The Guilty Pleasure: Two new flavors of Pringles. Where to Get It: Walmart, locations everywhere. Price: $1.50 a tube. What It Really Costs: See "Where to Get It".
There are certain signs that a trendy food is getting long in the tooth. One of the surest signs is when fast food and snack food R&D departments finally figure out how to make something taste like what was massively popular last year.
Case in point: The folks at Pringles have created two new varieties of Pringles. One is every hipster's favorite condiment, Sriracha. The other is everyone's favorite smoked meat product, bacon. Compared to their holiday flavors that have no business being on chips, these seem downright brilliant.
The biggest obstacle to picking up these new flavors is their location. You see, they're only available at Walmart. Some may not be able to cross that threshold. I persevered for you, dear readers.
Since I'm a dedicated carnivore, I went straight for the bacon flavored ones first. I took a gander at the ingredients list, and noticed as far as I can tell, these chips are technically vegan (depending on your opinion of whether white sugar is vegan, but boy is that ever another column). I also noticed quite a few umami-boosting ingredients (including yeast extract and good ol' MSG) and, for some reason, a trace of coffee.
When I opened the can, the aroma wasn't as much "bacon" as... "Beggin' Strips". Apparently my dog agrees, as he immediately came running over expecting a treat. I was relieved that the flavor was different from the scent, but the taste still left much to be desired. The main flavor was flavor enhancer overload. There's a little bit of smoke in there somewhere, but nothing about the chip says "bacon" to my taste buds. If someone gave me one of these chips and asked me to name the flavor, I'd be hard-pressed to name any specific flavor at all, let alone bacon.
That leaves us with the sriracha-flavored chips. The aroma of the freshly opened can reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then my friend told me: Chinese restaurant. Not the new wave of amazing authentic Chinese places that we Phoenicians currently enjoy, but the old order-by-number Americanized Chinese places.
Sriracha lovers will be glad to hear that Pringles did a hell of a lot better job with these than Lay's did with last year's sriracha-flavored Do Us a Flavor contest runner-up. The Pringles are one of the best chip flavors I've encountered. There's the required not-too-hot red pepper note, but there's also sriracha's backup flavors with garlic, some vinegar tang, and just a touch of sweetness.
See Also: Lay's Do Me A Flavor Taste Test (They're Back!)
While I was writing this article, I kept going back for more of the sriracha Pringles. These suckers have the potential to be wickedly addictive. How addictive? I'm seriously considering heading once more unto the breach and picking up a case or two before the limited-time flavors go away. Or maybe I'll buy enough of them that Pringles will consider keeping the sriracha on the permanent lineup.