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Chips, Crisps, Croustilles: A Global Tour of Unusual Potato Chip Flavors

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There’s a whole world of chip flavors out there that most of us have never even imagined. Here are some of the most interesting.

Australia:

Some of the most popular flavors of late sound quite tasty, or at least intriguing, including lime and pepper, sweet chili sauce & sour cream, honey soy chicken, kangaroo, emu and Caesar salad.

Image courtesy of avlxyz's Flickr stream.

Canada:

They may only be a border away from the snack food capital of the world, but they’re miles away when it comes to flavor varieties. A few different options include dill pickle, ketchup, wasabi, ham & mustard, spicy curry, pizza and, of course, poutine.

Image courtesy of lynx81's Flickr stream.

China:

When it comes to interesting snack food flavors, Japan and China are in a constant state of battle, but as far as potato chips go, China seems to have the lead. Japan can't compete with the fruit-flavored chips of China: kiwi, blueberry, mango and lychee are all on the shelves. As for non-fruit flavors, the country still has some delightfully unique options including braised pork, garlic soft-shelled crab, cheese lobster, hazelnut, spicy hot pot, hot & sour fish soup, lemon tea and cucumber.

Image courtesy of toehk's Flickr stream.

Egypt:

If you love Middle Eastern cuisine, then you’ll love Chipsy’s flavor line that includes kebab, stuffed grape leaves and Rumi cheese (above).

Image courtesy of Prince Roy's Flickr stream.

Germany:

The most famous flavor of potato chips in the country is beer, but they are actually not all that popular with the locals. More commonly, Germans prefer to eat paprika chips.

Image courtesy of ceris42's Flickr stream.

Greece:

For those with a soft spot for Greek food, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the country has incorporated a few of its favorite foods into its chip flavors, offering olive oil, lemon-vinegar-black pepper, mushrooms a la crème, mustard, Tzatziki and oregano flavors.

Image courtesy of daftgirly's Flickr stream.

India:

Their food is known for its spices and so are their potato chips. Popular flavors available in both India and Pakistan include mint, masala, coriander and red chili pepper.

Image courtesy of smee_me's Flickr stream.

Japan:

While China certainly leads the way with their fruit chips, Japan isn’t far behind. A few notable varieties include nori & salt, consommé, soy sauce & butter, garlic, mayonnaise, scallop with butter, teriyaki, yakitori, salmon sushi, clam chowder Doritos, hamburger and kimchi.

Image courtesy of kalleboo's Flickr stream.

The Netherlands:

Here we find some perfect flavors for people with the munchies. Lay’s offers quite a selection in the Netherlands, including spaghetti Bolognese, barbecued ham, Mexican herbs, Mediterranean herbs, Oriental spices, spareribs, Thai sweet chili, pepper & cream and chicken & thyme. Yum!

Image courtesy of wbpartridge's Flickr stream.

Russia:

Many Americans would love some of the flavors of our Cold War rivals. A few notable chip choices: bacon, shish kabob, crab, caviar and mushroom & sour cream.

Image courtesy of catorze14's Flickr stream.

South Africa:

If you like meat, then you’ll probably love some of the flavors of chips here including beef jerky and sausage. Of course, these flavors go great with sauces, so you might want to pair them with some chutney, hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce chips.

Image courtesy of mikemedia's Flickr stream.

Spain:

For the most part, Spain prefers their chips fried in olive oil and lightly salted, though there are slightly more gourmet varieties like pink Andean salt or sea salt & black pepper. Prosciutto-style ham is the country's second-bestselling flavor.

Image courtesy of scaredy_kat's Flickr stream.

Scandinavia:

Most of your flavor options this northern corner of Europe all sound pretty darn tasty: mushroom, horseradish, black pepper & spring onion, and pretty much anything with sour cream, including béarnaise. Things get weirder when chip companies try to mimic international flavors: Texas Grilled Cheese & Onion, the whimsical Kebab Dream (above), and Louisiana Style Hot BBQ are all available from Swedish brand OLW.

Image credit: Moa at twinkuss

The U.K.

While the residents of the United Kingdom seem to appreciate many of the same foods as Americans, their chip flavors tell a different story. Some of the many flavors of note include prawn cocktail, steak & onion, lamb & mint, sausage & ketchup, pickled onion, marmite, roast pork & mustard sauce, turkey & bacon, stilton & cranberry, roast beef & Yorkshire pudding, mozzarella with tomato & basil, beer & cheddar, paella, bratwurst, sausage & brown sauce, Cajun squirrel, chili & chocolate, duck & hoisin sauce and haggis. So if you really want some variety in your “crisps” and don’t want to leave the states, you can always head to your local British imports store and see what flavors they carry.

Image courtesy of Scorpions and Centaurs' Flickr stream.
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There are probably hundreds of weird potato chip flavors out there flying under our radar, so tell us what crazy things we missed. What’s the best and/or weirdest chip you've ever had? Have you ever tried one you thought would be gross, but ended up really liking?

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HuskeeCup
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Food
Drink Your Coffee Out of a Cup Made From Coffee Waste
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HuskeeCup

Your coffee habit isn’t exactly good for the environment. For one thing, 30 to 50 percent of the original coffee plant harvested (by weight) ends up as agricultural waste, and there aren’t many uses for coffee husks and pulp. While coffee pulp can be made into flour, and in Ethiopia husks are used to brew a type of coffee called bruno, typically most of the byproducts of your morning coffee go to waste.

Huskee has another use for coffee husks. The company makes stylish coffee cups, returning coffee back to its original home inside the husk, in a sense. The dishwasher-friendly and microwavable cups are made of husks from coffee farms in Yunnan, China. The material won’t burn your hands, but it keeps your coffee warm as well as a ceramic mug would.

A stack of black cups and saucers of various sizes on an espresso machine.
HuskeeCup

Designed for both home and restaurant use, the cups come in 6-ounce, 8-ounce, and 12-ounce sizes with saucers. The company is also working on a lid so that the cups can be used on the go.

Huskee estimates that a single coffee drinker is responsible for around 6.6 pounds of husk waste per year, which doesn’t sound like much until you begin to consider how many coffee lovers there are in the world. That’s somewhere around 1.49 million tons per year, according to the company. Though coffee husks are sometimes used for animal feed, we could use a few more ways to recycle them. And if it happens to be in the form of an attractive coffee mug, so be it.

A four-pack of cups is about $37 on Kickstarter. The product is scheduled to ship before February 2018.

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Big Questions
Jam vs. Jelly: What's the Difference?
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iStock

The language of fruit spreads is a peculiar one. Spreads made from the squeezed-out remnants of oranges, berries, grapes, and other mashed-up foods can easily be confused for one another, with jam vs. jelly being a particular source of befuddlement. Here’s how to keep them straight. 

Jelly is made solely from the juice of fruit. The fruit is crushed and strained, and the liquid extract is boiled with added sugar and pectin to produce a thick, spreadable topping. Jam is produced in a similar way, but with one important distinction: It’s not strained. The goop leaves in chunks of crushed fruit, giving the spread a more robust consistency. Because it’s already thick, preparations of jam typically don’t call for a whole lot of pectin. Think of it as the chunky peanut butter to jelly’s regular, even though you might not see whole pieces of fruit suspended in the product.

Sometimes people will call a spread a “fruit preserve.” While that might mean the fruit chunks are larger and more noticeable, that’s not always the case. You might also see marmalades that look suspiciously like jams. The distinction there is that marmalades are typically sourced from citrus fruits like oranges or lemons.

Things get a little trickier in the UK, where “jelly” can refer either to a fruit spread or to the gelatin concoction Jell-O. The country also has pretty strict standards for applying the jam label: Jams need to be a minimum of 60 percent sugar in order to earn that title. The rule was created in the 1920s so the spreads would have a longer shelf life. (Sugar, in this instance, acts as a preservative.) Reducing the amount of sugar, which has been discussed among people wishing to keep all of their teeth, might result in a longer boil process and some loss of flavor.

And what of fruit butters and conserves? Fruit butters are made using fruit pulp for thick spreads, but don’t actually contain any butter. Conserves add nuts or raisins for added texture. These rogue spreads aren’t as common as jelly or jam.

We hope this clears up any jam vs. jelly confusion and that you find yourself better-informed to deal with the next naked piece of toast you encounter.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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