The lure of potato chips

It was during break-time at a palm oil industry meet, a few months back, when I spotted this CEO of a plantation company, standing next to a snack table. 

He was eyeing this big bowl of potato chips.

His hand was reaching out for the snack bowl.

"Hey! You said you're cutting down on oily, sugary and salty food. You don't even want to eat mooncakes," I snapped at him.

His hand hesitated. But when he looked up and realised it was me, he smiled. 

He proceeded to cram more potato chips into his mouth. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

Two seconds later, another CEO of a plantation company, quickly stepped over and "came to his rescue."

This CEO, who happens to be his good friend, quipped, "potato chips are fried in palm oil. There's no trans fat, it's a healthy snack." In making good on what he said, he also reached into the bowl of potato chips.

I blinked and stared at these two CEOs smiling at each other while munching on their potato chips. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

"See ... it's so crispy. Try some," the normally poker-faced CEO grinned. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

Admittedly, these two smiley-faced CEOs are very convincing. 

The delectable crunch is so irresistible. Before I knew it, my hand reached into the bowl of potato chips, too.

POW!! The taste of salt flakes, faint hint of fresh pepper and the crisp fried potato sensations exploded in my mouth. 

Looks like the lure of the potato chips can really make people smile.

So, how do you get crispy potato chips? The two CEOs recommend deepfrying the potatoes in palm cooking oil.

Oils and fats have the ability to create unique textures — crispy or creamy — that appeal to our taste buds.

So, what is crispiness? When potatoes are dropped into a wok of frying oil — which is far hotter than water's boiling point of 100°C — rapidly expanding steam creates crispy bubbles that gives the potato chip its satisfying crunch.

As the potato chip snap between our teeth, the crunchiness signals freshness on our tongue. The fat in the potato chip catalyse the release of volatile compounds in our mouth and, ultimately, the flavourful perception in our brain.

So, the next time you're thinking of reaching out for "light colour or purer-looking" cooking oil to deepfry ... stop!

Remember the words of these two CEOs, "It's best to deepfry with palm cooking oil. Unlike softoils that oxidise very easily, palm oil is heat stable and is packed with nutrients like the supervitamin E called tocotrienols." 

Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

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