Crab Curry potato chips? Oh yes, just one of the many interesting chip flavours found in Southeast Asia.
I’ve always found potato chip flavours fascinating while travelling. They differ wildly from country to country. Even more intriguing: a few flavours seem universally popular (sour cream & onion). Here in Southeast Asia, I’ve often found myself at a train station or a bus rest stop examining bags of chips, scratching my head and wrinkling my nose—yet daring myself to try it.
I’m sure others would have the same reaction to my preferred chip flavours. I come from a land that adores Ketchup flavor chips (and yeah, they’re tasty). Canada also has a flavour “All Dressed” which I’ll try to succinctly describe. Here it goes: they’re awesome.
Flavours in Southeast Asia tend to revolve around seafood (anchovy, hot chili squid) or actual dishes or meals (“Lobster Hot Pot”, “Roast Chicken”). A survey of my local minimart in Laos and I saw nori seaweed, chicken namtog, cheese & onion and grilled chicken paprika.
China has cucumber flavoured chips. Not surprising, Japan has teriyaki, wasabi and yakitori. Russia: Red caviar. And in the UK, where chips are called crisps, try Prawn Cocktail and Worcester Sauce. Chip flavours not only indicate regional palettes, they reinforce national identity. Where else in the world would you find marmite chips?
Certain brands are hard to come by in Southeast Asia. While Lay’s and Pringles are abundant and cheap, Doritos are an import item and you pay dearly for them. In Laos and Thailand, a medium size bag is $5—if you can find a shop that sells it.
So what interesting chip flavours have you found in Southeast Asia, Asia and around the world? Tell us in the comments and share your photos: tweet us @Slow_Boat with #ChipTrip or send us a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll keep updating this post!