Butter chicken. Scalloped potatoes. Cowboy BBQ beans. Montreal smoked meat. The four flavor finalists for Canada’s Lay’s Do Us A Flavor competition are good on paper. Not so much my mouth.

Just as its done for the past couple of years in the U.S., Lay’s brand hosts an annual competition in Canada in which citizens of that fine country come up with what they imagine might be good potato chip flavors. I’m sure they’re intentions were good. They are Canadian, after all. Friendly folk.

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The friendliest Canadian I know is reader Taurenrider who, sensing my annual pain at missing out on four additional chip flavors due to imaginary borders, mailed me a set of this year’s entries. Also a Mega Man cross stitch (see video).

Having tried all four flavors, I find myself questioning Taurenrider’s friendliness. In fact, I’m not all that sure about Canada as a whole.

I blame Montreal smoked beef (possibly a euphamism).

For those of you video impaired, here’s a quick rundown of each flavor.

Montreal Smoked Beef: It’s like a pastrami and ashtray sandwich. The mustard tang is nice, but they went way too heavy on the smoke and pepper. The beef is in the lingering aftertaste, which is not where it should be.

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Note that my wife didn’t mind the chips, but resented them for making her mouth feel like it had just eaten a tasty sandwich without actually having eaten one.

Scalloped Potatoes: Who would have thought potatoes could be made to taste like potatoes with too much cheese, salt and butter? There’s a kick to the spices that tries to trigger the sensation of warmth, but it just comes off as weird. The overall effect is like drinking a lukewarm cheesy butter latte.

Butter Chicken: Close, but no sari. This traditional Indian dish is filled with wonderful spices that really need the vehicle of chicken to fully resolve. On a flat chip they just fight and fade away. Would have been better wavy. Maybe kettle cooked. Or just a big plate of real butter chicken in a sack.

Cowboy BBQ Beans: There are cowboys in Canada, and eating BBQ beans is their second-favorite way to stay warm (according to my film research). These wavy chips are the closest Canada’s competition has to a winner. A nice balance of smoke and sweet and savory, with the chip coating delivering a clever hint of bean texture.

The Winner?

If I had to choose one of the four, Cowboy BBQ beans would get the nod, mainly for accuracy in depicting its inspiration. They really do taste just like cowboys.

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But since I make the rules here and don’t have to choose, Taurenrider wins! Next time you see him, take a big bite. Tell him Fahey sent you.

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.

To contact the author of this post, write to fahey@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @bunnyspatial. Maybe not in French.

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