CrackleChips’ Bicol Crunch Chips Will Make You Forget All About the Salted Egg TrendJune 26, 2017
Move over, salted egg: we’ve found a relative newcomer with a unique flavor we’ve never seen on any other chip. Think of the creaminess of coconut milk cradling the tongue, the intriguing pungency of bagoong, the fruitiness and heat of siling labuyo, and a hint of sweetness that tickles the senses—but in a crunchy, crackly, dangerously-hard-to-stop-once-you-pop format. Yup, it’s the flavor medley that defines a classic Bicol express, and now you can have it as a potato chip—great for munching on pretty much any place and any time of day, plate and utensils optional.
“I have always loved potatoes,” shares CEO (that is, “Chip Executive Officer”) John Wong, proclaiming his love for the tuber’s earthiness, its ability to carry other flavors, and its versatility. “The very first dish I learned how to cook was mashed potatoes . . . [and] later I moved to cooking fries and eventually potato chips [in the third grade].” He admits that they would hardly ever keep snacks in the Wong household, requiring him to actually cook up his own munchies anytime he felt the need for a casual afternoon nosh. His go-to recipe? Fresh potato chips with a side dip, which he would typically make with mayonnaise or ketchup plus other ingredients in the pantry. Feeling that fresh, real potato chips were relatively under-appreciated locally—as compared to its cassava, banana, or sweet potato counterparts—he, along with CTO (Chip Tasting Officer) Catherine Cancio, thought to create their very own line of potato chips, and thus CrackleChips was born.
“CrackleChips was really born out of the need for more honest and local snacks, especially here in the Philippines,” shares Cancio. While potato chips are simple at its core, the two would come to discover that the process of actually making their ideal chip wasn’t as easy as they thought. They spent a month on their quest, meticulously perfecting the frying technique (“[it] drove us nuts!”). In the process they would discovering that some potatoes are better than others (“each variety has its own sugar and starch content which significantly affects the quality of the chips,” she explains). Also crucial, they would find, was the way the spuds were cut (“the thickness [plays] a key role in delivering the perfect crunch”, she elaborates). And past the chip part, the two aspired to put the same level of care in developing the flavors, carefully narrowing down the selection to tastes that were familiar, yet unique, and ensuring they are made in-house with real ingredients whose names you can recognize (and pronounce!).
After multiple experiments, Wong and Cancio were able to nail their ideal potato snacks, made with a base chip of local potatoes from Benguet, fried in coconut oil and coming in a small but succinct line of flavors all worth a spot in your snack drawer.
The Himalayan Salt variant is the most minimalist of the lot. By no means is it your run-off-the-mill salted potato chip, however, having been made with the eponymous type of salt which they had selected over others for the way it adheres to the chip (“[it works] better than regular salt”) and its flavor (a “subtle saltiness balanced with pleasant mineral notes”). And in spite of its name, the resulting chips are far from tasting too “salty”, holding just enough seasoning to highlight the Benguet potato’s natural earthiness and nuttiness while still allowing it to through.
If you must have your salted egg chips, you’ll be happy to know that the still-trendy flavor finds its way in their lineup as well—and an especially good version at that. While there are tons of other brands on the market, CrackleChips makes it a point to stand out by applying utmost care to their own version. Not only do they use their own fresh chips, ensuring a quality base they have full control over before the flavor even goes on: “we [also] coat each chip by hand and handle them delicately to make sure that most chips are still kept intact [with] no crushed chips, [and] we use a generous amount of crushed curry leaves to even out the flavor throughout,” Cancio shares. You’ll find a generous coat of herb-flecked yolk-y goodness in chip that feels like snow on the tongue before melting into the rich, creamy consistency that only real salted egg yolks can offer.
And then of course there is the Bicol Crunch, a flavor inspired by a business trip Wong had taken to the region where he would fall in love with the regional specialty known as Bicol express. “It was so good that I wanted to capture that flavor in a snack,” he shares. It took a couple of trials before they found a flavor blend they’d be happy with, but they found that it’d paid off—”especially when we see the reactions of people when they first try it.” True enough, this is one flavor is one you won’t find anywhere else—an unusual-sounding one, at that. But it works, thanks to the one-of-a-kind way it balances sweetness, saltiness, creaminess, and heat—making for a dynamic, multidimensional sensation that progresses as you munch and crunch, chip after chip, until you realize you’ve reached the bottom of the tub.
With our passion for developing exciting flavors and delivering the perfect crackle, we strive to be the household local potato chip name that we envision could compete globally.
“[In] starting CrackleChips, we hope to shed more light on our local potato industry and showcase that we can enjoy and be proud of locally-made potato chips . . . We want to build up a distinctly Filipino potato chip brand using only premium ingredients,” shares Wong. “The more people demand high quality local food, [the more] chefs [will be] prompted to work closely with the farmers to stabilize and improve the quality of crops . . . [and so] I am hoping that by loving and buying local, we eventually get access to high quality produce on our own shores.”
Fresh, kettle-cooked potato chips made in-house with Benguet potatoes and coconut oil and flavored with real ingredients.