Snack Review: Dandy’s Shrimp Chips

I like shrimp. I like chips. Do I like shrimp chips?

Few questions are as paramount as this one to a college student on his first day of summer break, as the paradox of whether sea food and snack food could “go together” hit me with all the force of Bubba Gump’s fishing boat. It wasn’t the first time I had seen a product like Dandy’s Original Flavored Shrimp Chips in the ethnic aisle of my local grocery store, but perhaps spurred on by some vague impulse to live dangerously on my summer break, I actually nagged a bag this time and set out to test the waters.

Oh man, is this review getting cheesy or what?

Dandy’s Shrimp Chips are basically fried and puffed versions of tapioca flour loaded with MSG and shrimp flavor. Actually, they contain real shrimp (at least if you believe the ingredient declaration), which wasn’t too much of a surprise considering that they did taste like shrimp. Therein lies the paradox of a shrimp flavored snack however, as shrimp — at least to my taste buds — don’t have much of a discernible taste. There is a dull meaty flavor that comes through with a slightly musky presence of the glutamate element, but the other familiar flavors that so often define chips (salty, sweet, oily) are either nonexistent or so subtle they aren’t even worth mentioning.

Texturally, the chips reminded me quite a bit of microwavable pork rinds. They have a hollow, double-take crunch because of their puffed nature. It’s not repulsive or even unwelcome, it’s just different and takes some getting used to. Personally, I find it interesting, although the solid crunch of an actual kettle potato chip will never be surpassed in my book. With little flavor on their own and an odd texture, there was only one way to get through the rest of the bag:

Here in Maryland we work under the impression that Old Bay works on everything. That’s because it does, and it worked wonders on these chips. The salt of the seasoning really helped to accentuate the glutamate flavor of the chips, while the black pepper and celery seed in the seasoning gave the chips additional complexity and a savory sense that didn’t come across as muted or half-baked (or is that fried?) Even the natural yet subtle flavor of the corn oil seemed to come out with the Old Bay, and before I knew it the bag was empty.

I like shrimp with Old Bay. I like chips with Old Bay. Guess it should have hit me that I would have liked shrimp chips with Old Bay. My suggestion; try this traditional Asian snack food out, but be sure to bring your favorite condiment along. That, and live dangerously.

Pros: Walking around the grocery store with a sophisticated swagger. Actually tastes like shrimp. Pretty good with Old Bay. Only 1 gram of saturated fat per 25 chips. Getting to flaunt to your friends that you’ve tried chips made from shrimp.

Cons: Living with the stigma of being “that kid.” Actually tastes like shrimp (in that, you know, if hardly tastes like anything at all.) Texture can take some getting use to. Salty without actually tasting salty in a yummy, blood-pressure raising sorta way.

Price: $2.09

Overall GrubGrade: 7.25 (Decent)

More Info: Editor’s Note: Dandy’s does not have a website.
Nutrition Facts:
Dandy's Shrimp Chips
Serving Size: 25 chips
Calories: 140
Total Fat: 9 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Sodium: 290 mg
Total Carbs: 16 grams
Protein: 1 gram

13 comments on “Snack Review: Dandy’s Shrimp Chips

  1. skippymom says:

    I too am in the Old Bay region of the eastern seaboard an i can see it salvaging this nasty snack. [you aren’t kidding when you say shrimp really don’t have a taste, i neve thought about it but bingo!]

  2. T.J. says:

    I went to an Indonesian restaurant once that had shrimp chips with the meal. They were pretty much as you describe.

  3. rob says:

    I like Old Bay but I couldn’t figure out for sure whether it contains MSG so I gave it up.

    • Raiders757 says:

      Old Bay doesn’t have any MSG in it, so your good to go.

      Ingredients: Celery Salt (Salt, Celery Seed), Spices, (Including Mustard, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Bay [Laurel] Leaves, Cloves, Allspice [Pimento], Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon) and Paprika.

  4. Reader says:

    Shrimp chips? No thanks, they don’t look right. Shrimp FLAVORED chips? Sure. 😉

    Used to go through almost two bags as a kid. Very light and they make a great onion ring as well (I think it was this brand, too long ago) but lately they seem to give me headaches more than a tasty snack. Chock one up for nostalgia though.

  5. You should try Calbee brand Shrimp-flavored chips! They are the best!

  6. Pasquinel says:

    Another hearty recommendation for Calbee Shrimp Flavored Chips. I hate actual shrimp but these things are addictive.

  7. Super Donkey says:

    These things are like crack to us Asians… we love these. The Costcos around here will carry a 7pack of these for something like $5… and they sell out (I’m talking many pallets) within two-three days.

    Po’ man’s diet: eat a bag of these, then drink a soda… feel it expand like a donut.

    Shrimp Chips rules!

  8. Ron says:

    I understand that shrimp chips contain real shrimp. I’m allergic to iodine and was wondering if these chips do contain iodine and if so, how much?

  9. Dennnis says:

    Can you let me know where to get this in Maryland? What grocery stores carry these?

  10. […] then there’s the small of matter of polishing off the bag of Dandy shrimp-flavored chips which self opened a half-hour […]

  11. Zane says:

    I’ve had the strange, yet pleasurable experience with these a few years back, when I purchased them at a Dollar General, or some other dollar store (i can’t remember) about a year ago, and I recently saw some at a discount food store, here, in Loveland CO. I was browsing the assortment of Latin/Asian snacks and, upon recognizing them, I bought two, for only $0.79, and they are delicious, and fitting to my unusual snack taste (Tijuana Mamas, ginger etc.). You might get queasy upon thinking about them, as I did when I saw them, both times. But if you have a harsh taste in snacks as I do, I recommend getting these. You’ll warm up to them. I think I might try some OB on the 2nd bag.

  12. Angi says:

    Hey! Just came across your post. I am wondering if you can please tell me the exact location of the grocery store you found the Dandy’s chips at. My niece are in love with them but we can’t find any around the area. I would really appreciate it. Thanks.