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The hunt for Red Tapatío Chips, concluded

Empty bag, chips gone
Empty bag, chips gone
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

So the hunt for Tapatío hot sauce flavored Doritos that I embarked on last week has come to a happy conclusion. Over the past few days, several gracious readers shared chip-sighting locations that ranged from a gas station in Los Feliz to the Superior supermarket in Lynwood.

And in the end, the day before I planned to hit the Lynwood store, I found them during a weekend trip to San Diego at a gas station. Just like that.

So how were they? The chips had a fair amount of heat, to start with, which is a good thing. The powdery coating was the right shade of Tapatío red-orange. And the taste did have that distinctive vinegary Tapatío tang (even though vinegar isn't a listed ingredient in the sauce).

There was also an oddly familiar taste that had nothing to do with Tapatío, and I realized why after reading a Frito-Lay press release today, which explains that the "distinct Tapatío taste is added to top-selling Doritos Nacho Cheese flavored tortilla chips to make Doritos Tapatío." Aha, that's the taste - Nacho Cheese. Not bad, but it distracts the palate a bit from the Tapatío-fest.

The company came out with the Doritos and two other kinds of Tapatío-flavored chips after partnering with the Los Angeles family-owned company that makes the sauce, a regional obsession that people have been drenching their chips with for years.

And on that note, I'll admit that I decided to do a little doctoring. After returning home, I took the remaining Doritos in the bag, put them on a plate, cracked open a bottle of Tapatío sauce, and shook it all over the chips the old-fashioned way. Delicious.