Zapp's Voodoo Chips

In Praise of Zapp's Voodoo Chips

From Cheerwine soda to Del's Lemonade, I'm a sucker for regional food products. For years now, I've been hearing about Zapp's Chips, the famous kettle-style chips that hail from Louisiana — and for years, they've eluded me.

That is, until yesterday, when I happened upon them at the bodega below our office. I stopped in to buy a pre-workout energy bar. There, amongst a sea of sallow yellow Lay's bags, was one single, lone package of Zapp's Chips — in the legendary Voodoo flavor, no less.

What is a bag of Voodoo chips, one might ask? Read on to find out.

On the back of the chip bag, Ron and Anne Zapp offered their own explanation of the limited-edition flavor:

No, Zapp's isn't getting into the "Black Arts," it's just our new mystery "Limited Edition" flavor. Voodoo flavor is a result of an accident. An employee was moving a pallet of spices off the top shelf and dropped it. While cleaning up, someone stuck their finger into the mixture of about 5 flavors and pronounced it great. We recreated it in our lab and, like gumbo, it's an "everything in the kitchen" flavor. Just for fun, we had a name the flavor contest at Zapp's Annual International Beerfest in Baton Rouge, and the winner was Mike Hayes of Gonzales, Louisiana.

At last, I gave into temptation, tearing open the bag. I was overcome by the chips and their slightly sweet, ever-so-sour, Cajun-spiced scent. They looked a little like barbecue-flavored Lay's but hardly tasted as such: the chips, slightly thicker than standard potato chips, elicited a shattering crunch, but with a softer landing on the tooth.

In flavor, these chips weren't nearly as spicy as I'd imagined them. Rather, it was akin to barbecue chips having a baby with salt and vinegar. These chips, with their sweet-sour pickle tang, hit the back corners of my salivary glands just so and left a lingering caramel note. It seemed anatomically impossible to stop eating them.

The bag proudly proclaimed itself "Super Size 2 oz," but I could've just as easily polished off a super-sized 20 ounce. Now, the only challenge is where to find them.

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