On a trip to Baltimore last week, I stumbled on a Nepalese grocery in the northern reaches of the city that had an attractive display of Lay’s potato chips — but these weren’t just any Lay’s potato chips. This assortment was from India, where Lay’s is aggressively invading the snack-food market.
I bought the two bags they had — India’s Magic Masala and Spanish Tomato Tango, apparently part of a five-bag international collection of flavors, perfect fusion food.
The chips are reddish and wavy, and explode with flavor.
The slogan of the collection is “Be DiLogical,” apparently referring to a famous Bollywood film.
The chips are really Ruffles, corrugated and thicker than American chips, giving them a nice crunch. At first they taste salty, but then waves of masala spice sweep over you, ending in a note of cumin. They also leave a pleasing burn on the lips. Amazing! I was prepared to taste one, and then toss the bag. But my hand kept creeping over to the bowl and eating chip after chip, two at a time for maximum enjoyment.
These chips are a zillion times better than the chemical-burn flavored chips made by Frito-Lay in the U.S. The ingredients list actually reveals the sequence of spices:
Dry Mango Powder
Black Pepper Powder
Still haven’t located a source for them in NYC. Let me know if you know a place that sells them.
Next: An Indian commercial for the chips
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 17, 2011