I tried KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken, and now I have hope for fast food in 2022
By Mary Meisenzahl
KFC debuted Beyond Fried Chicken across the US in January.
Though I eat animal products, I was surprised at how good these nuggets were.
I'm optimistic about more chains testing out new menu items and experiment with plant-based foods.
At the beginning of January, KFC released its Beyond Fried Chicken across the US after successful early tests dating back to 2019. While I do eat meat and other animal products, I was excited to see how the dish stacked up to KFC classics. The chicken chain sent me the 12-piece nuggets in a green box featuring Colonel Sanders, along with four different sauces to sample. My first reaction to the nuggets was at their size. They're huge, up to 2 inches wide and in uniform, rectangular shapes. Though the uniformly rectangular shape and size initially threw me, they looked good on closer inspection, with promising, crispy breading. I could see hints of KFC's seasoning on the breading, so I was happy to taste them. Of course I prepared my sauces, too. The nuggets were slightly too big to fit comfortably inside the sauce container. It's not a huge problem and is definitely fixable, but it was something I hadn't anticipated. The first bite (tried here by my fiancé Joe) delivered on everything I could want from a KFC nugget: juicy, crispy, flavorful. Not only did the texture feel right in a bite, it even looked right. Beyond Meat and KFC somehow nearly perfectly recreated the slightly stringy, pull-apart texture of a standard fast-food nugget. Like any fast food nugget, the flavor is not particularly "chicken-y," but that's not limited to plant-based varieties. Most of the taste comes from the breaded seasoning, which delivered in this case. The nuggets were hearty enough to hold up against huge globs of sauce without becoming soggy, crucial for the fast-food nugget as a vehicle for honey mustard sauce. Joe and I agreed we'd have trouble distinguishing these plant-based nuggets from a real chicken alternative. The differences are a bit more apparent without sauce, but that's mostly down to the shape of the nuggets, which is just cosmetic and doesn't really impact taste. The nuggets are available at $6.99 for 6 pieces, or $13.99 for 12 pieces. While slightly pricey for chicken nuggets, the large size does make it a slightly better deal. These nuggets really impressed me, and gave me hope for more brands to try creative and new menu items this year.
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