Mar 242013
Is this flavor of chips sold anywhere beyond India?

Is this flavor of chips sold anywhere beyond India?

Snack shopping in a foreign country is hilarious. Who knew that Lay’s potato chips made a popular flavor called “India’s Magic Masala” in Asia?

During our India tour, my brother eagerly bought a bag of the snack, shoved a handful of chippy goodness into his mouth then screamed: “SPICY!”

“What did you expect?” asked our guide with a grin. “Masala usually means spicy here!”

Want to eat some nylon? And what is "sev"?

Want to eat some nylon? And what is “sev”?

We moved down the snack aisle and came face to face with a snack called “Nylon Sev.” WHAT? Why would you desire nylon in your mouth? And what, pray tell, does “sev” mean? With terrified fascination, we placed the snack in our cart.

Interesting that the only other foreign flavor of Lay's was Spanish!

Interesting that the only foreign flavor of Lay’s was Spanish…

Onto the van we hopped, popping the bag open once we sat. We peered in. Nestled below the sparkly silver of the bag, the Nylon Sev stared up at us in thin golden curls.

“Wow,” I murmured. “How the heck do you eat it without getting covered in crumbs?”

Staring into the bag of "Nylon Sev."

Staring into the bag of “Nylon Sev.”

My husband, Colin, bravely dove in, pouring a yellow stream of Nylon Sev into his hand. See it below? (And see his fake wedding ring that we busted out to stay low-risk during travel?) Colin brought his hand to his mouth and munched.

“Not bad!” he said. “Nylon Sev tastes… crispy.”

"Nylon Sev" in the hand...

“Nylon Sev” in the hand…

At that point, my brother, David, went wild on the bag. He scarfed it with delight, down to the crumbs.

So there you have it: Nylon Sev does not taste like a pair of wind pants!

Gulping "Nylon Sev" like ambrosia!

Gulping “Nylon Sev” like ambrosia!

What about you? Have you ever tried these snacks? Would you? What other foreign munchies have made you smile? (Besides chicken feet, of course…)


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  39 Responses to “Funny Cultural Differences in Snack Chips of India”

  1. I love snack shopping in foreign countries! Nylon Sev looks like ramen noodle crumbs. In Central and Eastern Europe, I’ve fallen in love with bacon and paprika chips. In Serbia they have kajmak chips (kajmak is a regional dairy product similar to cream cheese or marscapone) We’re in Bosnia now and recently saw hot dog flavored chips. Sounds terrible but they’re probably delicious.

  2. Did you visit Pizza Hut or Mc Donalds in India?

    You will be up for a big surprise in the menu and taste..

    Btw, there is a Mc Donalds in Mumbai, which serves only Vegetarian Food .. lol

    They serve much better food there, and staff is really courteous and the restaurants are really really clean.


  3. hello!! i am an Indian …and its lovely reading your adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Yes, I saw those wild flavors while in Mumbai and the South. Funny that the ‘Spanish’ flavor is ‘tango’ and that tango is from Argentina, not Spain…..Should have been ‘Flamenco Flavor’! I tried some of the chili, spicy chips while there and they were very HOT, like most of the food. Oh India!

  5. Love this! And, would love to try the Masala chips. I enjoy checking out the local flavors of chips when I travel, particularly with the love affair with prawn flavored chips in Southeast Asia, but Masala, that’s wonderful! Enjoy!

  6. Indian people do like the spicy things like Lay’s Magic Indian Masala and when they go abroad they miss their spicy food quite badly. You did not try kurkure (India spicy chips) they are also very spicy which is absolutely like adventure for people from abroad.

  7. I agree with you in that perusing the snack section of groceries in foreign countries is always fun. My favorite weird snack flavors are Mexico and Germany. In Mexico there are a lot of salt and lime (margarita anybody?) snacks that range from peanuts to potato chips to dried mango. They also pickle a lot of things with chilli powder. For example, mango, melon, watermelon and other fruits. In Germany, they have a passion for curry and “hot” sauce. Both flavors are not really as you would imagine. The curry flavor is more like a cumin like flavor and the “hot” is more like BBQ. Funny, huh?

  8. Great Article! Those are some really catchy names.

  9. I love perusing snack aisles in other countries!!

  10. Unfortunately, India is facing a huge wave of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure (and resultant heart disease). A major cause of that is a high-salt diet. Learn more about the relationship between a high salt diet and cardiovascular disease here:

    • How sad! The dark side of Nylon Sev ๐Ÿ™

    • Philip Lederer,

      I doubt its because of High Salt food alone, Indians have traditionally always had high salt intake, without any issues..

      The high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardio Vascular diseases are on the rise mainly because of sedentary life style (no one likes to walk any more or carry stuff or do any physical work any more) and more and more Indians are eating much heavier foods (Ghee etc) so, Indians are on their way to become the largest population with all the above ailments.

      Sad ๐Ÿ™

  11. I had high hopes for the Magic Masala, but we ended up chucking them halfway through. The Nylon Sev, on the other hand, was totally addictive! According to good ole Wikipediaโ€ฆ

    “Sev is essentially small pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour paste which is seasoned with turmeric and cayenne before being deep-fried in oilโ€ฆ Sev is eaten as a standalone snack as well as a topping on dishesโ€ฆ”

    Who knew?!

  12. Your brother has awesome hair ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Hehe awesome!

  14. the masala ones sound great… I think those would be my fav

  15. So much fun to see this! Snack food is as much a part of a country’s culture as monuments and temples! Thanks for sharing the “junk food” side ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. those kind of look like maggots

  17. i love the seaweed and seasalt chips from Japan (as well as the shrimp-flavored chips!). I like that sev – they sometimes put it in snack mix (spicy, of course)…

  18. These little differences are what I really love about travel! Here in NZ we have a chip flavour called “the crispy bits from the bottom of the roasting pan”.

  19. What a great collection. I love it! Well, I love snacks…

  20. And here I thought we already had every kind of Lay’s variety here in the U.S. The Nylon Sev looks intriguing, but I’ll stick with the chips.

  21. Only in India! But hey, I like the different flavours that are available!

  22. Magic Masala sounds pretty good. Here in China we have Cucumber, or Lime, or Blueberry or the as yet untried Cheese Lobster flavour.

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