My love of all things cheese-related is such that whenever I find myself buying a bag of crisps, I always tend to go for something with a cheesy flavour.
I dread to think how many bags of Wotsits and Quavers and cheesy Doritos I’ve eaten over the years – and whenever a new type of cheesy crisp gets launched, it’s always a fairly major event in my little world.
Of course, it must be pointed out that cheese-flavoured crisps don’t actually tend to contain that much cheese. Take Wotsits for instance – a quick Google search reveals that only 7% of all the ingredients that make up the cheese flavouring is from actual cheese. As far as I’m concerned though, that minor detail spoils the enjoyment of them not one little bit.
But what is the greatest cheese-flavoured crisp of them all?
Well I’ve literally travelled far and wide in an attempt to answer this question – as whenever I visit a different country, I always make a point of trying to sample some local crisps. And while there’s still plenty of countries in the world that I’m still yet to get to, by far the greatest cheesy crisp hit that I’ve ever tasted in all of the 40-odd nations I’ve visited to date is a brand I found in Malaysia called Cheezels.
I first became acquainted with Cheezels back in 2007, when I went to Malaysia to visit a very close friend of mine – who’d gone out to live in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpar for a few years. And I must say, I was completely sold on them before I’d even tried them – purely on the basis of the name.
Cheezels is one of those words that’s just really enjoyable to say out loud.
Go on, say it now. You know you want to!
But as well as Cheezels being a great name, the actual product itself is a thing of magic. Chunky little rings of cheesy goodness in a lurid shade of orange, the tangy flavour was so good that you’d get stuck into one of the giant packets that they came in – and suddenly realise you’d just demolished half the bag.
Of course, there could be an argument that, like wotsits and Quavers, Cheezels aren’t actually crisps – and fall more under the separate genre of ‘maize-based snack’.
That’s a separate debate though – and whatever Cheezels are, I became a bit obsessed with them during my time in ‘KL’. I ate so many bags of the things that I even started to get orange-stained fingers. And I even took one of the giant bags with me as part of my supplies when I decided to go trekking in the jungle for a few days!
Following my visit Mike stayed in KL for another couple of years – and brilliantly, there were several occasions he came back to the UK to visit when he brought over a bag of Cheezels for me.
Alas though, Mike decided in the end to come back to live in the UK – and while it was nice to have my friend a bit closer to home, his permanent return spelt the end of my supply line of Cheezels. And it’s getting on for a decade since I last sampled their cheesy delights.
However, I recently sampled the nearest thing I’ve ever found to them…
Yes, a few weeks ago I was in my local supermarket and happened to notice a new type of crisp on sale – Hula Hoops Flavarings.
As those of you who are UK-based will know, Hula Hoops are a well-established brand of crisp here. However ‘Flavarings’ are a new spin – a chunkier and less crunchy version. They’re available in salt and vinegar and tangy cheese flavour – and brilliantly, the latter both look and taste pretty much exactly the same as Cheezels!
That said, I’d love to sample the real thing again one day. If you ever happen to go to Malaysia, feel free to bring a few bags back for me!