Chopsticks + Marrow, written by Joe DiStefano, covers food both inside and outside of Queens. He’ll be joining us here on QueensNYC each Thursday.
Lobster, squid, and crab—the sour cream and onion and BBQ of Thailand
A while back I participated in Lay’s Do Us A Flavor, a social media campaign to create bold new flavors for the most American of snacks, the potato chip. My flavors were “Banging Bánh Mì,” and “Ghostface Killah,” the former modeled after a classic Vietnamese sandwich and the latter filled with fiery goodness of the bhut jolokia, or ghost pepper. Sadly these two creations did not make the cut. They were edged out by Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, and Sriracha.
I haven’t been able to find the Do Us A Flavor finalists out my way yet, but I found something even cooler at Thai Thai Grocery: a trio of spicy seafood-flavored chips from Lay’s Thailand. I handed over $7.50 and was soon in possession of the Hot Chili Squid, Lobster Hot Plate, and Hot and Spicy Crab flavors.
Armed with a bottle of Diet Coke as a palate cleanser, I set to work to give these funky, fishy chips a Taste Drive. Opening up the bag of Hot Chili Squid unleashed a big whiff of dried squid aroma. The ridged chips taste like a cross between BBQ chips and dried squid. Given that the package is adorned with flames, I was surprised they didn’t really ignite my palate.
Next up, Lobster Hot Plate, or as the nutrition label reads “lobster frying pan hot taste.” These unruffled chips smell vaguely like shellfish and had a tad more heat than their squiddy cousin. Not much lobster flavor here. Last up was a another smooth chip, Hot and Spicy Crab. These have a nice crab flavor and a good amount of heat. Thankfully they tasted nothing like the Swiss cheese depicted on the package.
If I had to pick a favorite it would be the squid one, but only because I’m partial to a crunchier chip. The real winner is anyone with access to the full range of Lay’s Thailand chips,which include Peking Duck and another bearing the word “Shuck,” along with what looks to be red chilies and crawdads. I’d like to go on record as saying that Lay’s Thailand can have my “Banging Bánh Mì,” flavor. All I ask in exchange is a lifetime supply of chips.
Thai Thai Grocery Store, 76-13 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst, NY 11373 (GMAP), 917-769-6168