Working at a large tech company on the West Coast can be daunting at times. You pass by people from different departments for months before knowing their names. This is fine, until somebody asks you to have a meeting via email and you have to ask people, “Who the hell is Ping?” without seeming like a total idiot. (I’ve learned that asking where they sit is less embarrassing, especially after a renovation).
Basically, I feel like a cog in a machine, albeit a sexy cog. Surrounded by various other cogs. But today, this sexy lil cog sat itself down in the heart of the machine: the dining room. As the other cogs cogged along, some stopped in their tracks to ask what exactly was going on with all these chips, and then accepted my offer to join the taste test. So many people partook I just made this Flamin’ Hot challenge a numbers game. 7 different chips claiming to be “flamin’ hot.” Well, let’s see which one is the spiciest.
Fritos® Flamin’ Hot®: While this is not not the spiciest of the bunch, a few coworkers who enjoy a good corn chip favored the flavor of Frito chip overall. Also, to its credit, there is a heat that settles in after the initial corny taste.
Lay’s® Flamin’ Hot®: The Lays chip is surprisingly sweet. This only received one vote for hottest chip, but I noted a change in flavor depending on the amount of powder. It’s quite an inconsistent snack. Also, while these chips are produced by Frito Lay – like the rest of them, Lay’s doesn’t note if it’s Flamin’ Hot® branded flavor on the bag. Not sure how I feel about that.
Funyuns® Flamin’ Hot®: Nobody found these the hottest of the seven, but it is a well-received snack. I mean, they’re Funyuns! They still have the onion chip flavor, but compete with some flamin’ deliciousness, so you can’t really pin your breath down.
Munchies® Flamin’ Hot®: These received some fair votes, but once again, it’s a different experience. Pretzels emit barely any flavor (as always), while the Dorito actually packs a punch. Not to mention, the spice is on a different level than the others: You can actually get a hint of jalapeno or pepper or some other flavoring.
Cheetos® Crunchy Flamin’ Hot®: What is there to say about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? These are a crowd favorite and may actually be the OG contendor, as in “Can any of these beat Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot?” The crunch on these oddly shaped snacks is definite, although not as crunch as the Funyuns. This one packs a punch.
Cheetos® Puffs Flamin’ Hot®: Wow! Not to throw off this unbiased reporting with superfluous exclamation marks, but these just look beautiful. Consistent, dark red with very few broken bits and half-chips in the bag. These have an increased surface area for the Flamin’ Hot dust. Still has that classic puffs texture.
Chester’s® Flamin’ Hot® Fries: These just aren’t that hot. There, I said it. I was recently turned on to this type of snack with its lovely texture by Andy Capps’ Hot Fries. It’s crunchy as hell and a great for snacking. I bet after many handfuls the heat would build, but this one doesn’t compare to the rest of the contenders.
This came as a bit of a surprise for me. I figured with all the flavors and textures, somebody could have bested Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’t Hot. Perhaps I shouldn’t think of this as newcomers in the Flamin’ Hot game trying to best the OG big poppa of spicy snacks, but rather, incorporating the inspiration in their own repertoire. For example, who would’ve known Funyuns could taste delicious, even whilst spicy and bright red. Well, until Flamin’ Hot Cheetos came along, we only could have guessed it.
Now, I hope you notice the majority of these bags tout a “New Bigger Size!” Well, looking at the shape Americans’ asses are in … we don’t need any of our foodstuffs to be larger. Substitute “asses” with any of the following: arteries, waistlines, blood pressures, thighs, bellies, fupas, muffin tops, chins, diabetes. Some of these bags lie in the 700-calorie range, which would have been a good fact for me to check before eating along with the participants. Oh well, I guess I can burn some calories walking around Costco or laughing at Jay Leno’s insipid remarks.
Please, for the love of Gaia, do not eat a whole bag. Even if it’s delicious Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Don’t even buy it. Just look at the bag and check out how much fun Chester is having, both breathing and walking in engorged flames. Live vicariously through him and do not consume a whole bag of any of these items.
Cheeto’s® Crunchy Flamin’ Hot® Nutrition Info (per bag)
|Calories||680, 34% DV|
|Total Fat||44g, 68% DV|
|Sodium||1,000mg, 40% DV|
*These calculations are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which is indulgent and wholly unrealistic.