They say if don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, but Medora Snacks was sure on to something when they decided to take the classic snack, popcorn, and re-engineer it into a completely different form. The result is Popcorners: “popped corn chips” purporting to be “functionally munchable and crunchable as a chip“, but are, as a matter of fact, popcorn. Taking on a “better-for-you” stance, Popcorners is also marketed as a somewhat healthier alternative that features the same “wholesome goodness” of popcorn. This claim can be called into question, but it’s hard to deny that they’re unique, and they’re delicious. Over the years they’ve succeeded in expanding their line and garnering a good set of followers—and they’ve managed to make their way to our shores, available through Rustan’s Supermarket, Chef Tony’s outlets, and Healthy Options (from which we got our packs) at P 45 for a small bag.
Said to be not baked, nor fried, but popped in the shape of a triangle (via “proprietary machining“—uh, okay), Popcorners are certainly unique. But we’ve found a similar snack with which it can very well be compared: Granny Goose’s Pop’n Chips, which also peddles itself as popped (“not fried”!) corn chips. Pop’n Chips only comes in two flavors, one of which has a direct counterpart from the Popcorners arena—Jalapeno & Cheese. Much cheaper than Popcorners however (at P 11 a bag) and available at more major supermarkets, could it deliver the same one-of-a-kind popcorn chip goodness at a fraction of the price?
Popcorners: Cheesy Jalapeno
Triangular in shape like a nacho, but with a wrinkly surface and the off-white hue of popcorn, Popcorners offers a good, hearty crunch that requires grinding down with the teeth. Those accustomed to the greasiness of potato chips might find it dry, and we’ll admit it feels tiring on the jaws to chew on after one too many pieces. But the relative lack of saltiness feels refreshing—while it steers the chip to the side of being maybe a bit too wholesome, it also allows the characteristic nuttiness of popcorn to come through. The seasoning—a mild, but milk-heavy cheesiness that seamlessly weaves in the freshness of jalapeño—is minimal. But it does the job, and the heat builds up subtly, fully warming the tongue at the end.
Granny Goose Pop’n chips: Please, Please, Jalapeno & Cheese
One look and it’s clear these are different, coming in a fiery orange hue practically screaming to be noticed. Take a bite and you’ll notice they feel far lighter and puffier—they’re still on the crunchy side, sure, but require much less effort to chew on. There’s less of the concentrated corn-ness you find in Popcorners (likely due to it being more puffed), but these chips deliver a more intense dose of flavor that has us licking our fingers. We can’t say it actually reminds us of cheese or jalapeño; rather, you get a remotely milky, salsa-y flavor that fuses salty, tangy, spicy and sweet. But what does it matter? This is tasty, tasty stuff that will have you digging back into the bag.
Popcorners and Pop n’ Chips deliver two distinct takes on a similar idea. Both have their strong points: Popcorners, though subdued in taste, offers a crispier, more satisfying bite; Pop’n Chips, though not as crunchy, packs tons of flavor that covers all ends of the taste spectrum. If you’re after the unique bite of Popcorners, Pop’n Chips might not fit the bill and you may as well save your cash for the real thing. But if you’re after an all-around tasty snack that’s great any time of day, Pop’n Chips definitely deserves a spot in your grocery basket.