It’s finger-lickin’ good!
This tagline has lived on since the 1950’s, when Colonel Sanders first sold his fried chicken recipe to restaurant owners. 11 herbs and spices were all it took to make Sanders famous. Born out of Kentucky, sales of the chain is now ranked the second largest globally. What started as a roadside restaurant has made waves in the Americas, then Europe, followed by Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. In fact, KFC created history by being the first Western fast food chain to enter the Chinese market, challenging the norm of Chinese cuisine.
Biting into crispy chicken became more popular than steamed, grilled, or baked counterparts. Some say it is the crunch factor, while others attribute its success to the succulent chicken meat. Ardent fans can even allegedly tell the difference between KFC chicken served in two countries.
Though fried chicken is still its staple, KFC expanded into sandwiches, wraps, and side dishes since the 1990’s. The signature coleslaw and whipped potato were never in the original menu, although they are now the perfect chicken dip and a delusional source of vegetables. The power of globalization took products on a further spin as variants of chicken and non-chicken dishes were designed to placate locals. Clearly, the chain has to continuously up their game in light of competitors like Popeyes, Texas Chicken, and Chick-fil-A.
How innovative has KFC become? Would you travel to world to suss out unique products? Drool along with these 20 hand-lickin’ items!
20 Yakiniku Bento (Indonesia)
The concept of yakiniku rice is not new. But yakiniku rice, in a bento, sold in Indonesia? That’s an American-Japanese-Indonesian cross which is, in actuality, not that difficult to swallow. White rice, lettuce, and crispy mushrooms are served alongside tomato sauce and classic chicken bites to create what seems like a balanced meal. The chicken still steals the limelight, taking up nearly half of the bento. Neatly arranged in compartments, the meal makes a good takeaway—fast, clean, and easy to eat. Swap the rice for fries and add on the fizz, if you don’t mind the calories, and you are truly in for a treat.
19 Nacho Box (Australia)
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just a box of tortilla chips, salsa, and cheese. The Nacho Box was part of KFC Australia’s Nacho range that was released in 2014, possibly to cash in on the Mexican phase that was sweeping through the country then. While the promotional image looked absolutely appetizing, with a piece of popcorn chicken delicately balanced on every chip, netizens received a blended mess by the time the box made it to their trays. Well, speed is the aim of the game. Grab a spoon and look past the sloppy presentation, for the chicken tastes the same!
18 Green Curry Chicken Rice Bowl (Thailand)
Green curry is a must-have in Thailand. Green curry, also known as gang kiew whan, is made from green chillies and loads of coconut milk and has proven to be the spiciest yet milkiest curry concoction in Thailand. Coconut milk adds a tinge of sweetness, which perhaps quells the spice a little. Imagine the smell of spices that permeates the rice bowl placed in front of you. Choose to have the chicken crispy or have the green curry slathered all over the meat as you toss up everything. Chances are, despite the mess, you would be asking for more green curry.
17 Golden Egg (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei)
It is hot, spicy, sweet, and salty altogether. The Golden Egg Crunch is representative of the salted egg craze that is making its rounds in Asia. Chicken is spiced with a hot and spicy mix, then marinated in salted egg, curry leaves, and sweet basil. Every bite promises an excitement of flavors, leaving you to yearn for more. Salted egg fans may prefer to eat savor and the crispy chicken skin before digging into the flesh, while others may prefer to douse the spice in mashed potato. The catch? These are limited edition items timed with the celebration of the Lunar New Year. So if you have missed your tasting opportunity this year, remember to catch the next!
16 Chizza (Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, India, Thailand, South Korea, And Taiwan)
It’s a chicken pizza. No, it’s a chizza! Who cares about thick or thin pizza crusts when you can substitute the crust altogether with a sinful piece of breaded chicken? Embellish the chicken with mozzarella cheese, pineapple chunks, and chicken ham, and top it off with KFC’s signature cheese sauce. Sounds and looks tantalizing, right? That’s if servers have time to build the meal. Otherwise, what you get resembles more of child’s play. Not to say that the concept is bad, but that the execution can be improved. After all, it’s still that awesome piece of chicken filled with additional toppings!
15 Zinger Double Down King (South Korea)
South Korea has one-upped the United States in the Double Down feud. While the States features a Double Down sandwich, the Koreans can enjoy a Double Down with a fried chicken bun that sandwiches an additional juicy slice of beef. Don’t even try to count the calories, although there must be loads of protein hidden in the midst. If you love all sorts of meat, then this burger is built for you. After all that double-downing, you might be left wondering how the Koreans can still strut around in their slim figures. Oh right, they are in cosmetic heaven as well.
14 Corn And Philly Chicken Sandwich (Brazil)
In partnership with Philadelphia cream cheese, KFC Brazil has slapped cream corn onto its chicken sandwiches. Considering that some of us grew up licking cream cheese off bagels, cream cheese on chicken sounds more than perfect. Imagine spooning the cheese off a chicken fillet! A bit of cheese and a bit of crisp makes for a perk-me-up on mundane days. The decadence will leave you with a tad of food coma after, but you can always order another sandwich for the post-lunch boost. Leave the extra cheese as a dip for the fries. Do not waste a drop of it.
13 Paper-wrapped Chicken (Malaysia)
How do you cook chicken wrapped in paper? This concept is not new to Asians and was extremely popular in the 1970's. The paper keeps meat juices intact since they have nowhere to escape, producing a steamed or deep-fried chicken that is way juicier than its paperless alternative. More practically, the paper allows you to hold on to a leg of chicken without making a mess of your fingers. The set even includes plastic utensils and gloves so that devouring the meal is as hygienic as it can get. Served in twos with button mushrooms and a side of rice, a bun, or mashed potatoes, the paper-wrapped chicken serves as the healthier option.
12 Okonomiyaki Chicken (Hong Kong)
Given the proximity between Hong Kong and Japan, it is not surprising to note how Japanese culture has influenced the Hong Kong platter. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake that is topped with the thick and sweet okonomiyaki sauce, seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, and mayonnaise. KFC Hong Kong has replaced the pancake base with bone-in fried chicken, which is an interesting choice since okonomiyaki toppings sit better on a flat base. But one should always be prepared for some mess at KFC given its tagline. Don’t worry about the falling flakes and dripping sauces as long as they don’t land on you.
11 Double Down Dog (Philippines)
You’ve got to give it to the creative crew at KFC. A hot dog stuffed in chicken instead of a bun? How does that even work? Turns out, it was love at first bite for many—those who love the dogs and those who love KFC’s chicken fillets. Cheese sauce is squeezed over the dog in place of mustard or ketchup, and the concoction flew off the shelves in the Philippines the moment it was dished out. Only 50 dogs are served per store every day, so it is crucial that you line up early or deal with the disappointment after.
10 Shrimp Burger (China)
KFC is increasingly seen as a treat for the middle class with the restaurant setting and table service at particular outlets. Think the Zinger, but replace the chicken patty with a shrimp patty made of whole shrimps. You might think that’s quality and value-for-money, and it probably is what KFC is getting at. The launch of the shrimp burger in China seemed to be a response to the food safety scandal of chickens being fattened by drugs. Sales in KFC China tumbled then and adults became uncomfortable ordering chicken for their children. So, the shrimp burger bought the chain a bit of time before the scandal dies off and faith returns.
9 Cheese-topped Burger (Philippines)
This burger has its fair share of critics and fans. Some think that it is completely weird, messy, and greasy to be eating cheese over a burger. Others laud the creation, citing their love for cheese. The cheese-topped burger includes a chicken patty made with the original recipe, accompanied by a rich garlic parmesan dressing. The melted cheese apparently makes the bun cheesier and tastier, rather than gooier or stickier. The chain decided to take the Filipino love for cheese one notch up with this burger and claimed that the product will stay due to the attention it is getting.
8 Scoff-ee Cup (United Kingdom)
The wrapping, the tart shell, and the coffee itself - you can literally eat the whole cup! The red and white wrapping is made of thin sugar paper, the shell is made of heat-resistant white chocolate-coated biscuit, while the coffee hails from Seattle’s Best Coffee brew. The name “Scoff-ee Cup” is a play on the word “to eat quickly,” although you won’t need to worry of having to down the coffee cup in one gulp for it does not integrate that fast. Why do we need to think of packaging when we can scoff away? Evidently, KFC has the potential to expand beyond the fried chicken market.
7 Deep-fried Corn Soup (Japan)
Love corn, love soup, and love deep-fried food? Just when you think you deep-fried everything possible, head to Japan to see its deep-fried corn soup! A blob of corn potage is covered in batter and thrown into the deep fryer, producing a crispy golden brown puff that oozes with creamy soup and corn bits as you break it apart. As the flavors burst in your mouth, you’d be thinking twice about slurping down corn soup from bowls in future. One bite is never enough for you’d find yourself addicted to the high you get from the exploding puff. Again, no chicken needed, but the fried element remains.
6 Vegetable Strips (India)
For KFC to survive in India, it has got to go vegetarian. Fortunately, the deep-fried batter has found its way around vegetables, ditching the chicken in the dumps. Enter the Veg Strips, among other vegetarian options like the Paneer Zinger, the Potato Krisper Burger, and the Veg Rice Bowl. Shaped like deep-fried mozzarella sticks, these strips contain a mix of potato, peas, carrots, and corn to feature a brilliance of colors with each bite. Perfect as a snack or as a side dish, you can even choose to have these strips over a bed of rice for a fuller meal.
5 Parmesan Chicken With Truffle-flavored Cheddar Sauce (Singapore)
You need to be a cheese lover to appreciate this. Chicken is first breaded with golden crumbs, then powdered with parmesan cheese, before a generous heap of truffle-flavored cheddar sauce is poured all over. The parmesan sprinkles will tickle your taste buds, while the cheddar will pack the punch. Though messy eating is encouraged, clean freaks can choose to dip the chicken in the sauce instead. The truffle does not overwhelm 'til the extent that Gordon Ramsay would disapprove, but the cheese pleasantly overpowers. The parmesan chicken provides a refreshing meaty alternative to the raclette, which is typically paired with carbs.
4 Porridge (Singapore, Malaysia, China)
Rise and shine! If you are early enough while you’re traveling in Asia, why not stop by KFC for some comforting breakfast? Featuring the Zinger Porridge from Malaysia, the Original Recipe Porridge from Singapore, as well as fried dough fritters and preserved egg porridge from China. Porridge, in the Asian sense, refers to rice boiled in a large amount of water until it softens. It tastes plain on its own, but the ingredients that go along with it, such as pickles and pork, give it a savory taste. A bowl of hearty porridge is how some Asians fuel up for the rest of the day, and it only gets better with Sanders spices.
3 Shrimp Doughnut (Thailand)
Breaded mozzarella cheese is stuffed with minced shrimp, then dunked in batter and deep-fried until golden brown. The shrimp doughnut is shaped much like an onion ring, the difference being that you are munching on tiny shrimps instead of fried dough. The doughnut features as a side that goes along with a Zinger meal, but you can order it on its own, along with the fish doughnut that has also entered the Singapore market. If you prefer a stronger shrimp taste, you might want to hop over to Trinidad and Tobago for their Shrimp Zinger (fried breaded shrimps that are served with a dip) instead.
2 Egg Tart (Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand)
Typically consumed during breakfast, as a snack, or during tea, the Portuguese egg tart is KFC’s answer to the hunger pangs of Asians. KFC’s egg tart is based on the recipe provided by Margaret Wong, who is famous for making flaky tarts with silky egg custard in Macau. Lines would form outside her stall so that people can get their hands on the tarts which, by the way, are best eaten when they are piping hot. The price point and recipe that KFC adopted proved to be an instant hit, with people buying the tarts off the shelves in batches of six or a dozen. If you can’t make it to Macau, get a tart at the KFC nearby.
1 Dipping Fries (Romania)
Someone should have thought of dipping fries earlier, for some of us just cannot wait to smother tonnes of sauce on our fries. Shaped like fried potato skin, the hollowed-out fries ensure that all the dip you want stays on, so that every morsel is well-coated with some spicy, tangy, or barbecue kick. In Romania, you can choose to stick with the ketchup or pair the fries with sweet and sour, garlic, and curry sauce. Why not layer all these sauces on the same piece of potato since you can? Step aside, tortilla chips, for dipping fries will be the next sensation!