Clancy's Hot Fries (Aldi)

An open bag of Clancy's Hot Fries, from Aldi
If you like the licensed version featuring a comic strip character, you'll love these.

I like me some hot fries, and was pretty excited to see that a private label version was coming to Aldi stores.  The original hot fries are perhaps the best comic character-endorsed snack food on store shelves, and certainly one of the longest-running.  Mr. Capp’s name, at least to me, has become synonymous with a tasty line of “fries”, moreso than his even longer-running comic strip, of which I might have seen twice in my life.

In case you are unfamiliar, Hot Fries are essentially French fry-shaped potato chips with a strong dose of “heat”, which comes in the form of a red powder (much like the flamin’ hot variety of a certain popular brand of cheese curl).  It has actually been a very long time since I’ve had the original, licensed version of these fries, so this review won’t function as a comparison, but Clancy’s version delivers the heat in spades.  Even though the bright-red hue of these should have been a warning, they are a lot spicier than I was expecting, and it didn’t take long before my mouth felt as though it was on fire.

The problem is, putting them down isn’t easy.  Unlike (in my opinion) many products that are focused on burning your mouth, these also taste good.  I mean, really good.  Skip all the unhealthy, processed additives on the label, and you’ll get a good idea of why:  There’s garlic, onion, tomato, and parmesan, romano, and cheddar cheeses in the ingredient list.  Of course, like most mass-produced snack foods, they’re all in the form of powders, but hey, that’s good enough for me.  I don’t have the most advanced palate, so I can’t say I can pick out all of those flavors, but there’s definitely a noticeable dose of cheese right before my mouth starts to go numb.

The original hot fries were always a good snack choice because they were inexpensive to begin with.  So true-to-form, Clancy’s 5.75 oz. bag is just $.99, making it a great choice for value. While the bag size sounds rather small (and is compared to most bags of potato chips), the fries are very light, so there’s plenty of hot goodness in each package.

Overall: 8/10.  If you like the licensed version of this snack, involving a comic strip character, then you’ll probably love Clancy’s version.  There’s plenty of heat to go around, but even though I can’t take much heat, the flavor is so good I still have troubles putting the bag down, even as my eyes start watering and common sense tells me I should be done.  Best of all, a 5.75 oz. bag is just $.99, which might sound small, but let me tell you there’s plenty of crunchy, burny goodness in each bag.  Only downside:  These things are inexplicably confined to Special Buys throughout the year, meaning they pop up occasionally and, once they sell out, they’re gone until next time.