5. Ham and Pickle
From a typically Scottish dish to a typically English one…or is it? Anyone who picked up a packet of these Brannigan’s Ham and Pickle potato chips might be forgiven for thinking it’s just English eccentricity. But no, Ham and Pickle is not really a thing. Cheese and Pickle, yes. Ham with other things, yes. But with pickle? No.
It was a slightly odd mix, but it was preferable to its brother flavor Beef and Mustard, which were actually painful to eat because the mustard flavoring was so strong. They didn’t taste of anything in particular but there was an afterburn you didn’t forget in a hurry. An eccentric range certainly , but not a typically English one. They aren’t widely available in British shops any more, but wholesale boxes are doing a roaring trade on ebay.
4. Cucumber and Goats
When you think of all the distinctive flavors in the world, which vegetable springs to mind? The watery blandness of a cucumber? No, thought not! Yet, Lays decided that cucumber would be a great addition to their range in China (see above), to complement the blueberry and kiwi in the “cool & refreshing” range.
But there’s a more bizarre variation still. There’s a flavor in Belgium called Cucumber and Goats. While it initially summons up entertaining visions of Lays’ workers trying to herd whole goats into the packets, the reality is sadly disappointing. It seems that it’s another apostrophe that has been mislaid on the journey to English, along with the last word (and this apostrophe is a hotly debated topic among some circles). It should be Goats’ Cheese. But I think the concept of watery, tasteless crisps infused with the hairy essence of unco-operative goat is far more entertaining.
3. Chilli and Chocolate
Things are getting a little odd from here on. And in third place, we have another competitor from that Walkers’ “Do Us a Flavour” promotion. Chilli and chocolate are an uncomfortable mix at best, but I can see that a nice bar of very dark chocolate, infused with a bit of chilli could work. But to then translate that already weird experience to a bag of potato chips? Wrong in so many ways. Chips and chilli work fine together, chocolate and chilli can work, as discussed. But all three?
The inventor, Catherine Veitch defended her creation, saying “Chilli and chocolate might sound like a crazy idea for a crisp, but the combination is actually scrumptious. Spicy heat with a cocoa kick!” The public respectfully disagreed and the innovative flavor lost out to Builder’s Breakfast.
2. Pepsi and Chicken
We’re back in China for another crazy flavor of Lays. It’s Pepsi and chicken! While it might sound stomach-turning, it’s actually not such a strange idea – after all, cooking meat in soda is starting to catch on (pork in Dr Pepper, sausages in Coke). Caramelizing chicken wings in Pepsi is a common occurrence in Chinese cooking, which makes sense as they often combine sweet flavors with meaty ones. The advert plays on this, with a man rushing out to buy Pepsi for his girlfriend, only for her to pour it all over the chicken wings she’s cooking.
So, it all makes sense, but still…I challenge you to look at that packet, with greasy-looking chicken wings being dunked into a nice glass of Pepsi. Can you really look at it and not feel a little bit nauseous? Thought not! Don’t worry, you’re not alone….!
1. Cajun Squirrel
And the last one from that infamous flavor competition, here’s how to give a snack that hint of roadkill – Cajun Squirrel! The whole thing was bewildering – Walkers said that “no squirrels were harmed in the making of this crisp”, which suggests that they somehow synthetically recreated the taste of squirrel. But how did they know what it tasted like without harming any? Surely the whole thing wasn’t just attention-grabbing, was it? They probably surmised that it tasted like chicken, so used that as a base before smothering it with cajun spices to make it actually taste of something.
The end flavor was passable, as long as you could get the images of terrified woodland creatures out if your mind. But some disagreed, with journalist Charlie Brooker saying “They taste precisely like a tiny cat piping hot farts through a pot-pourri pouch into your mouth”. A wacky step too far, and not a winner in any sense…until now. Our number one most bizarre flavor of potato chip – enjoy the victory, Martyn Wright of Staffordshire!