When it comes to salsa, I think of the three S’s: sweet, salty and spicy. With a balance of these three qualities, a great salsa can be born. After researching what the most popular brands of salsa were, I decided to get to dipping for the ultimate taste test.

5.     On the Border

If you love smoky, spicy salsa, On the Border is all yours. But after eating all of these salsas in one sitting, On the Border came dead last. This salsa tasted as though sugar was its worst enemy. There was an overbearing amount of cilantro and smoky spice, and not enough sweetness. On the Border only reminded me that salsa truly needs the three S’s in order to be considered one of the greats.

4.     Newman’s Own

A popular brand, Newman’s Own is the perfect salsa for people who can’t handle anything spicy or hot. As I was trying this dip, I could taste the natural flavors of tomatoes, onions and peppers. I can really only picture myself eating this salsa with eggs or in a recipe. If I were rating salsa based on its subtle spiciness and blandness, Newman’s Own would be the king.

3.     Tostitos

A classic salsa I know that’s in everyone’s fridge, Tostitos is currently the best-selling salsa in the U.S. Why? Because of its chunky sweetness and subtle spicy aftertaste. The reason I have this at No. 3 is because it’s nothing special compared to Chi Chi’s and Pace. Tostitos is the sweetest salsa on this list. I do taste a lot of salt as well, but the only spiciness I can sense is after I have swallowed my tortilla chip. Without the three S’s, Tostitos belongs at No. 3

2.     Pace

Close in second, Pace reminds me so much of Chi Chi’s. It has all the S qualities, except for spiciness. If someone blindfolded me, I would’ve guessed that this was a milder version of Chi Chi’s. For me, this tasted more like a spicier marinara sauce because of the watery texture and the sweet tomato flavor. Although this salsa can be addicting, it didn’t make it quite to the top.

1.     Chi Chi’s

This salsa gets an A++ because it encompasses all three S’s. At first, the salsa is sweet and refreshing in your mouth, then BAM, there’s a kick of spiciness that comes in with a hint of salt. Because this salsa is not too hot with the right amount of sweetness, Chi Chi’s is without a doubt No.1

Joanna McNeilly is a sophomore writing, rhetoric and technical communication major. Contact Joanna at mcneilje@dukes.jmu.edu.