Posted December 29, 2006 by Nick Lindauer in Reviews

Review: Lays Extra Flamin’ Hot Chips

Taking a lesson from Vic & Wendy, I’ve discovered that you can find some pretty interesting items when you visit the local grocery stores when on vacation. At the same store where I scored all my Christmas hot sauces, I also came across a huge bag of Lay’s “Extra Hot!” Flamin’ Hot Chips. Now these are not a chip that I’ve found in New York and after the tasting of Doritos Brand Habanero chips, I just had to give these a whirl.

Ingredients: Potatoes, Sunflower Oil, Flamin’ Hot Seasoning (Less than 2% of the following: Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Dextrose, Malted Barley Flour, Corn Syrup Solids, Torula Yeast, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Color [Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake], Salt, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Tomato Powder, Citric Acid, Onion Powder, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Caseinate, Garlic Powder, Spice, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate), and Salt.

Man, that’s a scary ingredient list. Good thing I didn’t look at that before eating a few chips! And wouldn’t you know, the only size the Flamin’ Hot flavor came in was the extra large “20% More Chips!” – translation: 20% more chemicals! But if you can forgive all the artificial colors and chemicals, then you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by this flavor from Lays.

You can see that the chips are well covered with seasoning, what they call “Flamin’ Hot Seasoning” – but just like the Fiery Hot Habanero Doritos, the “Flamin’” part of the chips falls short. The best way I could describe the heat would be like a gentle tickle on the back of the throat. No tingling on the lips nor the need to drink excessive amounts of water or milk.

Flavor wise, there is no real discernable flavor – the “Flamin’ Hot” seasoning tastes like a dried up bottle of Tabasco, or some other vinegar heavy sauce. That’s not to say that the flavor or taste of the chips is bad – but don’t count on being able to determine the source of the so called “Flamin’ Hot” heat – it’s chemical based, not pepper based.

Over on The Chippie you’ll find a similar review – nothing but disappointment in the over hyped spice. But that’s what we as chileheads have come to expect from mass marketed spicy products – not enough heat. While I appreciate the big brands trying to incorporate more heat heavy foods in their product line, why can’t they take a stand and make some that is actually hot and not some sissified version of hot?

Would I eat these chips again? Sure, in smaller quantities and only if no Blair’s Death Rain Chips (or Fire Balls) are available. And I think I would take these over the Doritos Fiery Habanero…

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog