I was browsing in the local Chinese grocery the other day (the good one, not that other one) and came upon these: Nong Shim TaKo Chips.
Note that these aren't the tako chips you're probably used to: for one thing they're spelled differently and for another, they're Octopus Flavored. You heard me, I said Octopus Flavored. I have to assume their slogan is "More tentacles means more flavor!" I'm also assuming that "Nong Shim" translates to, "Oh dear lord, why?"
Seeing the "Octopus Flavored" on the bag sealed the deal for me; how could I not buy them after that? How often do you see something like that printed on a bag of chips?
I got them home and after taking a couple of beauty shots of the bag for blogsterity, I tentatively opened it. I expected a wave of visible cartoon stink lines to emanate from the top of the bag, or to at least hear a chorus of alley cats wailing outside the window, looking for the source of the briny stench, but was disappointed on both counts. There wasn't any discernible smell.
The chips themselves are fish shaped, which was a bit of a let down. Would it have killed them to invent and construct an extruding machine capable of producing a chip with eight separate and distinct tentacles? Shoddy.
But I know you, you want to know how they taste, amiright? I tentatively tried a couple of chips and... surprisingly they're not bad. I was expecting them to taste like a mouth full of old fish heads that'd been setting in the sun all day, but they were reasonably tasty. In fact they tasted a lot like Bugles. Well, sort of. Imagine if you'd been fishing in your row boat all day since 6 a.m. and without washing your fish scale-covered hands, you reached into a bag of Bugles, grabbed a fist full and crammed them into your mouth. That's pretty much what they tasted like.
There was just a slight hint of fishy flavor. Nothing overpowering, thank goodness. Just a subtle impression; nothing that screamed "savory cephalapod."
For the record I've eaten real octopus before. I tried it when I visited China. It was OK, if you like eating pencil erasers.
So will I buy Octopus Flavored Tako Chips again? Probably not. They were far from the worst thing I've ever eaten; that honor goes to canned hominy (remind me to tell you about that some day). I'm just not a big fan of seafood, especially when if comes to salty snacks. I'm more of a BBQ flavor kind of guy. Sour cream, if I'm feeling adventurous.