Strange Snacks of the World: Doritos Late Night Tacos at Midnight

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From Doritos' new Late Night line of corn-based snacks, we give you (ta-dah!) Tacos at Midnight.

We've already detailed how, in a mature snack-food market, new snacks have to squeeze themselves into ever-smaller niches to succeed. Thus have wilder flavors of potato and corn chips been developed, in varieties as oddball as Hawaiian sweet onion and Carolina barbecue.

But when did Doritos decide to become so damn poetic? Shown above are chips (the shape and composition resemble traditional flavors of Doritos) that are part of a new Late Night line of Doritos. Tacos at Midnight seeks, not only to reproduce the taste of a taco, it wants to make you feel like you're eating one after a night of revelry. Which is just when I bought this package, after seeing the band Slavic Soul Party at Barbes in Park Slope.

The idea that chips should evoke place and time is almost like the concept of wine terroir. How did they taste? For one thing, there was a substantial burn, more than I've ever experienced in a snack chip before, a burn that would cut through an alcoholic haze and set you on your ass. There was also a substantial amount of cumin, and thus were the flavors of a taco partly reproduced. The chip is clearly intended as a substitute for tacos at midnight, and one bag, at 300 calories, is about what you'd expect for a single, well-stuffed taco to set you back calorie-wise.

Of course, a real taco, whether made with chicken, pork tidbits, or tripe, would be considerably more healthy and wholesome: This product is an incredible smorgasbord of chemicals, as the declaration of ingredients proves. I reproduce it below:

Whole corn, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, soybean and/or sunflower oil), spices, salt, corn maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, sugar, garlic powder, tomato powder, sour cream (cultured cream, nonfat milk), onion powder, whey powder, natural flavors, cream powder, artificial flavors, sodium diactate, paprika extract (color), cheddar cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), and swiss cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt enzymes).

N.B.-- Don't be fooled by the label into thinking there is real cheese in the chips: Since the quantity of ingredients decreases as you scroll down the list, the two cheeses at the very bottom are present in the most miniscule quantities imaginable, and the taste you might ascribe to cheese is produced rather by the evasive-sounding "artificial flavors" and the host of weird powdered dairy offshoots. Food doesn't get much more overprocessed than this.

Don't let these bar chips replace real tacos in your affections, as they seem bent on doing. Leave the bar, walk down the street to the taco truck, and get a real taco!!!

Looking down the metallic maw of the Doritos bag, we glimpse the powerfully flavored product.

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