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Food & Drink Master the Meal Deal: How to Pair Sandwiches and Crisps

Fish and chips, bangers and mash, sandwiches and crisps. Certain foods are just made to be paired. When it comes to choosing what to eat with sandwiches, crisps are a traditional choice – and many shops know it, offering special offers on sandwiches and crisps bought together in the form of meal deals.

But unlike the first two examples given, there are plenty of additional flavour and texture combinations that contribute to a delightful, or disappointing, sandwich and crisp pairing. So, when you’re getting lunch on the go and contemplating a meal deal combo from your local forecourt or supermarket, how do you make a successful choice from the vast array of combinations on offer?

If the internet is anything to go by, the choice is more important than you may think. You might have heard of the Facebook group ‘Rate my meal deal’, where meal deal diners post a picture of their choice to either be celebrated, or humiliated by the response from passionate followers. It seems that people can tell a lot about you by your ability to choose lunch wisely!

We don’t want to leave you hungry while you ponder this highly important choice, so here are a few select tips for how to pair crisp flavours, and varieties, with sandwiches.

3 Important Points to Consider when Pairing Sandwiches and Crisps

Texture Contrast

One of the main reasons why sandwiches and crisps go so well together is that there is a notable texture contrast, and this should always be maintained in your pairing. On one hand soft bread with a soft filling, such as egg mayonnaise for example, is a perfect match with thick crunchy crisps – such as McCoys. On the other hand, a crusty baguette is an ideal match with a softer, corn based or puffed style snack such as Monster Munch. See more on crisp options below.

Flavour Balance

If you are creating a meal from scratch, you would always consider flavour balance between central ingredient and sides. In the case of choosing a crisp flavour to go with your lunch sandwiches, you can consider what ‘real’ food combinations work, and apply this to the ‘artificial’ flavour in crisps. For example, if your sandwich contains beef and rocket, an ideal choice would be cheese and onion flavour crisps. Cheese, onion, beef – works in a burger, works in a meal deal!

Cheese combined with tangy pickle? You want a flavour that will neutralise some of that acidic vinegar, such as ready salted – we all know how well salt and vinegar go together.

The golden rule is to try and balance flavours, rather than replicate. Don’t be tempted to have a prawn mayonnaise sandwich matched with prawn cocktail crisps or a chicken sandwich with chicken crisps – artificial flavours can clash badly with the real thing…

Rich or Light?

If your sandwich is very rich, such as chunky cheese and ham or an all-day breakfast, try and choose a lighter, puffed crisp such as Skips or maybe Quavers to avoid too much bloating. But if you have opted for a lighter wrap filled with salad and tuna, you may want to go for a more robust, thicker and greasier crisp.

sandwich and crisps meal deal

Categorising the Many Types of Crisps

There are many types of crisps out there, varied by cooking methods, shape, and flavour styles. From gourmet to those more familiar crisp types, let’s take a look at some of the options.

The traditional potato variety

Machine or hand cut straight from the potato, these are the most common type of fried crisp (though sometimes baked) and offer the broadest flavour spectrum. This includes many big brand offerings, such as Tyrell’s and Walkers - from familiar, classic flavours to gourmet offers like the Sensations range including Chicken and Thyme and Sweet Chilli. We have our own range of SPAR Select gourmet crisps with our take on updates to classic flavours, such as mature cheddar and onion and sea salt and malt vinegar.

From a texture perspective, traditional crisps offer a ‘medium’ level of crunch. They are thin cut and often leave a little grease on the fingers along with the flavouring. They are a sound match with many types of sandwich texture wise, and with a wide range of flavours on offer, these are a safe pick.

Corn based

Corn based snacks include nachos, such as Doritos but also your maize based snacks, including the likes of Wotsits, Monster Munch and Onion Rings. These types of crisps can be made into a multitude of shapes as they are not sliced from a potato – which gives you the quirky shapes you find, from spheres, to rings and monster feet!

Texture wise, these are softer than your potato crisps, and will pair well with crusty bread and big hearty sandwich fillings. There are less familiar flavours on offer with many maize based crisps, and tangy flavourings are often used such as pickled onion and spices. However, corn nachos are available in more neutral crisp flavours.

Thin and light

In this category are your lighter, puffed snacks, including Pops, Skips and Quavers. These are made from potato starch and offer very little crunch and more of a melt-in-the-mouth experience. Because these are so light, there are very few lunch sandwiches we would choose to pair them with. Soft bread and wraps are just not enough of a texture contrast. However, hearty baguettes or crusty rolls are a sound match. Your normal triangular pack will have to rely on crunchy fillings for a starchy snack marriage – think crunchy salad, or crispy bacon.

Because of their puffed and more ‘open’ structure, the flavouring on starch-based crisps tends to be a little more subtle, as the flavouring seeps into the snack rather than sit on the surface. That means less grease and flavour residue on the fingers, and a softer flavour on the pallet. If you are going to have a pack of these in your meal deal, make sure you pick a hearty, flavourful sandwich.

Thick and crunchy

Many brands now offer thicker and crunchier crisps. Again, potato based, but cut that little thicker and often in a ridged shape, such as McCoys or Walkers Max. Not so popular in the cinema due to their crunch decibel level, these types of crisps are packed full of flavour and deliver more of a carb hit than your traditional thin cut crisps. They often have strong flavours as the seasoning tends to sit between the ridges. From steak to paprika flavours, there’s plenty on offer and these make a great match with your soft sandwiches like wraps and soft bread with soft, mayonnaise based fillings.

Our Favourite Sandwich and Crisp Flavour Combinations

So, we’ve given you some texture and flavour theories, and categorised our crisps. Now let’s put the theories into practice. Here are a few of our favourite sandwich and crisps combinations.

1. Egg mayonnaise sandwich on white bread, with Smokey Bacon Walkers – bacon and eggs – classic combo. Soft eggs and mayonnaise need a thick and hearty crisp to get your texture contrast.

2. Mature cheddar cheese and pickle on brown bread, with Tyrell’s Ready Salted potato crisps – the acidic tang of pickle needs a neutralising flavour – ready salted fits the bill.

3. Chicken Tikka baguette with SPAR Onion Rings – Chicken Tikka is a strong flavour and you are going to need a strong flavour of crisp to compete. Onion rings are a great match texture wise and onions are a regular in Indian cuisine.

4. Chicken Caesar wrap with Paprika flavoured Walkers Max – Soft floury wrap, soft chicken with subtle flavours – offset with a crunchy, fiery crisp packed with flavour. Match made in meal deal heaven.

5. Chicken salad and Mayonnaise on a white roll with Sweet Chilli Sensations – Sweet and Sour Chicken anyone? This is a perfect match, the sweet chilli will add an extra tang to the mayonnaise and tomatoes on your sandwich.

Get your lunch sandwiches and crisps at SPAR

So, get a more satisfying lunch on the go and grab a sandwich and crisps from your local convenience store or forecourt - or check out our deals to see if any of your favourites are on offer. There you’ll find a quality selection of branded as well as our own brand crisps with an array of sandwiches made fresh daily. The choice is yours.

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