Cheetos W Gourmet Corn Potage Soup

“It’s 4/20,” I said to Miss Love, “So I’m going to review this strange flavor of Japanese Cheetos.”
“They’ll like that, right?” I said with the apprehensive tone of a middle-aged father trying to pick out a hip-hop CD for his teenage son’s birthday. “They like bizarre combinations and things that come from Asia, right?” Well, while these contain neither hemp nor any advertisement, subliminal or otherwise, referring to or evoking Bob Marley, they are, like stoners, both fascinating and a hair creepy, so happy 4/20!
These chips came from Japan, sourced by J-List, and are part of the Frito-Lay Japan Cheeto “W” line. Not to be confused with the gourmet line of Cheetos, or the chocolate-covered Cheetos, or the Cheetos released that taste like all the different kinds of Korean cuisine, these double-your (“W”) your flavor by using twice the normal amount of flavor powder. Double your pleasure, double your pun, Japan. No word on whether some ambitious gamer has conducted a quantitative study as to exactly what the normal amount is and whether this is actually doubled, but suffice to say the class action lawsuit settlement alone would be enough to keep you rich in Cheeto dust fingers for your entire life and afterlife.
Oddly enough, the first thing that struck me about these wasn’t so much the powder, but the scent. It smelled like I’d accidentally wandered into a Denny’s or a state fairground, a sweet combination of maple syrup, fresh kettle corn, and oil wafting out of the bag. Not bad, but completely unexpected. Out of the bag, the Cheetos didn’t appear to have any more flavor powder than their standard, naked counterparts, and the powder was subtly colored rather than taking a page from the nuclear ‘merican ones we’ve come to know and love.
The flavor is curious. It tastes like sour cream and onion chips and Corn Pops met under normal circumstances, dated for a while, had some mutual differences that were impossible to overcome (she’s too sweet and cloying, he has an underlying musky scent like he doesn’t bathe) and parted on good terms, resolving to stay friends all the same. Until they met up at their ten-year high school reunion, reconnected, and she popped out these nine months later. They’re neither breakfast nor snack food, but they contain familiar elements of both. The sweet and savory balance is spot-on, and while I couldn’t detect any cheesiness in these, there was a definite heaviness not unlike actual corn potage, combining starchy, rich flavors with other starchy, rich flavors. Perhaps these are better eaten in the winter, or as the bag suggests, atop actual corn potage like a fat kid’s croutons. Either way, I found that despite their perplexing odor, they subtly and masterfully highlighted the base ingredient of Cheetos- corn, and added an extra layer of flavor mimicry to them as well. Best paired with Pink Floyd and more Cheetos, I assume.

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