Ah, another year, another line of limited-time only Lay’s flavors (Layvors, if you will) that leave everyone saying “yeah, ok.” 

Sometimes these flavors are so “yeah, ok” that they’re immediately forgotten as soon as they’re off the shelves.  Since 2019 was about 10 years ago, I had to do a quick search to remember if I even had any of last year’s flavors. And it turns out that between “Electric Lime and Sea Salt,” “Kettle Cooked Classic Beer Cheese,” and “Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix” (Hey, Lay’s? What the fuck??), the only one I had ever even seen in stores was the beer cheese one, and I didn’t get it for reasons I will explain later.  

But that was then, and this is now, so there’s four new flavors to take a look at, all inspired by regional favorites (like they do every other year), and I’m gonna rank them because this is a food blog, of course I’m doing that.  Spoiler alert, there isn’t anything as cursed as “Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix” this time around.

(Also, yeah, they “officially” released in July, but I haven’t seen them anywhere until now.)

#1: Carnitas Street Taco

Right off the bat, there’s heavy notes of cilantro and lime, with hints of onion.  And if you’re trying to differentiate “street taco” from “taco,” those are pretty important flavors to go after.  However, not even the alleged inclusion of pork fat, according to the ingredient label, brought anything that would make it specifically “carnitas” flavored.  My parents also said that they tasted some heat from the jalapeno that’s also in there, but I guess my tolerance for heat has been ruined by eating whole bags of Fuego Takis in one sitting.  The fact that it’s a wavy chip makes me want to dip it in guac, because wavy chips need a dip.  While this is my #1, I can understand how it may be dead last for some people who don’t like cilantro.  Just kidding, those people are wrong.

#2: Nashville Hot Chicken

Unlike the last one, this one isn’t subtle with the spice.  Which is good, because hot chicken is basically just cayenne flavored. The spice blend itself seems to also have a good amount of chili powder in it, giving it some earthier notes.  Surprisingly, this one does have a noticeable pork fat flavor to it (traditional hot chicken is made with lard in the sauce).  Also surprisingly, the spice doesn’t seem to build up as much over time, making it much easier to eat a whole bag in one sitting than, say, Fuego Takis. Not that anyone would do that.

#3: Kettle Cooked New York Style Pizza

I was more-or-less expecting these to taste like pizza Pringles, which is sorta a weird thing for me to say since I pretty much only eat that flavor if someone else buys it, so I don’t have the best memory of what that flavor is.  That is, until I tasted this chip, and instantly knew, “yes, this is that, but better.”  While other pizza chips kinda just taste vaguely zesty, these chips had a distinct tomato flavor that I would almost go as far as calling “fresh.” While these are very good chips in their own right, they just get kinda overshadowed by the more unique flavors mentioned above.  Also, I feel like the kettle chip might have been better suited for the hot chicken chip to simulate the fried exterior of the chicken, but that’s just me.

#4: Philly Cheesesteak

I just don’t like cheese flavored chips.  They all taste like the same processed, powdered cheddar cheese product, and this one is no exception.  This, paired with my general disinterest in beer, is why I never tried last year’s beer cheese chips.  Anyway, this one does also have notes of what I will call “if you bit into a beef ramen flavor packet, but also there’s no salt in it,” (how a cheese-based chip flavor ended up tasting undersalted, I will never know) so it still gets points for doing a better job of incorporating the beef flavor into the chip than 2016’s Brazilian Picanha chips.

There is a rumored fifth flavor, chile relleno, available only at Wal-Mart and 7-11, but there isn’t a 7-11 anywhere near me, and the Wal-Mart that is near me is a deathtrap.  It looks like it probably would’ve tasted like cheddar powder and vague spiciness, anyway.

I am so fucking dehydrated now.

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