How Do I Choose the Best Taro Chips?

Megan Shoop

Taro chips are chips made from the taro root. This Asian root has a tough, brown outer skin with white, purple-flecked flesh inside. Its flavor is savory and mild, and very similar to that of a white potato. Potato chip addicts often turn to taro root chips to cut calories and increase their intake of nutrients. When choosing taro chips, consumers have choices among baked, fried, salted, and spicy products. Some people may choose to make taro chips at home, particularly if they feel homemade food always tastes the best.

Some people make taro chips at home using fresh taro root.
Some people make taro chips at home using fresh taro root.

Asian food shops and larger grocery stores often sell bags of these chips produced by commercial companies. Those eating taro chips to aid weight loss should always read the labels on these manufactured items. If the taro chips appear to have been fried in oil, they likely aren’t much healthier than ordinary potato chips. It may be worthwhile to compare these Asian chips to one’s favorite flavor of potato chips. If the taro version is lower in calories and higher in nutrients, switching fried taro for fried potatoes may still be an upgrade.

Fried taro chips are most likely unhealthy compared to regular potato chips.
Fried taro chips are most likely unhealthy compared to regular potato chips.

Those looking to cut fried foods from their diets entirely may want to opt for baked taro chips. These are usually harder to find, and may or may not be clearly labeled. The ingredients list is often telling — if the ingredients list cooking oil as one of the top ingredients, it is very likely the chips have been fried. If oil is one of the last items on the list, or left out altogether, the taro chips were probably baked. The calories per serving may also be helpful — if the label lists a very high number of calories for just five or six chips, it may not be worth it to eat them for health reasons.

Many eat taro chips just because they like the flavor. In these cases, it usually doesn’t matter whether the chips are baked or fried. Instead, these consumers look at the seasoning on the chips. Typical taro chip flavors include salted, spicy, and slightly sweet. A couple of popular combinations include ginger and hot pepper flakes, or chili powder and sea salt. The most favored flavor, and usually the one most widely available, is plain. This simple variety is often very lightly salted to bring out the flavor of the taro root.

Consumers that can’t find these chips, or can’t find the kind they’re looking for, may find the best kind right in their own ovens. Taro root must be peeled and sliced into pieces about .125 inch (about .25 cm) thick. The cook can then coat the slices lightly in a little olive oil and add any flavorings he or she likes. The slices should then bake at about 400°F (about 204°C) until they’re crispy and golden brown. This method allows consumers to make any kind of taro root chips they like.

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