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KFC Malaysia Released A “Zero Chicken Burger” – But It’s Not Vegan / Vegetarian-Friendly

You know what KFC is without the chicken?

Just KF.

…. Okay lame.

In all seriousness, woke up today and KFC’s icon on Facebook had turned green. Malaysians being Malaysians, there were many ‘mak kau hijau’ and ‘bila masa KFC dah join PAS ni?’ jokes. But it’s actually in conjunction with the launch of KFC’s new Zero Chicken Burger, a ‘chicken’ burger that – you guessed it – has no chicken. Singapore released theirs in January, so we’re a little late, but better late than never, right?

A collaboration between KFC and the meat substitute brand Quorn, the burger’s meat-free patty is ‘made with the original recipe of the 11 herbs and spices we know and love, topped with a slice of cheese and a splash of tangy BBQ sauce.’

Here’s the catch though: it’s neither vegan nor vegetarian. According to Singapore’s Today Online, the reason is because although the patties are plant-based (they’re made from mycoprotein from fungi) they’re fried in the same oil as some of KFC’s chicken products, and the mayonnaise is not vegan, since it’s made from eggs. It also has cheese.

Which begs the question: who is KFC targeting? They’ve made a meat-free burger, but people who don’t eat meat can’t enjoy it. The only answer I’m left with is people who think of it as a novelty. Because the only reason I go to KFC is, well, for the chicken. And if I wanted to eat vegan food, I’d go to a vegan resto.

Still, I think it’s a good attempt to introduce mock meat to the masses. When Beyond Burgers made headlines a couple of years ago, I was genuinely confused as to why it was such a big deal – Chinese restaurants have been making mock meat for ages; some of which taste almost like the real thing. But then I realised that there aren’t many people beyond the Chinese community who are actually aware of its existence. Especially in Malaysia, where there aren’t many people who adopt a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle (those who do usually do so for religious reasons > health reasons).

So for curious diners, you might want to give the KFC Zero Chicken Burger a try: the burger costs RM12.99 ala carte, and is available for a limited time only, while stocks last. The set goes for RM15.99.

As for me, I think I’ll stick with my chicks.

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Review: McDonalds Malaysia’s New Spicy Chicken With Apple Slices Burger

Apples belong in pies.

They certainly don’t sound like something you’d put in a burger – but that’s exactly what McDonalds did with their new Spicy Chicken with Apple Slices Burger. Available for a limited time only, it’s described as a sweet and spicy blend with ‘real apple slices paired with crunchy spicy chicken patty, topped with black pepper mayo sauce, all tucked between a warm bun’.

So I went to the drive-through and got a set for brunch.

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I thought the set would come with Prosperity fries, but they turned out to be regular fries. Not sure if you’d need to request for it specifically or top up a certain amount to get the curly ones. Also included in the set was orange juice.

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I was feeling pretty hungry since I skipped breakfast, so I got the double patty (RM24+ per set).

One thing I like about McDonalds, which I’ve mentioned before, is that their products always look true to size, or at least close to the appearance of what is advertised – and this burger was no exception. Even if I hadn’t ordered the double patty, it was still sizable.

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There was a good amount of apple slices on top, slathered with sauce.

Verdict?

The patties that they use are the same as the ones used in the Spicy Chicken McDeluxe, but the addition of apple slices was a nice touch, as there was a sweet, fruity burst to balance out the saltiness, and the apples were also fresh and crunchy. The ‘black pepper mayo’ didn’t really have a black pepper taste (maybe it all went to the Prosperity burger? lol); and was a tad on the sweet side. Like dessert kinda sweet, which tasted weird when combined with the chicken. But other than that, the buns were nice and fluffy, and the chicken patties were good; fried to golden perfection, crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.

Overall, I think the Spicy Chicken with Apple Slices isn’t bad, but it feels like a #rehash of the Spicy Chicken McDeluxe and doesn’t offer anything special, unlike some of their other creations like the Nasi Lemak Burger, which I really liked. So, if you’d like to try this, it isn’t bad, but it’s nothing phenomenal.

But definitely better than the Prosperity Burger lol.

Meal For One: Humongous Fried Cheese Burger @ Caffeinees Puchong

“Never trust a place that serves a lot of dishes.” 

I can’t remember where I heard this pearl of wisdom before, but I agree that it has merit. Some restaurants specialise in one or two dishes, so you can trust that they’ve honed it to perfection. With a resto that serves multiple items, however, it’s harder to gauge if the food is ‘good’ per se. For instance, a chef might be good at making Western food, but they might not necessarily know how to make good Chinese food – unless you have a big kitchen with different chefs with different specialties.

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Caffeinees is one of those places with an extensive menu. Known for its fusion cuisine served in a high-end setting, the brand has two very popular outlets in Kampung Pandan Cheras and Sunway, and they’ve recently opened up a third on in Puchong Utama’s Industrial Park area. Aside from European-inspired dishes like pizzas and pastas, you will also find tower burgers, rice, noodles, sushi, coffee, wines… you name it, they probably have it!

I came here for lunch break during one of my WFH days. Parking is a bitch so either come here early, or you’ll have to park across the road.

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The interior features dim lighting, dark furniture, a chandelier and a bar – which would have looked classy if not for the packed seating arrangements. I can imagine the resto being quite noisy and crowded during peak hours. That being said, they cater for private events like product launches, birthday parties, weddings and more.

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I like the bar area. Classy!

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Prices are above average, so be prepared to fork out a little extra. They offer a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including milkshakes, fresh fruit juices, coffee and wines. I got a glass of chocolate milk shake (RM16), which was decent – smooth, creamy and not too sweet. I wish the serving was a bit bigger though.

Okay, so the reason why I came to Caffeinees was because I saw this post on FB right before lunchtime, lol. (Who says advertising isn’t effective?)  So despite the variety of items they had on offer, I went straight for the I Feel Skinny Today – stretchy fried mozzarella cheese  topped with deep fried chicken thigh, covered with Carribean sauce, nacho cheese sauce and a huge amount of caramelised onions. You can opt for a 60g block of fried cheese (RM28), or a 120g (RM30).

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In terms of size, the burger certainly did not disappoint. It was nicely wrapped for convenience, but eating it was still a messy affair as the filling/sauces kept spilling everywhere.

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As for taste, it was decent. Buns were soft, chicken was moist and cooked thoroughly –  but I felt the sauces were too overpowering, which masked the flavour of the mozzarella cheese.  Wouldn’t say it’s bad, but wouldn’t say it’s the best either. Definitely not something you eat every day – maybe a once-in-a-blue-moon treat if you feel like gorging on something really unhealthy and calorie-laden lol.

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This is not a review per se since they have so many items, it’d be impossible to try everything (hence, this meal-for-one post). So I’ve decided to rate it based on the following:

Price point: Above average (RM20++ for most dishes, but they also have items like lobsters and king crabs which are obviously much pricier)

Ambience: Comfy, but if you like peace and quiet, this is not a place to hangout especially during peak hours, due to the acoustics.  If you come in the mid-afternoon on weekdays, I think it would be much quieter. They have power points so you can plug in your devices/ laptops.

Service: Average.

Food: Can’t say much coz I only tried that one burger and a milkshake. Both were decent. They have a huge variety of items – breakfast/brunch sets, pastas, pizzas, Asian cuisine, lobsters, king crabs, even hi-tea sets.

Convenience: Location is not central; you will need to drive to get here or take a GRAB. Parking is very inconvenient – you either have to be extremely lucky to find a spot within the area, or park across the road.

CAFFEINEES (non-halal) 

Industrial Park, 23, Jalan PPU 2A, I-32, Taman Puchong Utama, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 1AM (daily)

caffeineespalace.com

 

Review: Marrybrown’s Fortune Burger (Why Didn’t I Try This Sooner?!)

Americans have their KFCs and McDonalds; Filipinos, their Jollibees. But here in Malaysia, Marrybrown stands proud as a homegrown contender. Founded in 1981 as the local answer to a burgeoning fast food industry, the brand has made a name for itself serving fried chicken and tasty burgers with a Malaysian twist.

I’ve always enjoyed Marrybrown’s fried chicken, which is juicy and has great flavour – but I haven’t had the chance to try out any of their burgers (because I always end up getting the chicken, haha!). The chain recently brought back their limited time only Fortune Burger for the Lunar New Year celebrations, so what better time to check it out?

Marrybrown’s Fortune Burger comes in two flavours: cheese ,and black pepper. The set includes crispy Golden Fortune Fries and a glass of Minute Maid orange juice.

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I visited the branch in Puchong Prima. Service was slow as it took almost 25 minutes to get my burger. (when fast food isn’t fast.) The fries came first. They were thin cut and very crispy. In terms of flavour, they were more akin to A&W’s curly fries, down to that salty, peppery taste. Good stuff. 

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The burger finally arrived, and it did not disappoint.

Deceptive advertising is a pet peeve of mine, especially when it comes to food. I understand that it’s part and parcel of marketing, because there’s no way real food can look as attractive as they do in ads – but I also think there’s a limit to how big of a difference there should be between what’s advertised and the actual product.

Thankfully, Marrybrown’s Fortune Burger was a pleasant surprise: featuring a humongous battered and deep fried chicken thigh, drenched in black pepper sauce and a generous heaping of button mushrooms and onions, sandwiched between two fluffy sesame buns.

The Malaysian black pepper sauce has a very strong and distinctive taste, thanks to the region’s cultural influences and the liberal use of local spices: so you get stuff like oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, galangal,  chillies etc. used as the sauce’s ingredients. The black pepper sauce on the Fortune Burger reminded me very much of the cheap but tasty chicken chops that they used to sell in high school – it had almost the exact same flavour. The chicken thigh was also fried to juicy perfection, and despite the copious amount of sauce, still retained a crispy exterior and juicy insides. In my personal opinion, it is way, WAY better than McDonald’s Prosperity Burger. 

The Fortune Burger started its run on January 13 so they’re probably going to take it off the menu very soon. Go try it out before it happens! Else, you’ll have to wait for the next year.

  • Price: RM15++
  • Satisfaction: worth way more

Singapore Welcomes FIVE GUYS and I’m Honestly Jelly

Singaporeans have it good. Not only do they have Jollibee (ie my favourite fried chicken ever. Sadly still not available in KL), their first ever FIVE GUYS store has also just opened. Today.  insert jealous meme here

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Long a cult-favourite in America, FIVE GUYS started off as a family-run burgers and fries joint in Washington, D.C in the 1980s. It quickly became popular, and was voted the #No.1 burger in the D.C Metro area. The family behind the business, the Murrells, had a simple concept: fresh, juicy burgers with all the toppings you could stuff between two fresh-baked buns. Decades on, the brand has thousands of franchises across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and legions of die-hard fans.

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The Singapore outlet at Plaza Singapura occupies a space of over 460 square metres, and seats up to 52 diners indoors. It will eventually have an outdoor seating area to accommodate up to 160 patrons. Following the FIVE GUYS ethos of freshness and quality, there are no freezers or microwaves at the outlet, and burgers and fries are made fresh every day. The meat is a perfected 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio, and patties are hand-made seven days a week on site, with no preservatives.

Meanwhile, the bread is baked fresh five days a week in a locally contracted bakery, following the same recipe used globally. Potatoes are cut fresh daily, soaked to remove the starch and double-fried in pure, no cholesterol peanut oil to create the firm exterior and fluffy ‘mashed-potato’ interior FIVE GUYs fans swear by. 

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What To Eat… 

Pay for a basic hamburger (or hotdog), then choose from 15 free toppings to create your ultimate dream burger. For me, that would be mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, ketchup, relish and onions – but they also have mustard, pickles, grilled onions, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Peppers, Bar-B-Que sauce, Hot Sauce and A1 Sauce. To top it off, bacon and cheese. I think the best part about this is that you get to pick and choose what you like, rather than have a burger with pre-selected ingredients and fish out the ew stuff (for me, it’s pickles).

Other sandwich options include a BLT stacked high, creamy grilled cheese, veggie burger sandwich, lettuce wraps and burger bowls.

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  • Burgers – Hand-formed burger patties with no preservatives. Buns are baked fresh daily with a secret recipe and warmed on a dedicated grill to get the perfect toast.
  • Hot Dogs – All-beef hot dogs are split and grilled lengthwise for a caramelised exterior. Comes with the added option of melted American-style cheese, crispy smoked bacon, or both.
  • Fries – Fries are cooked in peanut oil and made boardwalk style, firm on the outside with a creamy, mashed potato filling. Try them with spicy Cajun seasoning for a kick. 
  • Shakes – FIVE GUYS shakes have a creamy, vanilla base. Customise them by adding one or more of the eleven premium mix-ins like crispy bacon(!), real bananas, fresh strawberries or cold-brewed coffee made daily in store.

FIVE GUYS (Singapore)

68 Orchard Road, Plaza Singapura, #01-32, Singapore 238839
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Tel: (65) 6976 4385

fiveguys.sg

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Review: Fried Chicken Burgers @ The Burg, Damansara Uptown

In the Klang Valley, fried chicken burgers are a rarity – especially if you’re looking for the homemade kind. You may find them in gourmet burger joints, but with burgers priced upwards of RM20++, it might not always be kind on the wallet.

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Enter The Burg at Damansara Uptown, a humble pop-up joint sandwiched between a bank and a kopitiam. Opened in December last year, the stall has been gaining a steady fan base for its juicy fried chicken burgers – done gourmet style, but with street prices. The menu is limited, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.

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Young chef and proprietor Arthur Cheong has experience working in professional kitchens and as a home baker, before deciding to venture into the burger business. His unique and creative take on burgers include flavours that are well loved by many Malaysians, if not slightly unconventional. There’s the daichow-inspired buttermilk, Japanese curry, Roasted Sesame and the ever popular Salted Egg.

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If you’re expecting fast food, look elsewhere – each burger is cooked to order so anticipate a 15 to 20 minute (longer when there’s a line) wait time. Seating is available at the kopitiam next to the stall, but you’ll have to order drinks from them.

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We got their bestseller – the Salted Egg – which came in a glorious mess of sauces. The chicken was fried to crispy golden brown perfection, overflowing with juices on the inside, topped with refreshing coleslaw and sandwiched between two fluffy buns. I think the most impressive part  was how well the different ingredients gelled – rather than overpowering one another, you can still distinguish the flavour of each individual ingredient, as they come together to form a harmonious explosion of taste. And it’s only RM9 (+Rm1 for fries!). A steal if I’ve ever seen one.

Verdict: Possibly one of the best fried chicken burgers that I’ve tried so far in the Klang Valley! You’d be missing out if you don’t try it.

THE BURG 

26, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor (in front of Restoran 111)

Opening hours: 6PM til late (Closed on Mondays).

 

Review: I Tried The New McDonalds Fish Prosperity Burger

So Chinese New Year is just around the corner and McDonalds has brought back their popular Prosperity Burger – available for a limited time only. I’ve never been a big fan, but people seem to like it enough for the company to keep having it every year. This time around, they’ve even added a new option – the Fish Prosperity Burger – in addition to the regular chicken and beef. The set comes with a side order of curly fries and an orange fizzy drink.

Unlike KFC and its ‘new’ offerings which are just tired, lazy rehashes of the same chicken with different sauces and toppings, McDonalds usually puts effort into developing their products, as evidenced by last year’s Nasi Lemak Burger . And since it has been years since I had a prosperity burger, I thought now would be a good time to try the new fish offering.

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The regular set, which costs RM16.

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The curly fries were not half bad. Much crispier than the A&W ones, but also kinda salty. Portions were generous for a ‘regular’ option.

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This was probably the first time I’ve been disappointed in a McDonalds burger. I’d chalk it up to me not liking the Prosperity series very much to begin with, but I guess fish + black pepper just don’t go too well. The fish had zero taste as it was completely overwhelmed by sauce. All I could taste was onions and black pepper. The sauce itself wasn’t great either, as it didn’t have enough flavour, just an overwhelming taste of onions.

Guess I’ll just stick to my Grilled Chicken Burger or Spicy McChicken from now on.

Are you a fan of the Prosperity? Lemme know in the comments. 🙂

Review: McDonalds Malaysia’s Nasi Lemak Burger – WORTH IT ?

When it comes to food, we Malaysians are a proud lot. I mean, say what you will about the country, but insult any of our dishes and be prepared to incur the wrath of millions (like the recent Rendang-ate fiasco). Now, if only we had the same drive and zeal to battle corruption lol. 

It’s a little ironic ,then, that it was our close neighbours across the Causeway that came up with the idea of putting together the flavours of Nasi Lemak – a dish ubiquitous with Malaysia – into a burger.

Well, the saying goes ‘better late then never’, and McDonalds Malaysia has finally jumped on the bandwagon with their very own version. Curiousity piqued, I dropped by after work at the Bandar Puteri outlet. They made me wait over 20 minutes because they were cooking a fresh batch, but WAS IT WORTH IT?

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20 mins aint fast food bruh. But let’s focus on the food.

Packaging featured a dark green colour scheme, reminiscent of the traditional banana leaves that nasi lemak used to be wrapped in.

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Burger. Fairly large. Kudos to McD for not using false advertising where the food is like 1/3 the size it appears in ads. I’m looking at you, KFC.

Fried egg, cucumber slices, and sweet and spicy sambal is layered on a thick, cornflake-coated patty infused with santan (coconut milk), then sandwiched between two fluffy buns.

Verdict: The patty was obviously the star, with a nice hint of coconut milk. Cooked well, with a crispy and crunchy coating complementing tender, juicy meat on the inside. The cucumbers were a little hard (hard, not crisp.), but overall it was a satisfying burger that captured the essence of nasi lemak pretty well! If you’re looking for a spicy kick though, this has zero. I would rate it a 2/10 on the spicy scale. I would also have liked a bit more sambal in the burger.

Is it worth buying? 

At RM14.95 for the ala carte, I’d say it isn’t too expensive to get the burger if you’re really curious. Is it tasty? Yes, as far as fast food burgers go. Would I wait for half an hour just to get it? Probably not.

Overall stars: 8/10

 

PS: I noticed in some other reviews that the burger has caramelised onions. Not sure why mine didn’t, but.. yeah.