Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wai Lana Yogi Chips Whole Grain Sweet Chili & Lime

Having just received by Mom-in-person-delivery a foursome of exotic chips, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I eagerly ripped open Wai Lana’s Sweet Chili and Lime Yogi chips.  They were indeed depicted on the packaging in some detail, but I couldn’t tell if they were corn chips or rice crackers from the resolution of the cover image.  When I produced my first crisp from the bag, little did I realize that I was in store for some cinnamon toast crunch flashbacks.

Cinnamon Toast crunch
in all its buttery glory!
Yogi chips- note their
significant girth in comparison
to my thumb, and their similarity
to you-know-what.  No, not
I say this with fondness rather than any deep set trauma.  Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal flakes are basically dimpled rectangles of wheat and rice, richly lathered with a crystalline coating of sparkling sugar and cinnamon in a genuinely eye pleasing river of sweetness.  They were exactly the kind of unhealthy over-sweetened cereal that my mom would never have permitted within a mile of the kitchen cabinet, so that I had to wait until a study abroad trip in Poland in a host’s pantry to do the dirty, sugar-coated deed.  They were expensive as cereals went in Poland, costing about a $1.60 (5 zloty at the time), but I made sure to acquire more along with the pierogies, golumpki, and zurek.

As you may have intuited, the Yogi chips feature the same light-weight crunchy texture, (in this case made with corn and tapioca of all things!), though larger on average at around 3 centimeters long and 2 wide.  And yes, they are coated with a river of South Asian themed spices which truly entice the eye and promise rapturous orgies of tingling spice and sugar.

Like this, but more full of spice.  Yet, for all the glitter and
glamour, you may find the decadent pleasures taste hollow
on the inside.
Alas, these sweet promises were, quite lierally, not to be realized.  While the crisps are delightful to crunch and surprisingly substantial, the flavoring seems to dance around the edges of the tongues but never delivers a clear statement of sweet or salty on the center (and you do remember the lessons on the functioning of various taste buds from elementary school, right?)  These are not sweet chips with chili, but flavored with ‘sweet chili’- apparently a major difference. 

Like a historical movie epic that boasts excellent production values and a truly exotic setting but fails to deliver much of a main plot, the chips have a lot charming aspects despite their major central shortcoming.  There are delightful side plots, flavorful notes of ginger and the titular sweet pepper, a mild but tantalizing spicy tingle in the back of the throat, a generally tropical atmosphere of ambient lime juice, and an undercurrent of very mild sweetness.

Indian Jones 5: Jaws versus ET.  Which
one will the mega-shark swallow first?
But for all the beautiful trimmings, there is no main story.  They are not sweet chips, nor are they salty chips- they are plain chips with a few spicy accents and notes, but no main theme.  Give me a nicely leit-motif ridden 1980s John Williams over the unrelated discordance of an avant garde movie score!  As such, I can imagine they might appeal to some that dislike strong seasonings, but wouldn’t mind some more subtle spicy accents.  Those who demand a definitive statement of sweetness or saltiness should look elsewhere, though.

The packages boasts that the chips have 40% less fat and made of whole grain, and indeed at 105 calories (of which 1/3 are fat) these are markedly more healthy when compared to regular chips.  The ingredient list is also as distinguished as a supporting British ensemble cast for an action movie: Mung Beans, chili, sea salt, natural lime juice.  The only mystery is how they failed to produce something more exciting with such organic talent at its disposal, but the movie industry does it all the time, eh?

We can only imagine that behind
that inscrutable, emotionless mask
lies a soul seething with inner
turmoil.  Or drugs.
All in all, I rated these somewhat leniently with an average score.  Just as I feel a certain appreciation for the Matrix Revolutions, for all of its many disappointment, these crisps, aside from their major fault in lacking a strong central flavor, are genuinely unique in their cereal-like glory, relatively healthy, and feature some compelling supporting performances even if the dramatic lead blasés Keanu.  Anybody looking for crunchy and plain whole grain crisps with a small side of exotic spices may soon find themselves bending spoons with their mind and dressing up like a latex-fetishist.  Yoga is supposed to give you super powers after all, and nothing can make the world bend to your will like absolute self confidence and the inability to be embarassed.

Stars: 2/4
Spiciness Rating: Mild

- Delightfully light but crunchy corn-and-tapioca texture reminiscent of cereal
- Beautiful sparkling coating of salt and spices slathered along the length of fairly large crisps
- Elegant notes of lime, ginger, salt, and spicy chili pepper

- No major sweet or salty flavor-despite the supporting spices, the chips are predominantly bland rather than one or the other


  1. my dear
    i would like to get some info regarding types & prices of the chipsier.
    please if i axpted on my servy
    will do a very good deal with you .
    please feed me back ASAP
    many thanks
    Ibrahim Shaban
    Tabark export & import company

  2. Hello Ibrahim,

    Unfortunately, I don't have your email adress to reply to- send me an email at blackmoose42@yahoo.com and explain to me in more detail what sort of chip-related information you're looking for and I'll see if I can help you!


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