Back away slowly, America. These flavors — they are not for your ilk. Do not follow me into madness, for that way lies Mountain Dew flavored Cheetos and more than 127 million Japanese people.
Do not blame me for bringing this insanity upon us — my desperate hunger for new snacking experiences is an entity of its own, operating independently of any rational thought I may possess. Blame it, if you must. Or blame the J-List for making them available for purchase. Blame Tina Amini, who first alerted me to their presence and claims I never give her enough credit — here, Tina — the credit is all yours.
To the left, Mountain Dew. To the right, Mountain Dew Cheetos, sitting unassumingly in a container which, in America, is primarily used for Cup-O-Soup. If only it was.
Instead, it is a thing. A thing that normally goes well with the thing it sits next to, only now it's mimicking that thing for some sinister, Single White Female-esque purpose. They were the perfect pair, but one had to change. Now it's peanut butter and jelly, with peanut butter-flavored jelly. Ham and cheese with ham-cheese. Hall and Oates, only this Oates is taller, skinnier, blonde, and lacks a proper mustache.
Odds are you know the taste of Mountain Dew in its natural form. It's sweet, syrupy and just the slightest bit citrus-y. If you've not tasted it, we should throw you a f***ing party or something, Dr. Special Person, because you're made of magic. In fact, there is a party in your honor going on in the next room. We'll wait.
That was a room filled with angry, poisonous snakes. Brutal, sure, but still better than being intimately familiar with the taste of Mountain Dew we can all agree, and I refuse to imagine we cannot, to the point of self-delusion.
Since we all know the taste of Mountain Dew the beverage, it is easy to describe the taste of Mountain Dew the Cheetos — a lot like the soda, only slightly sharper, mildly sweeter, and with a crispy crunch that's the most out-of-place sensation in the entire universe.
Mountain Dew should not crunch. It should quickly pour down your throat, skipping over as many taste buds as it can in the process. Teeth should not have to be involved here. It's the crunch that should not be.
Imagine you've just broiled yourself a delicious steak (the vegetarians and vegans in the audience can imagine they are in another room, not having rocks thrown at them). Cooked to perfection, juices flowing, steam rising. You slice through it with your serrated steak knife, fashioning the perfect mouth-sized cube of beef. You raise your fork, taking it into your mouth — and it slides down your throat like oyster jelly.
That is the shock of Mountain Dew Cheetos.
The citrus taste is there, sweet and almost powdery. The carbonation is strong — that's right, these are carbonated Cheetos, sparkling in your mouth as if you'd just licked a Twilight vampire. The sharp tang quickly gives way to the meek, defeated sweetness of a stale breakfast cereal. The aftertaste is not unlike what your mouth tastes like after a fruity mixed drink bender and the resulting explosion of color-coded sick.
This one is for any American who's ever looked across the ocean towards Japan wistfully, dreaming of a land filled with colorful snack boxes with unintelligible markings on them. I know the ache — the desperate longing to taste the flavors that for some reason are forbidden to us. Know that in many cases we are not being punished — we are being protected.
Snacktaku is Kotaku's take on the wild and wonderful world of eating things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands. Past critiques can be found at the Snacktaku review archive.