To change it up a bit this time, I’m featuring some weird versions of some more accessible American brands.
Corn Nuts Chips:
I picked these up at the ol’ Gross-Out. Not particularly odd, but it caused me ask myself, “Is this what the public wants? Chip versions of already established snack foods?” I don’t know what to expect in this package.
It smells like Corn Nuts. That is to say it smells like a “Santa Fe Ranch” bomb went off in a spice factory. They’re known for being overly-flavorful, so I’m not too surprised by that.
What I am surprised by is the size. What the hell? No warning about them being tiny. No window. What if I picked up some dip to go with these?
Those are the size of Corn Nuts. Those aren’t chips. They’re flat Corn Nuts.
This product makes no sense to me. Did someone say, “I like every aspect of Corn Nuts, but I want them to be slightly flatter! Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing”?
Honestly, this is the only way it makes sense to me. I think it may have been a failed cereal product. The shape, the size, it works. (Like my 5-minute Photoshop job?)
I think they made a couple thousand boxes and they didn’t sell (rightfully), so they re-rebranded and sold them as tiny chips.
Enough jabber, time to eat. They are not nearly as crunchy as regular corn nuts, but then again it would be very difficult to be that crunchy, unless they were made of porcelain.
Apart from the absence of a tooth-fracturing rigidity, they are the same.
And if you like typical American snacks, as I clearly do, then you’ll think they’re just great.
I’m not so sure about the next bag, though.
Bugles (Caramel Flavored):
The famous arguably-horn-shaped corn ships have been flavored with everybody’s favorite candybar ingredient. Let’s see how this goes.
Alright, they smell… well, they smell like hell. It’s hard to describe smells, but I can tell you the direction my brain went when I first smelled them. It screamed “wet carnival rides!” and I don’t know what that means, exactly.
It’s kind of like caramel corn mixed with modeling clay and some unsavory creamy element.
Another surprise! If you are familiar with Bugles, you know that the flavored versions are usually coated with some powdery substance. Not here.
They are coated in a shiny shell of oily caramel.
Kind of gloppy, kind of wet-looking. They’re not wet. They’re hard like a candy-coating.
Some of them are stuck together. I decide to try this lump first.
And the taste: It’s like Fiddle-Faddle (if you’re not familiar with that, think of extremely buttery Cracker Jack), but then once the caramel flavor is gone, there is a distinct flavor of corn chips.
Not caramel corn, caramel corn chips. Salty, oily, fried, robust corn flavor. Not in a good way, either.
The two flavors just refuse to mix, and they don’t go together particularly well, either. Which is a good segue into bag #3.
So, take these caramel chips:
… and add…
IN THE SAME BAG!
Oh no. Why have you done this? Please ignore the split-down-the-middle graphic. They are mixed in.
Time for a sniff. It smells like the previous bag of wet carnival rides, but now with a new element. Rubber or vinyl, like a pair of new flip flops. My mind also says, “a well-used bounce-house.” I’m worried that both of these things come to mind because they’re both shoes-off situations, and I might be picking up on a feet smell.
The powdery cheese has gotten all over the sticky caramel.
“Hey, you got your disgust in my repulsion!”
“You got your repulsion in my disgust!”
I’m not even going to think of this, just go for it.
Perhaps the most surprising surprise: they are better than the caramel bugles! The cheese taste masks the caramel and corn flavors pretty well, so it just comes together as a cheese and sugar mix, which is what you can get in a nicely aged sweet cheddar. Not bad, Bugles. I’m shocked.
Oh, the aftertaste is a little like burnt rubber, but it’s not too strong.
That was fun.
Check out more “Adventures in eating.“