We at PEOPLE like to think we have refined palates. When we sampled Lay’s mystery potato chip flavors last week, we carefully analyzed each one, with our testers claiming to detect the the meatiness of bacon, the fire of ghost pepper and one fancy foodie even notoriously declaring that she was picking up notes of banh mi (we know — so obnoxious, right?).

Apparently our tastebuds, much like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, died and we just didn’t know it — because our guesses were pretty off.

To recap, Lay’s sent us eight bags of potato chips, with four containing existing flavors and four containing new flavors. The bags were unmarked, so it was up to us to guess what kind of chip we were eating.

To our credit, we did correctly guess the four existing flavors: Cheddar & Sour Cream, Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Honey Barbecue and Flamin’ Hot. But the new flavors? Here’s where we blew it.

For starters, we thought the chip that tasted like everything from “yogurt” (gag!) to “bacon” to “a bagel with cream cheese” was Spaghetti Carbonara. Yeah, no. It’s actually Lay’s all-new Smoked Gouda & Chive.

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We were practically high-five-ing each other when we guessed that one of the chips was Ramen flavored (or rather, Ramen seasoning packet, but that’s neither here nor there). But clearly we weren’t using our noodle: it’s their new Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs.


In truth, we were on the right track with another chip, which we thought could be “habanero,” “horseradish” or yep, “banh mi” (seriously, though!). We sassily decided it must be something exotic like Kimchi but should have trusted our instincts: ’twas Fiery Roasted Habanero!

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And then there was the chip we universally panned. The “charred,” “pungent” one we christened Burnt Ends (since some of the other names we called it are unprintable). That little gem is, in reality, Korean Barbecue. And may it die a quick and painless death.


The good news is that you can actually decide the fate of that godforsaken Korean Barbecue chip (please kill it), as well as all of the others mentioned above.


Beginning Feb. 8, Lay’s is pitting the four classic and four new flavors against each other and asking fans to decide which one will stay on shelves: Cheddar & Sour Cream vs. Smoked Gouda & Chive; Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper vs. Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs, Flamin’ Hot vs. Fiery Roasted Habanero, and Honey Barbecue vs. Korean Barbecue (for the love of all that is good, pick Honey Barbecue!).

Simply visit to cast your vote or show your support on social using @Lays and #FlavorSwap.

May the best chip (a.k.a. not Korean Barbecue) win!

Mark Marino