3 Chips That Deserve to Made into a Walking Taco

One of my favorite foods in the world is a walking taco, aka a Frito pie. Back in 2011, a friend took me to experience my inaugural Frito pie when I visited Texas for the first time. We sat on some rusty metal chairs outside of this coffee shop/lunch spot/bar/music venue (typical of Austin), and chowed down on a small bag of Frito chips stuffed with ground meat while the grackles cawed and waited for any scraps. There were none, and I moved to Texas a month later. Was it because of the Frito pie? Honestly, kind of. I had fallen in love with the walking taco and all that it represented. Outside of the food, I became enamored with all of the fun, cowboy-progressive things Austin had to offer, and a Frito pie is symbolic of that same attitude—thrifty and practical, but fun, new wave, and wonderful.

A Frito pie is great because of its utility—it’s a whole dang delicious meal inside of a bag—but there’s also something that just feels right about mashing up chips with stewed protein. Chips, you might have heard, go great on a sandwich because they add some needed crunchy texture, but also bold flavor. If chili, cheese, beans, jalapeños, and onion can benefit from some simply fried corn chips, what else might be enhanced from being served them in a bag of chips? What chip and dish combinations have yet to be explored? Here’s what I came up with.

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The Burger Bag with Herr’s Ketchup Chips

Credit: Liv Averett/Amazon/iStock

Burger-in-a-bag sounds like something they sell with fried butter at th Texas State Fair, and I submit that this idea is a hit waiting to happen. Take all the parts of a burger—cooked ground meat, cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato—dice em’ and shove em’ into a small bag of Herr’s ketchup chips. The ketchup chips add a savory, salty, sweet, tomato flavor that pairs well with all the burger ingredients. If you see me on Shark Tank next year trying to sell the idea, don’t be surprised.

The Bulgogi Bag with Lay’s Kimchi Chips 

Liv Averett/Amazon/iStock

You know what would go great with some pork or beef bulgogi? Savory, tangy, MSG-filled Lay’s Kimchi chips. Thin slices of pork or ribeye marinated in red chili sauce, grilled, then stuffed in a bag with scallions and your choice of banchan like pickled jalapeños, silky tofu, cucumber, and marinated eggplant. Naajia Shukri, who lived in South Korea for two years, suggested putting glass noodles in this walking taco and boy am I all the way onboard with eating a bag of chips with noodles in it. As soon as she said that, I cussed loudly. It’s such a good idea.

The Mac & Cheese Bag with Wise Onion & Garlic Chips

Credit: Liv Averett/Amazon/iStock

I would eat mac and cheese out of anything (read: anything), including a bag of chips. There are a lot of mac and cheese recipes out there that call for adding toasted bread crumbs on top, and a lot of frozen mac and cheese brands are sold at the grocery store this way, too. While I’m admittedly a stovetop mac and cheese guy through and through, I love the idea of eating onion and garlic chips in conjunction with a creamy, cheesy, boxed mac and cheese. Crunchy, pungent chips and smooth, cheesy pasta just makes sense.

About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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