Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Consider This a Public Service Announcement

"You can't eat just one... Lagi bet!"

Lay's slogan in India

No. I don't know what 'lagi' means in Hindi, or in whatever dialect it is written.

I fancy myself as a connoisseur of junk food, and every time a something new appears in the processed victual market (euphemisms; gotta love 'em), I have to try it no matter what.

Yesterday, on my nightly routine trip to the Nandini Milk Parlour Convenience Store which is practically situated right outside my house1, I spotted this sitting on the chips' rack;

Lay's Mint
It seemed like a good idea at that time.

I'm a huge fan of Lay's potato chips, and it's a good thing that they only cost about 20 rupees (RM 1.70) per big bag here in India. At the standard Malaysian price (the last time I checked), I'd bankrupt my parents by December at the rate I'm stuffing my face with them here.

Another thing I'm really (really, really, really) fond of is mint. On countless occasions, I was warned that mint can cause impotence in males. That's a crock of poppycock. Mint is actually recommended by herbalists to treat cases of "can't-get-it-up". You know what really cause impotence? Pumpkin seeds, that's what. And smoking. And sauna.

Mint is manhood, man!

When I was in Malaysia, I always had a pack of Cloret's Optimints somewhere in my pockets and you can see me popping one (or two at a time) every minute of the day. Here in India, I feed my addiction with Altoids ("The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Mints") but I do so at a much more sedate pace because a single teeny, pocket-size tin of it costs several nuclear bombs. Mint tea, mint-cream cakes, naan with mint sauce, mint-sauce-smothered lamb - so long as it got mint in it, it has a free pass into my gut.

But mint flavoured potato crisps? Do I dare?

I did.

As soon as I ripped the bag open, a heavenly aroma wafted up to me. I spent a few seconds with my eyes close, just basking in the fragrant, minty scent - not unlike some uppity wine taster inhaling the bouquet from a glass of Chardonnay from a particularly good year. With fastidious fingers, I selected a well-shaped piece, gave it the merest shake to discard excess salt, and popped it ceremoniously into my mouth.

I expected the chips to have nothing more than a slight hint of mint (haha, hint of mint) but they were positively soaked in minty freshness, with a soft chorus of light Indian spices in the background. It's very similar to the savoury mint sauce we usually get with some Indian dishes. Good.

But after the initial flavour glow faded, the chips betrayed an unpleasant masala aftertaste. Not good.

I'm perfectly fine with most Indian cuisines, but for some reason or other, I can never get used to the taste of masala. Once, I bought a packet of masala flavoured Lay's - it's in a blue bag with the legend Magic Masala emblazoned boldly across its front. I only ate two pieces before I dumped the whole packet onto my roommate. The only thing "Magic" about it was that it's the first snack food to ever taste bad enough for me not to finish it.

I give Lay's Mint Mischief potato chips a 5 out of 10. It's a novelty to try, but it's not something I'll buy every time.

Damn, I'm a food critic now!

Now that we're on the subject of food and breath-freshening edibles;

fennel seeds
Some stuff they give you after your meals in India.

See those green, rice-shaped pellets in the picture above? Those are fennel seeds. You get a free dip into the communal plate after every meal in most eateries here in Manipal. The keyword here is 'communal'. Hundreds of people probably touch those seeds everyday. Half of them probably scratched their unmentionables right before they touch them.

And see that grimy piece of yellow paper there with a spot of oil in its middle? That's the bill for my meal. That's what they do with every customer's bill - they stick it into the 'communal' plate of fennel seeds and plunk it under their noses after they are done eating. Chances are, the waiter probably scratched his unmentionables too right before he handed me that plate and bill.

Fennel seeds supposedly freshens the breath when you chew on them. And it is said to have a diuretic effect as well (diuretic means "more pee", if you don't know that).

I rather take my chance with bad breath, Thank You Very Much.

Remember, only YOU can stop the next super-flu epidemic!

Or in the local vernacular;

Remember, YOU only can stop the next super-flu epidemic!2

Trying on a new shade of lame,
k0k s3n w4i

1 Now you've discovered the reason why it's so difficult for me to pretend to stick to any diet plan
2 I know it's unkind to make fun of other people's verbiage, but it still cracks me up every time one of my lecturers says that. Sorry.


pinksterz said...

i hate mint. they make my nose as if it is burning for period.

but mint tea is nice tho' :)

innshan said...

i bought one packet earlier too.
it taste bad..i don't like it.
taste like car wax.

KitSze said...

Half of them probably scratched their unmentionables right before they touch them.

LOL. I found that line really hilarious.

I was tempted to buy a packet yesterday, but I didn't cos I'm supposed to be on a diet, remember? But from the sounds of it, I'm not so keen anymore. Do u hav leftovers? Remember to save some for me the next time u buy some :)

fuolornis said...

Finally i found someone having the same liking as me.
I like mint tea, mint sweets, mint sauce and whatever stuff that has mint in it

I have yet to try the Lays.

Oh. Instead of the green fennel seeds, you ought to try the one coated with sugar (comes in white). I can give u some if u want. I have 1kg of those in my room

gaL said...

Here like dun have mint flavoured Lay's leh... Hope u dun mind tapau-ing some back the next time u flying home! ^^ It's damn cheap thr, so need kira so much la rite? hahaha!

michelleg said...

omg, lays are so cheap in india!! it costs like wat rm7 here in msia. freaking expensive.

k0k s3n w4i said...

that's precisely why I like mint. I like wasabi too for the same reason. Heavenly~

but yet you managed to help me finish my Magic Masala Lays. I thought that's a lot worse?

Diet scmhiet... So was I! But I bought one anyway.
Save for you? by the time I give you become lao hong d, la. You got a boyfriend right? you ask him to buy one packet, let you try one, then make him eat the rest. I thought that's what boyfrens are for?

Mint rocks! Mint brothahood!
SUgar coated? You got to let me have some if I drop by! you really like the stuff that much?

Then you wait one year++ for it la, okay? XD . I staying here for the next two hols to travel India.

I think Lay's is made locally. It's pretty tough to get Pringles and Mr. Potato here though.

Rabbit said...

so..ahems! so er... is it because u are not manly enough, thats why u like mint so much? *faitit jau!!!*

baby sa said...

oh so that mint myth was fake...
i was so impressed when my friend told me once...

k0k s3n w4i said...

wrong way of thinking. it should be that I'm very man now for eating so much mint for so long!

@baby sa
Yea, it's fake. the first thing I did when someone told me that was to check its veracity.
Impressed? seemed like the wrong sort of feeling to have...

aya said...

hint of mint. hahahahaa

dat verse damn funny and cute and twisted.

hint of mint. XD

am i the onli one that finds that amusing? :P

k0k s3n w4i said...

I dunno. but i like that phrase myself. and if u run a google search on it, you'll find that many, many other people thinks it's cool too.

twisted? you must be thinking of something I'm too innocent to imagine.