Canadian kids grow up with ketchup chips as a staple at birthday parties and BBQs, but the salty snacks are a rare sight in the world beyond. Even in the United States, a country where both ketchup and potato chips are incredibly popular, the pairing has not found a fanbase.
As the name would suggest, the chips are ketchup-flavored, though a bit heavier in vinegar than the standard ketchup that you’d put on your fries. While there’s some debate as to ketchup chips’ origin, many accounts point to Hostess, a Canadian company that has since been purchased by Frito-Lay. The 1970s were a time of some serious experimentation at Hostess, which introduced chips in ketchup, grape, and orange flavors. The sweeter fruits didn’t catch on, but the tangy-salty ketchup variety was a hit.
In Canada, ketchup chips can be readily found at most grocery stores or gas stations. Outside Canada, however, tracking them down can prove a bit tricky. There are a few spots in the United States that sell the flavor, particularly in the North near the Canadian border. The Pennsylvania-based company, Herr’s, also makes a ketchup chip (some even claim theirs was the original). But many Canadians say that American versions don’t taste the same as those produced north of the border. You can buy Canadian ketchup chips online, but they don’t come cheap: Lay’s version can go for as much as $15 a bag.