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KFC Japan's interesting twist on the Hot Chicken Trend: Ginger Hot Chicken

KFC Japan's interesting twist on the Hot Chicken Trend: Ginger Hot Chicken

There are culinary combinations that are very much mathematical anomalies, the whole creating something greater than the sum of its parts. Spicy fried chicken is one of those unions of gustatory alchemy. 

 

As a spice lover, the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken in recent years and its debut in American KFC’s made me hopeful for a release in Japan, however, there was a big problem. Generally, the tastes of Japanese consumers tend to shy away from spice and grease. Luckily, KFC Japan has turned to another delicious intermediary flavour: ginger. The Ginger Hot Chicken (ジンジャーホットチキン) is a boneless piece of fried chicken covered with a generous dusting of Japanese togarashi (とうがらし) pepper flakes. 

 

A somewhat skewed ratio of crispy exterior, which was visibly red from the spicy pepper flake, to chicken-y interior. (Image credit: Eugene Lee)

 

Starting with the pros. The ginger and spice really compliment each other without one flavour dominating the other and this was certainly one of the spiciest menu items widely available in Japan. Also, either I was extremely lucky, or KFC purposefully added an extra layer of crispy, fried goodness to the top of my two orders of the dish. The shatteringly crispy skin was excellent. 

 

Unfortunately, there were certainly cons to KFC’s new menu offering. KFC elected to cut their chicken extremely thinly, leading to extremely dry chicken. The ginger flavour, while good, tasted very much like pre-grated ginger from a tube. This product is often fine when used as a background flavouring for dishes like ginger pork, but when it is leading flavour the mass-produced nature of the pre-grated ginger product is a little off-putting. 

 

My personal final verdict is to try this dish as a novelty. The ginger and spice do make a good combination. However, in its current incarnation, a better chicken experience might be to take their original recipe fried chicken, add a bit of togarashi pepper flakes and dip the chicken in some ginger juice. 

 

The limited-edition Ginger Hot Chicken is available at KFC Japan nationwide from 13 January and subject to price and availability changes.

 

Header image credit: Eugene Lee

 

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