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A bite out of the local potato chips scene.

When we say chips, we almost always mean potato chips: thinly cut potato slices, fried to crispy perfection.

Potato chips are the ultimate snack. Considered by many as junk food, no doubt it is comfort food as well. It comes in different forms and flavors, and all of us snack lovers in the Philippines are blessed we now have access to a wide variety of potato chips.

If you grew up in the '90s then the only potato chips you ate that time were the classic ones from Jack 'n Jill and Vcut. You can still find them in supermarket shelves and they even come in different flavors now. Vcut, for example, is also now available in cheese, and onion and garlic flavors, although we'd bet that the only flavor any '90s kid would go for is the spicy barbecue one.

You have to give it to the guys from Jack 'n Jill. They have partnered with popular Japanese potato chips brand Calbee to bring us more potato chips variants: wasabi flavored potato chips, hot sauce pizza flavored ridged potato chips that are topped with melted cheese, plus potato chip ridges topped with chocolate or salted caramel (very Royce-in a good way).

Oishi, another snack manufacturer, is giving Jack 'n Jill a run for their money with a line of ridged potato chips called Ridges (in flavors like barbecue, wasabi, and onion and garlic), and Pringles-like Potato Crisps (the tomato ketchup variant is the tastiest). But what's intriguing is their Gourmet Picks line of potato chips; it has unique flavors such as wasabi, nori and kimchi).

A small player in the potato chips game is Leslie's. Their Farmer John Premium Potato Chips aren't as famous as the others but a must-try is their cheddar and sour cream variant because the chips are generously coated in tasty cheddar and sour cream-flavored powder.

Despite the arrival of more adventurous flavors and variants in the local potato chips scene, we still have a long way to go, considering the existence of mushroom-flavored potato chips in Czechoslovakia, maple syrup and moose potato chips in Canada, mint potato chips in India, and blueberry or lemon tea potato chips in China.

Till that time when we have binagoongang baboy potato chips or sinigang na hipon potato chips, we can in the meantime satisfy our taste buds with the plain slated variety.

POTATO PICKS

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We sampled all the local potato chips available in the supermarket shelves and here are our favorites.

Vcut Spicy Barbecue from Jack 'n Jill

Nothing beats this childhood classic even if it's spicy and not everyone likes their chips spicy.

Wasabi Potato Chips from Jack 'n Jill Calbee

We love that these thick and crunchy potato chips may not show it but its wasabi flavor is pretty strong.

Hot Sauce Pizza from Jack 'n Jill Calbee

Their pizza flavored potato chips is good but this spicy version is really, really good. That tangy, spicy flavor goes well with the melted cheese on top of the chips.

Chocolate Potato Chips from Jack 'n Jill Calbee

Almost like those Royce chocolate covered chips (but these are just drizzled in chocolate), these have the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness.

Tomato Ketchup Potato Crisps from Oishi

Reminding us of Pringles (which is a good thing) these crisps have an interesting sweet-salty flavor that we couldn't stop once we popped one in our mouth.

Cheddar and Sour Cream Farmer John Premium Potato Chips from Leslie's

Each crunchy piece is coated in a tasty cheddar and sour cream-flavored powder, making it really addicting. We were done with the bag before we knew it.

Onion and Garlic Ridges potato chips from Oishi

Not for everyone-especially kids -'coz this one has a slightly bitter taste that's actually good in a sophisticated kind of way.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 15, 2017
Words:735
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