Fast food review: Chili Cheese Nachos at Wendy’s

In a word: delicious.  While you can only get it in Canada, us Canadians miss out on certain US-specific menu items like spicy chicken nuggets.  And I think I would enjoy this over spicy chicken.

chili cheese nachos

Why this is tasty

These aren’t even the world’s greatest ingredients.  It’s your regular nachos, Wendy’s chili, and some weird liquid processed cheese.  But I gotta say… it is a food combination that works very well.  You have the meaty flavour of the chili with the added kick of the umami/MSG-ness of yeast extract.  And the “cheese” (if you can call it that) provides the rich taste of fat.  And there is the salty taste of salt.  Meat, MSG, saltiness… these are all classic flavours that human beings enjoy.

How it’s put together

This creation has some weird ingredients that your grandmother would never use.

Xanthan gum: This is a thickener that prevents the chili from being runny.  It’s the same idea as adding flour or cornstarch.

Yeast extract: It’s like MSG.

Silicon dioxide: It’s an anti-thickening agent apparently.  Note that silicon dioxide is the main ingredient in sand.  This is sand… the difference being that it is very fine sand.

Natural flavourings: I have no idea what these are.  However, I like how the list of ingredients includes the names of many natural flavourings (e.g. sugar, onion powder, garlic powder) yet suddenly the flavourings stop being named.  These are probably similar to their “artificial flavour” counterparts, except that said chemicals are derived in a “natural” way (see this article for more information).

Sodium phosphate: According to a site I found on Google… “An emulsifier [e.g. sodium phosphate] is added to allow for the uniform dispersion of two or more ingredients that would otherwise be immiscible. The most common specific purpose of an emulsifier is to prevent oil from separating from the rest of the mixture. Sodium phosphate is commonly added as an emulsifying agent to processed cheeses, processed meats and canned soups.”

Knowing all this, I would still eat this.  Nom nom nom.

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