Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Getting Lay's in Thailand

I blame the hunger. Otherwise, I would have played it safe. I would not have thrown caution to the wind. The hunger clearly addled my mind. How else can I explain the choice I made in Thailand while getting Lay's?

Some people claim that when you travel internationally, you should have an adventurous palate. Don't be picky and stick with what you can get at home.

I think it's extra fun to find the foreign spin on familiar foods. Hello, Starbucks Asian Dolce Latte, my new caffeinated friend. Only available in Asia Pacific, it's a double shot of espresso with condensed milk, steamed milk and espresso whipped cream. It tastes remarkably similar to Vietnamese coffee. See how I've justified visiting an American coffee chain while halfway around on the other side of the world? You can thank me later (preferably with Starbucks cards).

But I digress... Where was I? Oh yes, the foreign spin on familiar foods.

Enter the vast variety of Lay's Potato Chips I discovered in Chiang Mai, Thailand. First up was the traditional Original flavor I find in American stores.

Original Flavor
Accounts for 79% of the American market

Next were some flavors I recognized but the pictures showed them to be slightly different than their American counterparts.

Sour Cream &Onion
Notice that it's a regular onion, not a green onion.

Extra Barbecue
It's not Texas Barbecue; it's shish kebob!
The extra must be all the veggies.

Then, some truly Asian flavors started popping up.

Cheese and Chili
Chili = Thai Sriracha Sauce, not a hearty bowl of beef chili

Nori Seaweed
But perhaps not the rest of the sushi components pictured?

Hot Chili Squid
They can copy the squid flavor, but can they capture the squid texture?

Lobster Hot Plate
Not to be confused with a tasty Lobster Roll

Hot and Spicy Crab
No shell cracking utensils needed

That's a long list of seafood-inspired crisps.  Finally, there's the surprise flavor that should have been familiar to me, but I had never heard of it.

American Cheesy Paprika
Note the Stars and Stripes on the bag?

Has Cheesy Paprika taken over the United States since I last departed? There are tons of Thais walking around thinking how American these Cheesy Paprika Lay's taste.

So, what did I choose in the end? My sense of adventure led me to Hot and Spicy Crab. My reasoning was something along the lines of "I liked the Chili Crab in Singapore. Maybe this will taste just like that." I will give them credit for getting the crab flavor into every bite. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. True to the "Betcha can't eat just one" advertising, I had to keep trying it just to make absolutely sure I didn't like it. Partway through the bag, the verdict was in. Into the rubbish it went.

What flavor Lay's would you try? Any interesting varieties where you are?

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox. Check it out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.


  1. I'd try the lobster hot plate just for the heck of it but I doubt I'd get through a bag. I love walking into grocery stores in foreign countries to see what flavours light their fire. American cheesy paprika sounds revolting.

  2. First of all I would try the hot chili squid. Then I would work my way through all of them :)

  3. While we don't 'do' potato chips at home for being 'unhealthy and fattening' we can't resist them when we travel because of all the interesting seasonings and flavors they have as compared to what we have in the states. A great post - makes me realize there are great culture stories to be found everywhere if we just take time to think about them.

  4. I agree, it's a wonderful surprise to discover the brands we're used to when we travel, and to see how they've been redone to reflect local tastes. I'd love to try the hot and spicy crab.

  5. It is great fun seeing the twists on everyday brands. But some of them just seem too crazy for me! I'd be boring and try the Cheesy Paprika chips. Squid chips just don't seem right.

  6. Another vote for hot and spicy crab.

  7. How neat! I love going to foreign grocery stores and seeing the local versions and this would have been so fun to see. Kinda like all those Japanese kitkats but better. Sign me up for the hot and spicy crab and the extra BBQ. Yum!

  8. I always find the potato chip flavours in Britain very interesting too! Not sure that I would want any sort of seafood flavoured chip - very adventurous of you to try!

  9. I don't think I could have made it through even half the packet of crab chips, well done! I quite like the nori seaweed actually I tried it once in Laos when at a waterfall and there was no other choice available. It's actually pretty tasty.

  10. Being the American that I am...bring on the cheesy paprika! Ha-Ha...Love it! I'm headed to HEB right now to look for it...I had no idea :)

  11. American cheesy paprika is hilarious! I love being in other countries and seeing what they consider to be American. I live in Vienna know and I feel like everything super bland and mildly unnatural, like processed cheese or super white bread, is labeled as "American." ...Actually, that might not be far off.



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