Oh, Lay’s | We finally got a great potato chip

Oh, Lay’s. You have taken me on a crazy flavor rollercoaster ride in Beijing all of these years, with the gut-wrenching downs—think flavors like lychee, White Rabbit candy and thousand-year-old egg—far out-numbering the soul-lifting highs. I kind of believe the R&D team put the name of every food and drink into a hat and randomly draws one at a rate that ensures a steady flow of sales from people like me who just have to try that new chip.

Luckily, we just hit one of those soul-lifting ups—perhaps the highest yet—with the truffle-flavored chips that popped up in one of my local 7-ELEVENs this month. I say “one of” because not all outlets carry them.

What makes these chips so special?

A lot of Lay’s novelty chips only give an echo of the promised taste. The wasabi just isn’t kicking or the durian just isn’t stinky enough or the White Rabbit candy, well, in that case it should be even fainter–to the point of non-existence.

But these truffle chips? Intense. From the first whiff of that rich garlic-y aroma to the first bite that makes you wonder if Lay’s has been stockpiling their seasoning.

I can imagine having these chips with a peaty single malt. Or one of those truffle martinis that bartender Frankie Zou used to make at the former Maison Boulud. Or, as I already have, with a few pints of lager.

Now, here’s the catch: truffle isn’t even listed as an ingredient.

You have salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and coriander, but no truffle. Still, these rank as the best new Lay’s flavor I’ve tried in Beijing in years.

And my taste tests so far are resounding successes. I took a bag to the Maovember Mystery Wine Party last Saturday and these chips were a hit, with several people following up to source their own. I also grabbed a couple of bags last night and took them to Pi Bar—a friend and I pretty much polished off one bag on the short walk over.

So, for those who have given up on Lay’s novelty flavors, these might provide some redemption, at 19.9 kuai for 100-gram bag.

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