Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Death by potato chips

I wonder how many people seriously considered committing suicide by eating potato chips?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Eta Uppercuts Potato Crisps Basil Pesto

This is a brand of potato chips not commonly seen in Singapore. Imported from New Zealand, the packaging looks attractive with the shiny gold label and matte printing which gives you a feeling of quality when you handle it.

Looks sure is important for first impression, but it is the taste that will keep customers coming back. Successful potato chips have a good combination of both qualities; attractive packaging to build up customer base and superior taste to keep customers coming back for more. Kinda makes me think about relationship and why some attractive girls keep changing boyfriends. Cause they have the looks to keep attracting new guys and nothing much else to keep the relationship going, hahaha. My ex have a perfect combination of both but...........that will be another story for another day.

The flavour of this bag of chips is basil pesto which is some kind of herbs. Not the usual sour cream, BBQ or salted flavour which is more commonly seen in other brands. Good effort for trying to be distinct in the market saturated by copy cats. Most of the more distinguished potato chip brands in the market have a few of such unique flavours that others do not have. I myself started having fetish for tomato flavoured potato chips recently. Maybe someone should try making tomato chips or something.

On the left shows the nutrition information for the 150 grams bag of potato chips. I noticed that the sodium level is quite low at 140 mg, most chips I eat have levels between 200mg to 500mg so this should be good news for anti-sodium freaks. There is an Internet url for their company's website which I explored as I was curious about what other flavours they have. I clicked on the potato chips section in the website and was faced with a Microsoft .Net error............

In this modern age of Internet and new media, they could have gained so much more by just simply maintaining their website. It's like free advertising when people buy their products and refer to their website for more information. Yet there are many companies which still have such downtimes in their sites. Customers don't always check back again or give you a second chance.

A side-by-side comparison of the packet with a sheet of standard A4 size paper.

Due to the interest in melamine contamination in milk these days, people will most probably check the ingredients list for any mention of milk in the product. There were some melamine related news regarding milk from New Zealand but mostly the contamination center on China milk products so this should be quite safe.

There seems to be no MSG in the ingredients as well. Other than that, nothing much on the packaging. Time to taste the chips.

The packaging rips open easily much like the Marks & Spencer potato chips. The bag is roughly 50-60% full and a bit of air inside. I took a breathe of the freshly opened pack and it smells salty, much like soy sauce. There is also hint of olive oil being used although the ingredients list did not state.

Thin straight cut potato chips are not my preferred type of chips because they are just too thinly sliced to give off their flavour. I usually chew on 2-3 chips at one go to get the same feel as crinkle cut chips.

The potato chips were lightly salted and there were quite a few chips that looked almost burnt. They taste very buttery and the burnt chips don't taste bitter at all. Quality control is quite acceptable here. I have no idea why but eating these chips suddenly made me crave for pasta.

As expected from the low sodium content, the chips don't taste salty at all. I easily finished the whole packet without feeling thirsty. I guess I should be correct in stating that this chips is MSG free because the flavour is very natural unlike MSG laden chips which strike your taste buds sharply when you first put them in your mouth.

However, this natural flavour don't sit very well with me because I find the taste quite boring. I think this kind of chips target older folks who prefer "healthier choices". My verdict:

Looks: 3/5
Textual: 2/5
Smell: 3/5
Taste: 2/5

Overall: 2.5/5

Appealing packaging but the potato chips are quite mediocre falling flat on looks, textual, smell and taste. Good enough only to make me want to try again once in awhile. Recommended for health freaks but then which health freak in the right mind will eat potato chips?

Other info
Weight: 150 grams
Price: S$4.50
Country of origin: New Zealand
Available at: Cold Storage, Bugis Junction branch

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Catch of the day

Hohoho, behold my latest preys.........Kettle potato chips!!! I was in Cold Storage and saw that the whole range of Kettle chips are on offer at $3.95 (off usual price of $4.50) so I decided to bag a few. Ok maybe not a few, I bought one of every flavour hehe save for lightly salted and unsalted flavour.

I enjoy buying all sorts of weird and funky-looking potato chips but I draw my line at plain vanilla chips. Some may argue that the unsalted or lightly salted chips are the best type of chips as they let you experience their full flavour without complicating things with ingredients like MSG. All I can say is, I prefer the complicated stuff. Why pay for unsalted chips if I can slice and fry them myself? I bet it will be more wholesome and "natural" and I can control the amount of salt added.

My favourite potato chips flavour is a tie between sour cream and BBQ. Usually I buy either one depending on my mood. However, these few months I have a certain fetish for cheddar cheese and salt + vinegar potato chips. It also helps that my sis dislikes these 2 flavours so my victims won't go missing mysteriously in the night before I butcher them.

I am going back camp for reservist soon so it looks like this review will have to wait. Such a coincidence that it's her birthday on my first day of reservist as well. I still miss her.............I wonder how I am going to survive in camp without her and without my potato chips :(

Happy Birthday Sueyng

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Royce' Potato Chip Chocolate

I didn't set out to review this but my sis brought it back so...........hahaha fresh meat. Royce' is quite a well known brand from Hokkaido, Japan. I am guessing that dairy products are one of Hokkaido's specialties since they produce so many milk related goodies. One of the brand's flag ship product is the Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人 which means "White Lover") white chocolate biscuit. A friend who went there on holiday brought some back for me but reviewing the biscuit will be out of the scope of this blog :P

I still vividly remember how I gave one of those biscuits to my ex to sample and seeing that wonderful look on her face. She dislikes raw food so Japan isn't her preferred holiday destination with all that sushi and sashimi on the menu but I wanted to bring her to Hokkaido. We can definitely enjoy 2 hot bowls of ramen together in the cold winter. It's all too late now ........ anyway back to topic, here is a picture of today's victim.

My sis opened the box before I have the chance to snap some pictures which is why the top has been "compromised". Other than the words "Royce' Potatochip Chocolate" on the front of the box, a fine line of wording about Royce' dedication to chocolate + Royce' URL, the rest of the words on the box are all in Japanese.

They say good things come in small package. I must say the price is quite high for such a small box of chips so it better be worth the money. Although small, the box states that the content weighs 190 grams. Hmmm that is rather heavy compared to a regular packet of chips. I think for the most part, the chocolate contributed to the hefty weight which is why you have "more for less"

Other than stating the weight and storage instruction, I cannot understand anything else at the bottom of the box since it's all in Japanese. Btw one interesting thing about this box of chocolate coated potato chips is that you need to keep it refrigerated.

Generally, chocolate can be kept at room temperature. I am no chocolate connoisseur but I think the reason for keeping the chocolate coated potato chips cold is to prevent the chocolate from reducing the crispiness of the chips. Chocolate at room temperature is still in solid form but it softens up quite a bit which allows it to "breathe" resulting in soggy potato chips. On the other hand, keeping it refrigerated will increase evaporation rate and keep the chips nice and crunchy.

Opening up the box, there is a separate plastic packet sealing up the chips. My first impression of the potato chips - unappealing, dull and black. I sniffed the content, all I can smell is chocolate, not so much of potato chips. It is really disappointing to see the content. I can almost count the number of potato chips in this thing! A guy like me can easily finish off 3 to 4 times the amount of potato chips while watching a movie or something.

How come they don't put in more potato chips in there? Is it really that expensive to produce? I am starting to feel ripped off........oh I forgot, my sis bought them :) I already have doubts about how wonder the chips can be.

Comparison of sizes: Box vs one chocolate coated potato chip vs A4 size paper

Time to taste the thing, I popped one in my mouth and .......... it's way better than I expect! There is a fleeting sense of saltiness that gave way quickly to the richness of the chocolate though not overly sweet, I say they got it just right. This is the first time I tasted chilled potato chips, first time I tasted chocolate coated potato chips and also the first time I tasted potato chips that are salty and sweet.

I noticed that most of the chips are only coated on one side which leaves the other side of the potato chip "naked". Maybe that is the secret to giving off that salty and sweet flavour because a fully chocolate coated potato chip will definitely not be able to retain the saltiness. Most likely the chocolate flavour will overwhelm everything else if done that way. Amazingly meticulous in their design of the product I must say.

This is really something new, Japanese foodstuffs never fail to amaze! But with so few pieces in the box, I have to "ration" the chips or I will finish it in less than 5 minutes. A great example of quality vs quantity, one piece of this fantastic potato chip is worth a whole packet of MSG laden "fake" flavour potato chips from unknown brands.

I ate the potato chip straight out of the fridge so that it is cold and hard. The chocolate coating did not melt in my mouth immediately. I chewed into the chips and managed to taste the potato before the chocolate finally melt and overwhelm all other flavours. Amazing sensation; this is truely a unique snack.

Out of curiosity, I placed a few pieces of potato chips on the table to let it warm up to room temperature. I wanted to know how it will taste if not eaten straight out of the fridge. Well, it's still pretty nice but the crispiness factor went down so I will recommend that you eat it while it's cold.

I don't know if there is MSG on this thing but it sure taste good. Maybe I just love chocolate and this combination works really well. This thing is very addictive, my verdict:

Looks: 1/5
Textual: 4/5
Smell: 1/5
Taste: 5/5

Overall: 4/5

The potato chips look real ugly and unappealing at first sight. No potato chips fragrance and the portion seems to hint that it is targeted at the women/children market. However, this unique combination of chocolate & potato chips made my day! The price is a little on the high side though and it's not something I can indulge in on a daily basis. Everyone should try this at least once in their life :D

Other info
Weight: 190 grams
Price: S$14
Country of origin: Japan
Available at: Royce

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marks & Spencer Crinkle Potato Crisps Honey Roast Ham

My first review!! The name itself sounds delicious enough so I decided to give it a try. I always love Marks & Spencer food stuff. It is just tastier than other brands in the market and hopefully the same can be said for its potato chips.

Pardon my noobish photography skills. I just started playing with my sister's new DSLR camera so all that aperture settings and shutter speed thingy are alien to me.

There are many markings and labels on the package stating "healthier option", "reduced fat", "cooked in healthier oil", "eat well"..........hmmm. Well when I started this journey, I already know that the ending will be ugly. Potato chips are not healthy snacks but this brand states "healthier option" oo nice play of words.

The packaging comes in the standard Marks & Spencer colour scheme and a few unappealing pictures of crisps on the front. Btw, crisps and potato chips are the same but I prefer using chips.

I noticed the expiry date is near (1 more week only, maybe kept in storage for long period? Or less preservatives? Just speculations).

Made in Denmark and imported here. Yay I love import stuff, they are just more prestigious and gives you that feel good factor. Somehow this does not apply to imported Malaysia food stuff (Not that I dislike Malaysia.......actually I love their cheap and nice tidbits but no prestigious factor lol). Haiz, talking about Malaysia and all the memories of that girl comes flooding back. I still remember what flavour of chips she likes (BBQ only) and which brand she prefers (Pringles) and all the other stuff..................ok back to my review :(

I noticed this strange label at the back that says "Suitable for vegetarian". Wow, potato chips that are suitable for vegetarian! There must be some really fanatic vegetarian potato chips eater out there that insists on usage of non-animal derivatives only. Not a problem for me I guess.

A side-by-side comparison of the packet with a sheet of standard A4 size paper.

Not many people bother about the nutrition value of potato chips. Neither do I care, but for the sake of this review I took a picture. You can scrutinise it all you want. There is also a label (not in picture) that claims no MSG was used.

I guess the ladies will be more concerned about this due to the amount of carbohydrate or fat as they are obsessed with their figures. There are also people concerned with the sodium content. If people are really so concerned about all these, I think they shouldn't even eat potato chips! Its like going to a pub and asking the bartender about the alcoholic content because you are afraid of getting drunk.

Ingredients list ... nothing out of the ordinary. Contains Barley? But hey, really no MSG here.

Not that I am saying potato chips must be salty and loaded with fat but that is the basic content of a pack of chips. If its too salty, eat less or share it with friends or something. There are simpler solutions in life and I am not going to give up on a tasty pack of chips just because of high sodium content or whatever.

Ok enough of that, I'll start of with the packaging of the potato chips. The packet is quite compact with little air packed inside. I hate buying those chips where they look all inflated and huge but when you open it up, the content is like 30% of the size of the packet. This one is more like 50% filled with chips. The label states 150 grams as the weight. The seal is rather easy to open and tears up with ease. The chips are all crinkle cut (my favourite). I feel that crinkle cut ridged chips are crunchier, have a better texture and elude the flavour better compared to normal thin straight cuts.

The chips are covered in some finely chopped up green parsley. No idea how that helps in the taste but it does make the chips look more appealing.

I always have a habit of sniffing the freshly opened bag of chips before digging in. Ahhh heavenly! The smell of smoked ham? I thought it was supposed to be honey roasted ham or maybe I just can't tell the difference. It's coincidence that I had some smoked sausage for my dinner so I must say the distinct smoked smell is very convincing.

Now for the tasting! First piece, the initial mouthful gave me a tinge of sweetness which is subdued immediately and overcome by a slightly bitter, burnt aftertaste. The chips are not salty or all although they look like its covered from head to toe with salt (maybe MSG).

After a few more pieces, that BBQ soot-like burnt flavour is really taking hold in my breathe. Maybe this is a "highlight" for people who love honey roasted ham or is this a QC problem? I have no idea but it's quite a turn off. I finished the packet easily and this is my verdict:

Looks: 4/5
Textual: 4/5
Smell: 4/5
Taste: 2/5

Overall: 2/5

I would love to add up the score and divide up to get the overall but I feel the taste component is the most important part of eating potato chips. I wouldn't want to spend money to buy some nice looking and fragrant chips that taste horrible. With this kind of score, doubt I will be trying it again any time soon............maybe until I forget about the burnt flavour.

Other info
Weight: 150 grams
Price: S$4.90
Country of origin: Denmark
Available at: Marks & Spencer, Great World City branch

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Start of my journey

I fell out of love and into the deepest depths of despair. I can understand why it is so hard for her to love me.....because she loves her potato chips more than me!!!

So as revenge, I should chronicle my journey of biting and crunching into every one last piece of chips I can find on Earth (more specifically, Singapore only la).

I will kidnap a new packet from the street every now and then, bundle it home to slowly strip it bare and take photographs of my undressed prisoner. And after I have enough pleasure from devouring the whole pack, I will share them here hehe.