As the international food section of any supermarket here would have you believe, we Americans love our tacos. And our hot sauce. And our salsa. And our marshmallows. And anything with a “stars and stripes”-decorated label slapped on it.
Recently, we’ve been trying to perfect a popular and easy snack in the U.S. – tortilla chips. Now, by “perfect,” I don’t mean that we are making these things ourselves. Come to think of it, that might actually be easier than what we have been doing – seeking out salsa and chips that look sort of like what we would like to have, then eating them and being anywhere from pleasantly surprised to slightly disappointed to disgusted.
“Disgusted” really only applied to one kind of salsa that we bought. It’s not one of the ones pictured below, and I don’t remember the brand, or else I would warn you all away from it. After one bite, I checked the ingredients list – and the second ingredient was sugar. Yes, sugar.
The rest of the salsa has been pretty “meh.” As a rule, spiciness is scary here. I normally can’t handle salsa labeled as “Hot, Hot, Hot!” in the U.S. but here, we’ve had to start buying these kinds to even get a slight tickle of the idea that the salsa wants to be spicy. Probably the most successful salsa so far has been the “El Paso” brand that we’re currently working on – but it’s full of black pepper and other spices, rather than jalapeño, etc.
Unless you’re shopping at a large supermarket, and sometimes even then, you will likely have trouble finding regular ol’ tortilla chips. If they only have one kind, it is likely Käse-flavored or sometimes even Paprika. El Fuego brand (just look for the singing cactus) is pretty prominent here, but you don’t get a whole lot for your money. I personally like the Edeka store brand lightly-salted chips. If we lived in a bigger city, we’d probably be able to get more imported, familiar brands – but for what they cost, it still might be more practical to make do with the singing cactus.