What Not to Eat

Chipstix Continues to Fascinate and Disturb

Photo: Courtesy of Chipstix; Daniel Maurer

There was a mess of good grub at yesterday’s Brazilian Day Festival— including coxinha, a chicken croquette that Always Hungry examines in great detail today. We looked for cone pizza but alas, couldn’t find any. We did, however, happen upon a Chipstix stand. You’ll recall that we first encountered fried potatoes on a stick on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. This latest stand, however, pointed us to an official website. After studying it carefully, we have to admit we’re still baffled — and a little bit terrified.

The franchising endeavor seems to be based in the U.K., but, according to a map on the website, it only has one location there (at a mysterious castle theme park in Scotland). And yet, it has six locations in Dubai. And there are shadowy agents based everywhere from Africa to New Zealand to Tahiti aiming to sell the Chipstix machine (which thinly slices a potato into a spiral within eight seconds) as well as special salts (in flavors such as pizza and “Mexican chilli” [sic]). They also traffic in a toxic-sounding substance known as ChipWhyte, a preservative that “keeps already cut potatoes looking white and clear from starch and discolour up to 24 hours.” (Shiver.) A South African site indicates that bizarre “Chipstix trailers” travel the country there. They look like the sort of thing one of the prawns from District 9 might emerge out of.

We’re all for fried potatoes in any form, but something about this ploy for worldwide domination just creeps us out. And we’re not the only ones — yesterday, Chipstix was being avoided like the plague by Brazilians, who instead crowded around tapioca pancakes. Maybe it’s the irksome “Chipstix Man” (check out this YouTube video of some Brazilian girls hugging him — we suspect it was the last time they were ever seen alive.) Even the Korean version of Chipstix (a.k.a. “tornado potato fries”) is advertised with a super-disturbing wordless commercial. (Be warned: There is a good possibility that, after watching this commercial, you will die.) For all these reasons (and because they look nasty), we haven’t gotten up the gumption to try Chipstix. But who knows — maybe they’ll pop up at the San Gennaro festival and we’ll finally cave. Let’s hope not.

Chipstix Continues to Fascinate and Disturb