Snack Review: UTZ Crab Chips
Take a look at college campuses across the country right now and you’ll see the depressed faces of young minds “back to the grind” of academic courses, low paying part-time jobs, and rip off meal-plans.
Not exactly how you remember it?
Ok, so I may be exaggerating things quite a bit, but one thing that the end of winter break does bring, is the sometimes painful move away from our homes and our favorite local foods. Take me, for example. Like Ryan, I’m a Marylander, long used to the fine tradition of east coast snacks and fast food chains. But when I returned to Utah for the spring semester a few days ago, I left behind some of my favorite go-to snack items, including UTZ Potato Chips. Not to worry though, as I brought a bag of some of my favorite UTZ chips on the plane back to Salt Lake: Crab Chips.
Don’t be fooled. These chips aren’t anything new, and they ain’t the fanciest chips around either. I’m not even sure they’re my favorite “Old Bay” style of chips (Route 11’s Kettle Style Chesapeake Crab chips are potato chip perfection, in my opinion). But for what they lack in crunch, sex appeal, and fancy bagging, UTZ’s Crab Chips more than make up for in flavor and nostalgia. “Crab” chips, for you non-east coasters out there, are a potato chip flavor based around the concept of Old Bay seasoning, a favorite in the Chesapeake Bay region that combines spices like Paprika, Celery Salt, and Black Pepper.
The thing I love about the UTZ version of this classic flavor combination is the addition of a sweet element (found in honey powder on the bag’s list of ingredients). I think it’s important to have, because these chips are quite a bit more salty than regular UTZ chips. Still, the flavor combination is unmatched, as the paprika/dry mustard combo leaves you with a lingering “heat” that tingles the top of your lips. You also can’t beat the price of these chips. Walk into any run-down gas station in the mid-Atlantic and chances are you’ll find the perfectly portioned 1 oz. bags of these chips for no more than 50 cents. Trust me, it’s the kind “take me back to the elementary school snack line” cheapness that we college students appreciate. In short, UTZ’s Crab Chips have their flaws, but when it comes to food and memory, this little potato-chip-that-could will always hold a special place in my heart (not to mention, you know, my stomach).
You’ve heard from me, so now I ask you:
What is your favorite “local” snack that you’re unlucky enough to be divorced from by location?
Pros: Intriguing blend of sweetness, heat, and pepper that goes above and beyond the traditional Old Bay seasoning blend. Well balanced flavor and saltiness which leaves you licking your fingers after each handful. The ultimate "take me back home" chip that cannot be replicated.
Cons: Lacks ideal crunch of a kettle style chip. Can leave a lingering sense of peppery heat that dulls the flavor of sweet foods. Somewhat messy seasoning blend. Flavor of the chip (and cottonseed oil) is subdued because of the amount of seasoning.
Price: 50 cents or less (1 oz bag)
Overall GrubGrade: 8.50 (Very Good)
More Info: UtzSnacks.com
Utz Crab Chips
Serving Size: 1 oz.
Calories from Fat: 80
Total Fat: 9 grams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 300 mg
Fiber: 1 gram
Sugar: 1 gram
Protein: 2 grams