Food News

KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken Doesn't Taste Like Chicken #EpicFail

The cool-looking, green box is the only acceptable part of Kentucky Fried Chicken's Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets.
The cool-looking, green box is the only acceptable part of Kentucky Fried Chicken's Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets. Danny Gallagher
You know the cliche, "It tastes like chicken?" KFC's new Beyond Fried Chicken is the opposite of that.

Perhaps that's supposed to be the point of Beyond Meat, the plant-based meat alternative, but KFC's addition of Beyond Meat to its fast-food menu is the evil doppelgänger of all delicious chicken entrées in taste, texture and type.

KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets' problems start with the menu. The price for six meager nuggets is $8. Other real chicken items like the chicken tenders and even the popcorn chicken are less than $6. Beyond Meat is usually more expensive because it's such a new product, but it's easier to look past that if the product is good.

Viral reviews of its awfulness are all over the internet, making it impossible to avoid going into a taste test without low expectations. Even without that mental bias, KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken would still be just as disappointing. Chicken, real or otherwise, is one of those magical foods that somehow finds a way to have some kind of redeeming taste even if it's overcooked or mass-produced. Chicken never really gets burned; it's just blackened or Cajun style.

These nuggets don't smell, taste or feel like chicken at all. The fried skin (or whatever that is) feels like some morbid wrapping paper for a secret Santa exchange in hell. The rest of the first bite takes a steady downturn from there.

The "chicken" is very tough. Even mediocre chicken is at least tender even on a creepy level. This stuff feels like biting into a cartilage nugget, unlike something made for human teeth and more like a bite stick for dogs.

These chicken nuggets are COVID-symptom simulators.

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The taste of KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken isn't bad; it's not good either. It's just not there. It doesn't exist. These chicken nuggets are COVID-symptom simulators. There aren't even any spices on them. KFC advertises that all of its chicken items have unique blends of "13 herbs and spices," and there are zero on these fried erasers. It's a good thing I ordered extra KFC sauce so there would be a semblance of taste, even if that feels like doing shots of KFC sauce for a frat pledge.

If nothing else, that grainy grade-school flavor of reheated chicken passed out on school lunch trays would have been nice. The nuggets still wouldn't be worth the price but would have at least provided an experience of some kind. Bland doesn't feel like a strong enough word to describe it. It's beyond bland.

Alas, if the word "chicken" is in the name of your restaurant — or in this case the letter "C" — then the stuff you sell better damn well taste something like chicken. That should be the first sentence of the first page of your business plan.

Then again, maybe it's called "Beyond" Fried Chicken because the taste is beyond our senses, like some kind of culinary tesseract that tastebuds in our dimension can't sense.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.