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Trader Joe's Bollywood Popcorn

Well here's something really new. I haven't seen ethnic cuisine-flavored popcorn on the market, really anywhere. I'll be honest, the name "Bollywood popcorn" fascinates me and also kinda makes me cringe at the time. I get it. They were going for something avant garde. But there's something about it that's a little too kitschy for me. 

This is getting to the edge of my niche. But it's good to explore other things, like the only Bollywood movie I've ever seen. 

A few notes about this product description: 

1) They are asking you to suspend your disbelief and take a chance on this popcorn. Ok fine. 
2) They are still trying to push that mango mania. Subtly. 
3) Aromatic spices! This sounds promising. 

Disclaimer: I am in no way qualified to provide educated insight into this tikka masala flavor. Or any Indian food for that matter. My only frame of reference? Indian buffets in Philadelphia and Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala (which by the way is pretty good and is a freezer staple for many people I know). 

Well it's definitely aromatic. Does it remind me of tikka masala? Vaguely. The smell reminds me of a South Asian, possibly Indonesian chicken satay-type dish I had years ago but it didn't strike me as a distinctly Indian flavor. Like the millennial that I am, I consulted the internet. Tikka means Masala means a mixture of spices, which means it could be made of really anything. This spice mixture contains garlic, tomato, onion, turmeric, mustard seed, and paprika. It's not a bad flavor. I'm not sure which exact spice it is, but there's this nice almost numbing warmth, reminiscent of a yellow curry. Because of that, it is a bit spicy. The flavor distribution could have been better as the popcorn pieces toward the bottom of the bag were better seasoned than the ones at the top. 

My main beef with this vegan popcorn (harhar), however, is with the popcorn itself. Yes I laugh at my own puns. Bagged popcorn, we all know, does not compare to the freshly popped stuff. However, THIS bag was stale from day one! (especially compared to that pickle popcorn) It tasted like day-old popcorn! And the next day it tasted like two day-old popcorn! That is no bueno.

And to confirm my suspicions, I picked up the limited edition Lay's Kettle Cooked Indian Tikka Masala flavored chips, which I think they nailed. It has a more sophisticated, complex flavor. Plus that kettle cooked crunch, y'all know it gets me every time.

TL;DR: Trader Joe's Bollywood Popcorn. Warm, aromatic, but unfortunately stale. 5 out of 10. 


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