When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is check out local grocery stores. It’s a great way to get a sense of local cuisine and culture and to find out what flavors are popular. Whether enjoying fresh Udon noodles in Japan or exquisite salty jamon in Spain, unique regional flavors are definitely a highlight of my travels.
If you love to experience regional flavors too, make a trip to a local supermarket’s snack aisle. There, you’ll find a surprising number of chips and snacks representing the local culinary preferences. While some are more familiar to American palates, others are far more unexpected! Check out these unusual potato chip flavors from around the world:
With so many diverse cultures and cuisines comprising the continent, it’s really no surprise that some truly unique flavor combinations have been created to satisfy the European market. Whether its horseradish-flavored chips in Poland or feta cheese in Greece, snackers throughout the continent can enjoy seemingly countless options that truly reflect local flavors. The next time you’re in the UK, track down some Walker’s Prawn Cocktail flavored crisps in their distinctive pink bag and know you’re snacking like the locals do.
With seafood being a staple of diets in Southeast Asia, it only makes sense that this preference is reflected in their snack foods! Some of the fishier flavors originating in this part of the world include Spicy Chili Squid (Thailand), Mornay Shrimp (Vietnam) and Salt and Seaweed (Indonesia).
Travelers looking for snacks in China have the option of choosing either salty or sweet potato chips. That’s right. Sweet is an option. Options for sweet chips include Blueberry (which I’m told are actually quite good), Kiwi, Cucumber and Lime. Savory varieties in China reflect common cultural cuisine like Hot and Sour Fish Soup and Finger Licking Braised Pork.
One of the world’s most unique flavor varieties can be found in Russia. Here, Lay’s created Red Caviar-flavored potato chips. While these salty-fishy snacks can also be found in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the chips are most popular in Moscow where more caviar is consumed. Other regional flavors include Crab and Pickled Cucumber.
Barbecue, Sour Cream and Onion or Ranch are all staple flavors in the U.S. However, even that’s beginning to change. Thanks to Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” competition, the American market has seen some outrageous flavors hit the shelves in recent years. Flavors recently include Sriracha and Truffle Fries, while more outlandish offerings like Cappuccino or Wasabi Ginger have also been concocted. And this year’s “Do Us a Flavor” finalists are Crispy Taco, Everything Bagel and Fried Green Tomato.
Despite sharing a border with the U.S., our neighbors to the north have their own distinct flavors of potato chips. When I’m in Canada, I can’t stop snacking on ketchup-flavored chips. Nonetheless, a quick stroll down the grocery store aisle reveals other unique options like Curry, Masala, Smoky Bacon and the quintessentially Canadian Poutine.
Canada also participates in Lay’s “Do Us a Flavour” promotion. Recent promotional flavors include Tzatziki, Creamy Garlic Caesar and Cinnamon Bun.
So if you travel to experience new and exciting cuisines, be sure to include a visit to the snack aisle and find some unique flavors of chips. Not only will you find regionally-flavored chips tailored to the preferences of the locals, you may just find a new favorite snack.
What’s your favorite potato chip flavor? Leave a comment below!