March 1, 2021
Category: Pop Culture
KFC Bucket List - KFC Foods You Should Try
Tender, moist chicken coated in batter and fried to a perfect golden brown. It’s hard to beat the taste of delicious fried chicken. It’s a southern classic. Invented by the Scottish and popularized in America, fried chicken is a popular dish around the world.
And while plenty of fast food restaurants serve fried chicken nowadays, it’s hard to compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Thanks to its blend of “11 secret herbs and spices” and a jolly-looking mascot, KFC’s popularity has led to over 24,000 restaurants in 145 countries. That makes it the second largest franchise in the world, only behind McDonalds. But how did it become the powerhouse we know and love today?
Most people associate KFC with Colonel Sanders, but few know much about the man himself. Harland Sanders was born September 9, 1890, on a farm just outside of Henryville, Indiana. As the eldest son in the family, he was often left in charge of his 3 siblings. To help his family, Sanders learned how to cook at just 7 years old. While his mom worked at a local canning factory, he was in charge of cooking for his family.
Then, at 12, Sanders left home to find a job and help provide for his family. Over the next 28 years of his life, he would hold numerous jobs and titles, including farmhand, ferryboat operator, streetcar conductor, fireman, and even a brief stint as a soldier in Cuba.
The original Harland Sanders Café in Corbin Kentucky, which served hungry patrons from 1940 to 1956. (Photo Credit: Brent Moore)
In 1930, things really changed for Sanders. He opened a Shell gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. In return for a modest salary, Sanders and his wife and kids lived rent-free in the backroom of the station.
Every Sunday night, Sanders cooked a delicious meal for his family (and the occasional traveler). He whipped up southern comfort foods like country ham, steak, string beans, okra, biscuits, and, of course, his pan-fried chicken, a recipe he had perfected over the years.
Sanders soon realized that he could sell his homemade meals to interstate travelers looking for dining options. So, that’s exactly what he set out to do. At the Shell gas station, hungry travelers were served at Sanders’ own dining table, which only seated six people. The food was so well-received, that he removed the gas pumps entirely and reopened the location as a restaurant.
For his contributions to the state’s cuisine, the governor of Kentucky gave Sanders the famed title of “Colonel,” which would stick with him the rest of his life.
In 1940, Colonel Sanders moved his operations to a more suitable location across the street from his former gas station. His new restaurant, now dubbed “Sanders Court & Cafe,” seated 142 customers and even had a motel for diners to spend the night.
By the 1950s, Sanders learned of a new interstate highway that would effectively kill his business . To prevent this, he sold his restaurant property and looked to franchise his famous chicken recipe to established restaurant owners. It was also at this time that he began to don his famous white suit, which he always wore in public.
The new Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises were permitted to use his recipe, name, and likeness in exchange for a fee of $0.05 per piece of chicken sold. After signing his first franchisee in 1952, Sanders set out on a journey across the country to enlist even more franchisees.
By 1963, Sanders had signed on more than 600 KFC restaurants and was receiving an annual profit of $300,000. But, at 74 years old, Colonel Sanders had enough of running the business and sold KFC to investors for $2 million. As part of the deal, he would remain the figurehead of the brand, feature prominently in commercials, and oversee the quality of KFC franchises.
After an extraordinary life, Colonel Sanders passed away at 90 years old. At the time of his death, there were around 6,000 KFC locations. His legacy continues to live on through his fried chicken recipe and as the recognizable face of KFC.
To the rest of the world, KFC is much more than just fried chicken. KFC has managed to successfully expand globally by encouraging “localization” of its menu, moving beyond just the famous fried chicken.
But with free reign to tweak the menu, some international franchises have created one-of-a-kind KFC menu offerings to appeal to their local audience. Dishes like the “Chinese Shrimp Burger” and “Australian Nacho Box” really had our team wondering - what are the most unique and taste worthy dishes offered by KFC?
With international travel restricted at the moment, it’s not possible to enjoy the many local variations of KFC dishes served around the world. But that hasn’t stopped us from daydreaming about our very own “KFC Bucket List.”
We’ve researched 100s of international KFC websites to find the most unique menu items still available today. Here are some of the highlights.
KFC opened its first location in the Philippines in 1966. Fast forward to today, and there are now 200+ restaurant locations across the island country.
KFC Philippines offers a unique dish that’s sure to win locals and travelers alike - the sisig rice bowl. Sisig is a traditional Filipino dish that features all of the meat from a pig’s head, including the snout, ears, and cheeks. In some cases, the pig’s liver may also be utilized. The meat mixture is minced and fried, seasoned with various chili spices, and finally mixed with egg and onion.
But this is Kentucky Fried Chicken we’re talking about, not “Kentucky Fried Pork.” KFC’s version uses ALL chicken, no pork.
It comes as no surprise that KFC Japan offers its own variant of the chicken sandwich. At first glance, the Tartar Tomato Sandwich seems ordinary, but it’s hiding something interesting between its buns. The sandwich pairs two unusual sauces, a smoky tomato sauce AND a tartar sauce.
Now we know you might be thinking, tartar sauce with chicken and not fish? In Japan, tartar sauce is more of a grainy mustard than a mayonnaise-based sauce like in the U.S. Japanese tartar sauce is often paired with fried shrimp or fried chicken.
One YouTube reviewer described the sandwich as having a “smokey” BBQ tomato flavor and overall graded it as “one of the better tasting sandwiches” he’s ever had at KFC. Say no more.
No trip to KFC is complete without their world-famous biscuits. But our northern neighbors are baking up something even more delicious.
KFC Canada has partnered with Cinnabon to release Dessert Biscuits. Yes, you read that correctly. This limited-time item is made with KFC’s flakey buttermilk biscuit, lathered with Cinnabon’s brown sugar glaze, and drizzled with cream cheese frosting. The final touch is a chocolate western bow tie to honor the Colonel.
The Canadian menu also includes a Popcorn Poutine Bowl, a KFC take on the iconic Quebec snack. The bowl includes fries, cheese curds, popcorn shrimp, and gravy. Could the Popcorn Poutine be Canada’s spin on the famous KFC bowl? If so, we’re totally on board, eh?
How do you cater to a country that’s 20% vegetarian? You offer a meatless version of your famous chicken sandwich, of course! The Veg Zinger has been an exclusive item to KFC India since 2010 and is offered at all of their 380 locations.
KFC Brazil’s Grand BBQ Bacon Chicken Sandwich may resemble its American counterpart, but it’s packed with extra toppings and flavor. This sandwich includes thick slices of bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and BBQ sauce, all on a toasted brioche bun.
KFC is still relatively new to Pakistan, only opening its doors in 1997. But the chain has since expanded to 92 locations across 25 major cities.
KFC Pakistan’s latest menu item is the Tangy Masala Chicken, which combines an Indian favorite, Tikka Masala, with KFC’s famous wings. While the origin of Tikka Masala is highly debated, there’s no doubt the dish is popular in Pakistan and in much of the world. Tikka Masala normally consists of boneless chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yoghurt, which is roasted in a creamy curry sauce in the oven.
The fried chicken version by KFC seems to ditch the traditional yoghurt sauce, instead opting for a more tangy, sweet base.
Gravy-lovers everywhere rejoiced when KFC United Kingdom announced its latest Christmas offering - The Gravy Burger Box.
As the name suggests, the Gravy Burger Box features plenty of brown gravy and is easily the messiest food on our list. This brand-new burger contains a chicken patty, American cheese, and a ‘hash brown gravy boat’ to hold your gravy. The meal is also served with a dip that’s half mayo and half gravy, aptly named Gravynnaise™.
Chances are if you’ve smelled durian before, you likely still remember it. The potent stench of this fruit is often compared to trash, rotten onions, or gym socks. The smell is so bad that eating durian outdoors is even outlawed in Singapore.
Thankfully, the flesh of this fruit is a different story. It's bittersweet and creamy, making it truly a beloved snack throughout Southeast Asia.
KFC Cambodia and KFC Malaysia are offering durian balls, which are deep fried to a golden brown and filled to the brim with D24 durian, one of the well-known durian species also known as Sultan Durian. If you have a soft spot for stinky tropical fruit, then this item is a must-try!
KFC breakfast is offered at select locations throughout Asia. KFC Mongolia features an Egg Twister that features an omelette, chicken tender, and spicy mayo, all wrapped in a flour tortilla.
For those longing to travel to Japan, KFC Singapore has created the Shoyu Crunch. This Japanese-inspired dish features chicken marinated in fermented soy sauce, coated with crispy spicy red breading, and topped with seaweed flakes and sesame seeds. To elevate the dining experience, KFC has set up immersive booths with “views” of Mt Fuji, so visitors can feel like they’re in Japan.
This past summer, KFC Singapore released the White Grape Froyo. This tasty frozen yogurt, made with Australian milk and white grapes, is perfect for beating the intense tropical heat.
Truthfully, we could have filled our entire KFC Bucket List with items just from KFC Singapore. Their creativity shows with their recent festive dessert, the Marshmallow Chocolate Hazelnut Egg Tart. This Portuguese-style egg tart features a flakey pastry filled with egg custard, a blend of chocolate and hazelnut, and topped with a large marshmallow. If you’re into s’mores, this treat was made for you.
In Latin America, you’ll find churros practically everywhere. Churros can be eaten for breakfast, or as a late-night snack to curb your hunger. They’re also enjoyed around the holidays. KFC Colombia offers a 3-piece churro dessert that’s dusted with cinnamon and sugar. The dipping sauce is a dulce de leche treat.
For Polish fans of the Colonel, KFC Poland offers a BBQ Wrapper. This sweet and smokey wrap contains juicy chicken tenders, french fries, bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, roasted onions and pickles.
KFC Netherlands recently unveiled the first ever Dutch-inspired snack to be offered at KFC - chicken bitterballens. Essentially a Dutch meatball, bitterballens are bite-size balls of beef and batter that are deep fried and served with savory mustard. This snack is very popular at bars and pairs well with beer. KFC’s twist on the Dutch classic swaps beef for a spicy chicken filling.
KFC South Korea has really outdone themselves with this one. Their newest item is the colossal Golden Moon Chicken Burger, which sits nearly 4 inches high. The name of this menu item is likely a tribute to the popular South Korean film, New World, which features a crime organization known as “Goldmoon.”
This burger features a thick chicken thigh patty, lettuce, onion, pickles, cheese, sliced ham, honey mustard, and a half-boiled egg to symbolize the Golden Moon. Try not to drop it!
KFC is helping millions of Malaysians rise and shine with their newest menu item, Nasi Lemak. This traditional breakfast dish consists of white rice cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in a banana leaf, served with anchovies, cucumbers, and boiled eggs. KFC’s spin on the national dish of Malaysia includes crispy fried chicken legs and thighs.
We hope that our KFC Bucket List inspires you to get out and try some of these unique dishes once the pandemic ends. And remember, if you ever find yourself down, just think of Colonel Sanders’ story. He worked hard, never gave up, and always strived to be the best at his craft.