There’s an Asian food market neighboring the laundromat, so when I browsed around there after finishing laundry last weekend, I spied a Doritos flavor that I had never tasted before. Thai Pepper Chicken, it’s called. Last night, along with my girlfriend, we dove into it.
As a fair note of warning, I am a thoroughly amateur snackologist, so apologies for any oversights or faults in execution on my part. However, hopefully my best shot at a first attempt still has some value in it.
So, upon getting this single-serve bag of chips, the very first thing one might notice—what is apparent even in the brightness-challenged picture above—is how shiny it is. And when they go to feel it, their initial suspicions become all the more confirmed: They didn’t use the thin foil that bags of chips, cheese doodles, and Doritos are usually made up. This is that thick foil, making it more of a challenge to open up.
Once opened, I expected some immediate rush of a scent, but surprisingly, that never arrived. Sandra and I actually had to bring the chips pretty close to our faces in order to smell anything. It’s a soft aroma, one that reminded us both of instant ramen broth dust before hot water is added to the cup noodles. Not the kind of thing I’d immediately expect from a Thai-related flavor, but intriguing nonetheless.
One of the other surprises was how the chip looked itself. The bag may be false advertising in action; it suggests a chip with some depth of color, yet what we actually get is this.
That is a good deal lighter than what we were expecting! Not that it’s an inherently bad thing in terms of setting exectations. If anything, the deeper orange-ness of the chips on the bag left open a big possibility that maybe the flavor will be a tad bit overbearing. The chip as it really presents itself, though, assuages those concerns.
True to form, once we both tasted the Thai Pepper Chicken Doritos, their flavor ended up being significantly more on the subtle side than powerful. It tastes somewhat like an instant ramen soup broth—a bit beefier rather than chicken-y—combined with the slightest hint of spice (not even on the level of Spicy Nacho) and some sweet undertones. It concludes, after the chips are done, with an aftertaste that’s kind of meaty. I didn’t mind it at all, but maybe others would find that weird.
One thing that these Doritos do not quite seem to be, is especially reminiscent of Thai food...well, not how I understand it, at least. Since, ya know, I’m a white dude who may very well have narrow-ass experiences with Thai, it perhaps bears mentioning how that’s a perception borne mostly from the peanuttiness of the likes of pad thai and chicken sate, along with the coconut-infused flavors of curry. These Doritos don’t fall under that scope. The infusion of sweetness is perhaps the closest thing to a nod that I’d be able to pick up.
Update 10:34 pm EDT—Sulfy, a better judge of authenticity than me, can vouch for how the flavor is described as seemingly Thai-inspired, if subdued. I’d say that would be positive mark in its favor!
One thing that they DO seem to be, however, is tasty. I like them! Both of us do! It’s a markedly different experience than pretty much every other flavor of Doritos that I’ve ever had, and in a way that makes it positively stand out. Sandra already gave the perfect description of the Thai Pepper Chicken Doritos, so with her permission, I’m stealing it: These are the Doritos that you serve at a party to be the conversation starter, as everyone bears witness to their unusual, distinctive flavor.
It does not break into the top-tier Doritos flavors (Spicy Sweet Chili, then Nacho Cheese, then Cool Ranch, definitively speaking), but I would gladly pick these back up again on occasion. Considering how flatly unimpressed I have been with plenty of the other “unconventional”-but-also-not-as-out-there flavors of Doritos on offer, that is a great place to find itself.