Why Don’t We Have Crisps Like This in the States?

all four types of crisps

My sister just got back from a trip to Europe,and she brought me back some crisps (U.S. translation=potato chips) from the UK. They have the most delicious flavors over there, unique combinations that make the dill pickle variety now finally available in the U.S. seem tame. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had uniquely flavoured British crisps, and I’m thrilled to have four kinds to sample: from Walker’s, we have Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Thyme, Vintage Cheddar with Red Onion Chutney, and Steak & Onion; from McCoy’s, Flame Grilled Steak. Today, I sampled the two steak-flavoured options and found a big difference between the two brands.

flame grilled steak

“The Real McCoy’s” proclaims on the bag of Flame Grilled Steak chips, “Accept No Imitations.” Personally, I’d take an imitation of these chips any day. They didn’t really taste like anything. They were cut overly thick and underly seasoned. They had ridges, which ordinarily is a welcome addition to any chip, but when the chip is cut so thickly, it adds excess mass and makes the chip seem really heavy. As my wife said, “You could shovel dirt with these things.”

steak and onion

The Walker’s crisps, on the other hand, tasted exactly like they said they would: steak and onions. Artificially flavoured, of course: “steak & onion flavour [flavourings, flavour enhancers (monosodium glutumate, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate)”, but really, you expect that in a potato chip; it’s no different with the BBQ flavoring available in the States.

It’s just too bad that manufacturers don’t think the American public would buy these tastes. Personally, I think Steak and Onion or Curried Lamb would fly off the shelves if we were given the choice.

10 Responses to “Why Don’t We Have Crisps Like This in the States?”

  1. kari Says:

    I had herr’s baby back ribs chips on my way home from pgh on sunday. herr’s has some of the best flavors here in the New World - their jalepeno chips are awfully good. they all do seem to have plenty of sugar in them, though.

  2. derek Says:

    hey jesse- in China we have wonderful lays chips with flavors like “curried beef” “italian tomato” “cucumber” and my favorite, “piquancy.”

  3. jwsharrard Says:

    From http://www.m-w.com (Merriam Webster Online):
    Main Entry: pi·quant
    Pronunciation: ‘pE-k&nt, -”känt; ‘pi-kw&nt
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle French, from present participle of piquer
    1 : agreeably stimulating to the palate; especially : SPICY
    2 : engagingly provocative; also : having a lively arch charm
    synonym see PUNGENT
    - pi·quant·ly adverb
    - pi·quant·ness noun

  4. Terry Karney Says:

    I liked Walker’s lamb crisps when I was in Scotland last summer.


  5. JRoth Says:

    I also just had the surprisingly convincing Herr’s babyback chips. And I still think Herr’s salt & vinegar is the best on the market (with Cape Cod a close second, but really a different style).

    I think that the Snyder’s of Berlin kettle chips (the ones that have good BBQ, jalapeno, and Hawaiian Onion) has had steak & onion, but may have pulled it from the market - I don’t think I’ve seen it in a couple years.

    Kettle Chips - whose Krinkle Salt & Pepper is my favorite chip of all - has a lot of unusual flavors: Thai curry, Tuscan bruschetta (or something like that - Italian and cheese is the concept). Plus, the company runs a fleet of biodiesel VW Bugs off its waste oil, and runs its plant on solar (like, a huge % of its total electricity usage). Good chips, good company.

  6. jwsharrard Says:

    I’m going to have to keep a lookout for the Kettle Chips brand–they sound tasty and I like when companies take the initiative to use their resources wisely. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen them before; but if I keep an eye out, I know they’ll turn up somewhere.

  7. Corduroy Orange » Blog Archive » More Flavour Crisps from Walkers Says:

    [...] Check out all of Walker’s creatively flavoured crisps whenever you’re in the UK.  In addition to the kinds I tried, you might also find Slow Roasted Lamb with Moroccan Spices, Gently Infused Lime & Thai Spices, or Thai Sweet Chili.  I just wish Iknew somewhere that sold them in the states. [...]

  8. Viva Says:

    I am from Edinburgh and so have the pleasure of eating the walkers sensations whenever i fancy.
    This could be dangerous as they are so damb tasty.
    I know crisps are not in the slightest bit good for you but theres something about sensations that keeps me wanting more. Probably the MSG but i have to admit the flavours are so true to what it says on the packet.
    I had sweet chilli today which are gorgeous and somehow when i buy sensations they seem better for you than the other crisps (at least I tell myself that).
    The oven roasted chicken with lemon and thyme actually remind me of a fresh from the oven chicken so much that i feel like the kid in willy wonka who eats the magic gobstopper and thinks she can taste the warm soup running down her throat.
    Oh Walkers also have pretty funny adverts for them too.

    If you do have the chance go for it. Forget about the calories and enjoy!

  9. Melanie Says:

    If you haven’t tried Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar chips, you don’t know what you’re missing!!!!! Just one word of caution, don’t eat a whole bag in one sitting because (aside from the clogged arteries) you will lose sensation in your tongue and won’t be able to taste food properly for days afterwards! lol

  10. Farmer Troy Says:

    I saw Miss Vickie’s chips in Giant Eagle (Pittsburgh based grocery chain) in the Nature’s Basket section of the store . . . didn’t purchase them though, because of the “Natural Flavors” in the ingredient list . . . could be MSG, which gives me headaches.

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