The One Item You Have To Try At Trader Joe's

by Megan Grant
Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Shortly after I moved to Las Vegas, a coworker introduced me to heaven on earth, otherwise known as Trader Joe's. I've spent a bit of time with Joe, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there is one item you have to try at Trader Joe's: roasted plantain chips. Do not take this lightly. When I say you have to try them, I mean you need to find your closest Joe's and purchase a bag or 12 immediately, if not sooner.

I know what you're thinking: plantains are a member of the banana family; and roasted banana-ish chips? Ew. But just drop the 'tude, okay? Because these taste nothing like bananas or plantains, or literally anything else you've ever tasted in your entire life. They taste like roasted perfection lightly salted in magic and gently placed in your mouth by angels and fairies. And here's the real cherry on top: they taste just like potato chips, except about a million times better. Joe doesn't play games with his chips.

I'm not a dietician, so I can't confirm that these are legitimately healthier than traditional potato chips; but I'm going to pretend that since they're made of plantains, they satisfy part of my daily fruit serving. That's how nutrition works in my world. You're either with me or you're not.

Joe's roasted plantain chips make a great snack, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While the serving size is one ounce (or about 20 chips), I can confirm from personal experience that it's comfortably possible to consume the entire bag in one sitting. Don't you judge me. They have an irresistible crunch; and when you get to the bottom of the bag where all the salt has gathered, something wondrous happens. The taste gets even better with the chips coated in all that residual salt. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it kind of feels like Christmas morning in my mouth.

Eating Trader Joe's roasted plantain chips is not unlike eating popcorn, where in the very beginning, you're totally kidding yourself. You eye the bag coyly, and delicately pluck one chip from it, thinking, "Plantain chips. Right. I'll just have one." One thing leads to another and the situation escalates; and the next thing you know, you're licking the inside of the bag. That's what a friend told me, anyway...

Joe knows what he's doing, so he prices each bag pretty cheap. Combined with the fact that you can inhale the entire thing in about a half hour (if you're holding back), it's easy to fall into the trap of buying four or five bags at a time.

While the roasted plantain chips taste just fine on their own, thank you very much, I imagine — with how similar they taste to potato chips (except infinitely more delicious) — they'd pair very well with a fresh sour cream and onion dip, although I can't vouch from personal experience. I appreciate my plantains chips for who they are. Dip's just not my jam, yo.

While Trader Joe's carries a rather large variety of snacky items (organic popcorn with olive oil, for the win!) and even candy (*breathing heavily*), I remain loyal to the plantain chips. I like to carry them in my tote when I need a quick fix, munch on some as a post-workout treat, and spoon with them at night. My only qualm is that the bag is as much air as it is chips, and a woman with an appetite like mine can't be caught chip-free. Bad things happen.

All kinds of treasures can be found at Joe's. They carry the infamous Cookie Butter, and I'm also partial to their skincare items. But I can say this with certainty: if you set foot inside a Trader Joe's and don't leave with at least half a dozen bags of plantains chips, I... I... I don't know, but my mother warned me about people like you.

If you or someone you know has a Trader Joe's roasted plantain chip problem, please locate your local support group online at www.