Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wai Lana Yogi Chips Sweet and Sour

I was rather expecting that there would be a certain consistency in my reviews of the Yogi Chips, and like reviewing Doritos, there would come to be little need to make note of the texture of the chips while all the variation would occur in terms of flavoring.  This illusion was pleasantly dispelled when I opened my bag of Sweet and Sour chips and discovered that they not only featured a different shape and consistency, but were also markedly more flavorful than my previous experience.
Asia's answer to chicken McNuggets.

Now, I’ve always been fond of Sweet andSour sauce (and soup!) in Asian cuisine.  Admittedly, if you order sweet and sour chicken, you will end up with chicken drenched in red sauce with perhaps a mild hint of a citrusy tang- what’s not to like?  The sour element tends to be underplayed, so it’s like eating shredded chicken or pork in a swimming pool of red syrup- so basically, sweet and sour chicken is Asia’s answer to McNuggets in ketchup.

Who doesn't like a steamy tart?
By contrast, when you open the bag with the smiling Polynesian looking woman, the odors sumptuously wafting up from its foil confines will inform you that these crisps bring the sour back into sweet and sour.  The tangy lemony smell is evocative of aforementioned gleaming red chicken puffing hot vapor on a plate before you like a steamy girlfriend, and tantalizes the nostrils of any one who enjoys a little tartness in their cuisine (or romantic partners).

The crisps share the same rice and tapioca base as the Sweet Chili & Lime chips I reviewed earlier, but are notably thicker and crunchier (in a good way) and shaped like small circular pototo crisps rather than the curled-rectangle Frito-forms I had expected from the earlier product.  While there was nothing wrong with the earlier type, the additional firmness does crackle more satisfyingly in the mouth and distinguishes the crisps from the soft textures of breakfast cereal, for good or ill.

Trivia question: Have you ever
spilled the Sweet and Sour sauce
in your Chinese take out, making a gory
mess of your Asian fast food?  If your
answer rhymes with 'mess' you're being
While there is no sparkly coating of spices like on the Sweet Chili and Lime chips, in its place you get a great deal more flavor!  The crisps taste mildly sweet at first, before blossoming on the tongue into a rising tide of tangy citrus like a tsunami wave of lemon juice.  The sourness is by no means overpowering, but does predominate over the sweeter aspects, to the likely disappointment of the sweet-and-sour-sauce-as-ketchup school, but making them more rewarding for those who appreciate citrus and or vinegar in their crispy snacks.  My wife suggested that they tasted like egg rolls dipped in sweet and sour sauce, which actually makes sense if you consider the commonalities between the crispy egg rolls and crunchy chipswith the tangy-sweet flavoring.

All in all, I rather liked these, though like actual sweet and sour sauce, the flavoring isn’t too subtle and doesn’t include many nuances other than that pleasant mouth-trip from mild-sweet to tangy-sour.  The crisps are robust and compliment the flavoring well, and I should emphasize that for all it leans on its citrusy aspects, it is not overpowering

Stars: 2½/4
Spiciness Rating: None

- Tangy citrus aroma is not at all shy in announcing it gloriously tart presence
- Mildly sweet flavoring ushers in the sour and compliments it pleasantly
- Crisps are pleasantly crunchy and well shaped

- True to the sauce it imitates, lacking in subtle nuances and spices
- Some might prefer a greater weight on the ‘sweet’ aspects of sweet and sour


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