Food Junk food

Review: Jamaican Jerk Chicken potato chips

Jamaican Jerk Chicken potato chips from President's Choice, with a bottle of Red Stripe for good measure.

I love wacky potato chip flavours, and this Jamaican Jerk Chicken flavour from President’s Choice intrigued the hell out of me.

The Look: The big white President’s Choice bag shows a delicious looking plate of Caribbean food, including beans, a scotch bonnet pepper, a salad, and two well-grilled pieces of jerk chicken. There’s also a three-pepper “Hot – Piquant” label near the bottom of the packaging. Hot, eh? We’ll see about that.

The Pitch: “Seasoned with a blend of Jamaican-style spices, these crunchy rippled chips are a tasty take on the fiery flavours of an island favourite.” Doesn’t say a lot, does it? Both “fiery” and “Jamaican-style” are in the mouth of the beholder, so there’s not much to go on. I know what jerk chicken is supposed to taste like, but to most people in Alberta, “jerk” is the neighbour who keeps letting his dog piddle on your lawn.

The Texture: Rippled chips with a generous dose of seasoning. Crunchy and heavy, but not like kettle chips. The potato chips themselves are fairly pedestrian – it’s the seasoning that aims for gourmet.

The Taste: Kind of like jerk, I suppose, with some taco seasoning thrown in for some reason. I think I’m getting some dusty allspice/clove and smoky garlic, but the taste you’ll notice most is the heat. Between the salt and the spice, you’re going to need much liquid refreshment.

The Heat: Yes, these are pretty hot. They’re spicier than most other chips I’ve tried. The heat builds as you eat more chips, so don’t get carried away. Don’t touch your eyes (or other sensitive body parts) after eating these unless you’ve given your hands a good scrub down with soap and water. (And even then, be careful. It’s harder to scrub away hot pepper than you’d think.)

Pairs With: A bottle of Red Stripe, naturally. And plenty of water.

All those ripples trap the ample "jerk" flavouring. They're nice and thick, with a good crunch.

RATINGS AND DETAILS

Cost: $1.66 for a 235-gram bag at Superstore.

Value for cash money: Insanely good.

Availability: Superstore.

Nutrition?: Per 50 grams (about 18 chip): 260 calories (eek!), 14 grams of fat (eek!), 300 mg of sodium (eek!), 2 grams of fibre (adequate!), and 4 grams of protein (yay!). Go easy on these.

MSG!: Yes, according to the ingredients panel, there’s monosodium glutamate in these here chips.

The verdict: They’re not exactly a jerk-chicken replica, but they’re a nice change of pace.

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