothing I’m amazingly fond of, but not disastrous . Then the wave of nauseating sweetness struck. The maple. Maple parsnips. Cloying, sickening sweetness overpowering any pleasure from the parsnips natural flavour. Utterly revolting. They taste like the syrup has been sieved through a bin outside a particularly bad restaurant.

The sprout crisps – like a bad ready salted. Very crunchy, to give them their dues, although after the initial snap they disintegrate in a truly odd way – presumably that’s the type of potato at fault, or the manner of cooking? The taste was somewhere between nothing, salt and the inevitable deathly grip of human mortality.

The regular crisps – again, impressive snap on first bite followed by bafflingly unpleasant aftermath. The seasoning – yeah, I suppose I can taste turkey and stuffing, in the same way roast beef crisps represent that flavour (ie barely, but you know what it’s supposed to be).
The carrot crisps- why? These are not a good vegetable to make into a crisp if this is anything to go by. I pulled a fantastically comical face on my first try at these. Hideous, both the snack and the face pulled.

I deeply regret buying these crisps.  The parsnip crisps are quite possibly the most disgusting crisp I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. I really can’t begin to describe what an unpleasant experience this was.

0/10

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Snack Attack, Vol 8

Bobby’s Buffalo Chips – Chilli Beef flavour

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Picked up after a gig in Brixton, I didn’t have huge hopes for these, but figured it was worth a punt. Well, it wasn’t.

Walkers Max and other ridged crisps I’ve tried previously have tended to have a pleasingly snappy crunch – these were bordering on stale despite being well within the expiry date.

The flavour was actually ok – tiny bit of chilli heat underpinning the standard crisp “beef” flavour (has anyone ever eaten beef that actually tastes like that though?). But the feeling that they’d been opened for a week, then resealed, totally spoiled the experience.

4/10

Snack Attack, Vol 7

Hip Pops – Sweet Chilli Flavour

Well, I’ve fallen behind somewhat in these reviews, but one that is in the offing is the Barbecue Popchips. However, it has been gazumped by these curiosities that I picked up in a greengrocer in Bethnal Green.

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I was obviously drawn by the puntastic name, and the very reasonable price and low calorie count didn’t hurt either. These are one of the new breed of “popped” crisps that have started to appear on the market, a pleasingly crunchy style that is apparently relatively low in fat or something. These are more than half soy, and contain a pretty impressive 17.5% protein as a result. And they only have about 2/3 of the calories of Walkers Ready Salted or Doritos Tangy Cheese. So, while not a health food, that’s actually a lot better if you do need a snack to keep you going in terms of your waistline. They are very high in salt though.

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Anyway, to the item in question. Nobody is buying these to be healthy, they are buying them to be a tasty salty snack. And they deliver, more or less. They are not as good as Popchips, although I didn’t A/B them. They seemed a tiny bit thinner, and the flavour of these was a timid attempt at sweet chilli – not even close to the God-level seasoning on the Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli crisps that are very much the Leo Messi of the crisp world – been around for ages, still going strong, hard to pick a fault with. But these were a decent little snack, and a bargain at 59p. I’d personally have liked a touch more flavouring, and that flavouring to have a touch more heat.

6.5/10

Snack Attack, Vol 6

Walkers Bacon & Heinz Tomato Ketchup flavour crisps 


The main take home I got from these crisps, and a few of this other limited edition range of sandwich-combo based flavours, is that whoever is in charge of tasting at Walkers is rubbish at tasting.

Ketchup… Maybe. Like, Iceland own-brand vinegary stuff (I’m not even sure that exists tbh), the sort of shit you convince yourself is ok when you are a student and can’t afford Heinz, or even Daddies.

But bacon? Where? There’s a musty undertone to the aroma, is that supposed to be smoked bacon? Or socks? Brined and smoked socks maybe?

I have to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of regular Walkers crisps as a rule – I don’t enjoy the texture (while not being offended by it), and the only flavour I’ve had which tickles my fancy is the marmite ones – the classic flavours don’t do it for me, and these ones… Yikes. I’ve also sampled the salad cream/cucumber and chicken/mayonnaise oriented flavours in this limited edition range, I doubt I’ll go out of my way to locate the other 3… Might review those, but not sure I want to relive the dubious experiences tbh.

These are rubbish unless you like the taste of terrible tomato ketchup. I’m assuming that Heinz paid to have their logo featured – quite why is beyond me, as these are a terrible advert for their industry standard ketchup.

2/10

Snack Attack, Vol 5

Boots Shapers – Rendand Curry Flavour Cracker


These were the result of an inexplicable en-route-to-work-hunger-pang-sick-feeling moment. They buried the hunger nausea, but frankly they produced a slightly sickly feeling of their own.

I’m always a little sceptical of flavours like this, but for the sake of Snack Attack I went in for this one as the most interesting option available. Do they taste of Rendang curry? I’m not an expert, but I’d guess they taste like a pair of socks do if they’ve been put in the wash with a jar of Asda own-brand Rendang curry sauce. The crackers themselves are disappointingly un-cracky – more stale rice cake than Popchip (which will be reviewed soon!).

The mention of curry did bring hope for heat. I was disappointed. Maybe a 0.5/10 on the spicy scale.

I’m being a bit melodramatic here maybe, they aren’t terrible. But they certainly aren’t good. The tapioca flour-based crackers clagged up in my teeth without even the satisfaction of leaving little flavour-bombs behind. Seemingly low calorie, but it’s only a 20g packet, which cost 65p if memory serves. I may not have mentioned it, but Space Raiders were just 20p (!!!) For the same size portion. So that’s another reason for disappointment, in a generally disappointing episode.

3/10

Snack Attack, Vol 4

Cheetos – Twisted, Flamin’ Hot flavour 


I was a latecomer to the Cheetos party. To be honest, I’m not sure they were even on sale in the UK when I was a wee little lad. We had Wotsits, which I’ve never been much a fan of, much like I’d never much cared for cheese Quavers.

However, Tesco’s recent experimentation with importing novelty American junk food introduced me to a salty snack that blew my tiny mind; Cheetos Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeño. I’ll review those another time.

So when I saw these for 39p (over a pound cheaper than CCCJ’s cost at Tesco), I had to investigate further.

Well, one thing is fo sure. Do not, repeat NOT, attempt to eat these without a glass of water to hand. Not because they are so spicy, although they do pack a relatively satisfactory punch for a mainstream snack. No. It’s because they form some sort of Cheeto-flavoured polyfiller amongst your teeth and gums, which no amount of internal mouth-wrangling will dislodge.

The individual Cheetos basically dissolve into the weird powder/paste they are presumably made from, making for a truly claggy experience. Maybe some people like this. I do not.

The flavour, mercifully, is reasonably pleasant, a gentle hit of chilli and a vague undertone of cheesiness, but overall I have no choice but to award a mediocre score, as I do not enjoy my mouth being turned into some sort of human concrete mixer.

4/10

Snack Attack, Vol 3

Pipers Crisp Co – Kirkby Malham Chorizo

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I clocked these in the cafeteria at the National Portrait Gallery on a day out with my mum, and had to sample them.

The crisps themselves are strangely scentless; even when I bury my nose into the packet, its only a very gentle whiff of a vaguely meat-esque flavouring. And at first bite, while delighted by the excellent crunch of the crisp (maybe these farmers do know what they are on about?), my initial thought is “this is just like a weak-sauce smoky bacon”.

However, a few seconds later a distinctively paprika flavour comes into play – only ever so gentle, these are certainly not in any meaningful way spicy to anyone used to hot sauces or curries, nor a particularly overpowering crisp, but there it is – a definite chorizo flavour. I’m not enough of an expert to say whether its Kirkby Malham chorizo. I mean, my surname is Kirby, which is quite a lot like Kirkby, and I’ve never heard of Kirkby Malham (unlike Kirkby-in-Ashfield, which I have heard of, one for the fact fans there). I had no idea they were renowned for their chorizo. I suspect that a lot of people in Kirkby Malham don’t know that they are renowned for their chorizo.

All in all, a very respectable crisp, if not one that lived up to the excitement generated by the very smart packet and very specific geographically-sourced flavour.

7/10

Snack Attack, Vol 2

Space Raiders – Spicy Flavour

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These are a UK classic. 20 pence worth of salty something or another. 20p! In truth I only recently sampled them for the first time. They are basically like a well-sanded Monster Munch. But 20p!

For the price they are, they are surprisingly good. I don’t know if I mentioned, but they are only 20p! “Spicy” is a generous description, but they taste pretty decent, and I imagine that a chilli or two was involved somewhere along the process of creating these strangely smooth objects, shaped like the classic alien face, even if the ingredients list doesn’t mention them directly.

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Biting into them they crunch in a very pleasing way, and for the price, which I should mention is only 20p (!!!), you get a perfectly reasonable portion per bag. The primary ingredient is maize aka corn, and the secondary ingredient is a whopping 22% sunflower oil, so these aren’t exactly a health food, but then how many apples can you buy for 20p?

Incredibly, I’d never even tried these until quite recently when I grabbed a bag for one of my occasional Sunday junk food binges as an afterthought, and while they are far from the Premier League of snacks, they certainly have a case for being the moneyball candidate, providing quite frankly stunning value for money, at 1p per gram of alien-based snack, the 20g bag clocking in at (you guessed it!) 20p!

6/10

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Snack Attack, Vol 1

A new occasional piece I will be doing, where if I see some novel snack on my travels, I try it out and offer my thoughts.

First up, we have *drumroll* – Doritos Ultimate Cheeseburger

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People who follow me on instagram or Twitter may have seen me palpitating the other night at finding some new Doritos flavours. Well, the spicy salsa ones were OK, but these… these… these monstrosities… I can only assume they are in a black bag because they taste of the Black Death. “Two flavours destroy one” – I certainly feel like my palate has been destroyed. The scent was innocuous enough, more or less akin to cool original flavour, but the taste…. dear God, that taste…

This always seems to be the case when people have a go at creating a cheeseburger flavoured salty snack. In a sense they succeeded. If you took the corpse of a MacDonalds 99p cheeseburger, reanimated it somehow many years later, and trebled the quantity of pickles, mustard and onion within, you’d have some approximation of what I just ate.

A crime against snacks, an abomination, an absolute disgrace to the Doritos name.

2/10