Lately, KFC and McDonald’s seem to be hot on each other's heels in the race to fight for a larger slice of domestic pie in mainland China. Coincidence or not, both chains have launched new and somewhat quriky offerings.
McDonald's fired the first salvo with its coke-fried chicken at the end of June. The dish's origins are relatively vague, but surprisingly the combo has been consistently popular as a local home-cooked meal. Apparently, it’s so favoured by the Chinese local palette that the golden arches’ has finally decided to throw Coke-fried chicken wings onto its menu.
On Chinese social media Weibo, the dish has been hash-tagged as the ‘authentic’ Coke-fried wing (#正宗可乐鸡翅#). Created by two of the world's largest corporations, this is actually the first cola-flavoured chicken dish officially recognised by the Coca-Cola Company. It certainly has captured a lot of eyeballs. Since the dish's launch, the hashtag became one of the top trending topics on Weibo, currently with some 76 million views.
But how does it taste? The McDonald’s rendition is slightly different from most homemade wings. Instead of braising them and serving them smooth and saucy, they use a method much like the one it uses for its standard Spicy McWings: deep-fried and crispy. The cola-flavoured wings are slightly fizzy on first bite and have a citrusy lemon Coke flavour, followed by a kick from the soy seasoning.
It sells for 11.5RMB a pair and will be available at select McDonald’s restaurants until August 7. If your nearest Macca's doesn’t have them, Meituan is also delivering them at 12.5RMB for two.
In other news, if you want to get more environmentally friendly but can't help indulging in some fast-food still, perhaps lay off the coke-fried chicken and opt for some KFC instead. While numerous Chinese cities are scrambling to catch up with the new local trash-sorting scheme, KFC has introduced its first-ever vegetarian burger option in the mainland, maybe to lower its carbon emissions and help out the cause (intentionally or not, who's to say).
The new vegetarian burgers debuted in KFC outlets around Shanghai on July 1. Instead of a beef patty, the burger has thick slices of fried, cheese-stuffed Portobello mushroom. The flavour is distinctly mushroom-y, and the extra cheese gives it a creamier texture than its meat counterparts.
If you’re not a fan of mushrooms (or lots of cheese), this one’s not for you, but it’s a decent option for those looking for meat alternatives. Available 'while supplies last' at all KFCs around town, the mushroom burgers run for 23RMB each. Word to the wise: they’re not as filling as your standard cheeseburger, so you might want to grab a side of fries while you’re at it.
By Janelle Chew and Chris House