I tried KFC's new Beyond fried chicken and decided while it doesn't quite taste like chicken, it's close enough
Irene Jiang / Business Insider
I tried KFC and Beyond's new Beyond fried chicken.
- On Wednesday, KFC and Beyond Meat announced an extended test release of Beyond fried chicken in two cities in February.
- I attended a media preview for the new plant-based product, and I tasted the four flavors of Beyond fried chicken.
- My verdict: while Beyond fried chicken doesn't taste exactly like chicken, it's close enough that it satisfies a chicken craving.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
You've heard of the Beyond burger - now meet Beyond fried chicken.
On Wednesday, KFC and Beyond Meat announced the arrival of Beyond fried chicken, which is designed to taste and look like fried boneless wings. The plant-based "chicken" will be available in February at select KFC restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
If all goes well during this test run, we may see Beyond fried chicken on KFC menus nationwide, or even around the world, Burger King CMO Andrea Zahumensky told Business Insider.
I popped by KFC and Beyond's media preview event for the new poultry proxy, and I was able to sink my teeth into several meat-like morsels. Here's what they tasted like:
A dish was placed before me with eight pieces of Beyond fried chicken: two from each flavor that will be available at restaurants.
From left to right, the flavors were un-sauced, honey BBQ, Buffalo, and Nashville hot. They are all flavors already available at KFC, so this review won't focus on them.
On the outside, these look more like chicken nuggets than boneless wings.
But KFC and Beyond worked for half a year to develop a chicken product with realistic muscle fiber.
Going in, I wasn't sure what to expect. I pulled it apart for a look inside.
The delicate crispy crust snapped under my fingers, and the "chicken" flaked. I took a bite.
It was soft and vaguely meaty. While it didn't taste quite like chicken, it also didn't not taste like chicken.
It didn't quite have the same stringy pull that chicken has. The fibers are larger and softer.
But maybe it's good that Beyond fried chicken tastes like chicken from a parallel universe, and not like the thing itself.
In "Kitchen Confidential", Anthony Bourdain wrote, "Chicken is boring. Chefs see it as a menu item for people who don't know what they want to eat."
I don't entirely agree — chicken can be great. But there are so many ways chicken can be bland, boring, or disappointing.
If you've ever had a piece of unseasoned, nuked-to-heck chicken that you have to tear apart with your teeth, you know what I'm talking about.
Beyond fried chicken is much better than that chicken.
It's not as juicy or flavorful as a free-roaming hen from your grandmother's farm in the countryside, but it's pretty darn good.
The most important question to me and to fried chicken lovers is: will Beyond fried chicken satisfy a fried chicken craving?
For me, the answer is yes. But it's up to the fans to decide when Beyond fried chicken arrives in February.
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