You know what KFC is without the chicken?
…. 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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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.
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.
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.
There was a good amount of apple slices on top, slathered with sauce.
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.
Hey guys! Just wanted to wish all Malaysian Muslims Selamat Hari Raya, and to everyone else celebrating around the world, Happy Eid! This year, there is no balik kampung exodus (people tried, though) as interstate travel is banned to prevent the spread of coronavirus – but visiting relatives and friends within the state is still allowed (provided they follow guidelines such as no more than 20 people in a gathering. Although personally, I feel this is difficult to enforce).
I’ve been meaning to use the free time to finish up a couple of pending blog posts but got sucked into playing games (yes, I know, not a very ‘productive’ way of spending the holidays :P). The office reopened two weeks ago with some changes (we moved into a new workspace + we have an alternate schedule so not everyone is going in at the same time) so I’ve been out and about, which means fodder for this blog space lol.
Before moving out of my old office at PJ8, I went to the nearby KFC Jalan Barat for the last time. They are not yet open for dine-in, so all the tables have been cleared to accommodate takeaway and delivery.
They’re pretty stringent with social distancing measures, so a big kudos to them. As you enter, you are required to write down your details (for contact tracing purposes). If you’re not comfortable with holding the pen, you can always ask them to write it down for you or use the QR code scanner to key in your details via the government’s Selangkah app. After checking your temperature and sanitising your hands, you can then proceed to the counter to make your order.
Tables are placed in front of the counter for added distance. There are also strips marked out on the floor so you know where to queue up. Orders are made on one side and pick up at the other.
KFC has jumped on the Korean Fried Chicken (also KFC. lol) trend, with a new offering called Soy Garlic Glazed Drummets, available in three(RM6.30), five (RM10.50) and nine pieces (RM18.50). It had a ‘trial-run’ in 10 outlets back in November but is now available in stores nationwide.
K-style fried chicken is known for being extremely crispy (thanks to a double-fry method), whilst being moist and juicy on the inside – a feat that KFC’s version was able to achieve. The glaze was a tad too sweet for me, but it has a nice, garlicky flavour that Korean fried chicken fans will surely love. The smaller portion means that it is easy to polish off several pieces in one go – the perfect finger food. You can add on fries and a Pepsi for a complete meal.
In conjunction with the festive season, they’re also offering a limited time only dish called Nasi Kari Atuk (to my international readers, that’s Grandfather’s Curry Rice. Has a nostalgic ring to it, no?). You get rice with the chain’s signature fried chicken, served together with Kari Atuk, a rich and savoury curry made from blending traditional curry spices and coconut milk, as well as Sambal Atuk, a spicy anchovy-chilli paste + coleslaw and a drink.
I’m not a big fan of KFC and it is unlikely that I will go out of my way to look for one – but the Soy Garlic Glazed Drummets are worth a try if you’re craving for K-style fried chicken and can’t travel to establishments like 4Fingers, or KyoChon (on account that they usually don’t have that many branches).
After over a month in isolation… I FINALLY. got. to. eat. Fried chicken.
Ever since the start of the movement control order here in Malaysia due to the COVID pandemic, my diet has been nothing but healthy, homecooked meals that are either a) steamed, b) boiled or c) stir-fried. And bland, because less salt, less sugar, less oil, less everything. Of course, I’m not complaining – but a girl just misses her fried food sometimes. If this MCO continues, it’ll be good for my waistline; not so much my sanity.
After weeks of trying to convince my mother to let me order GrabFood (she has been insisting on cooking every meal because apparently e-hailing riders may carry the virus), she finally relented – and I was able to place a sweet, sweet order for some Marrybrown fried chicken. My brother was laughing at the exaggerated way I opened my box, as if unveiling some treasure – but I told him it IS treasure. Golden, crispy fried treasure. 30 minutes later, I sat contentedly in the dining room chair, my eyes glazed over in a high of bliss; like a druggie who just got her fix, lmao.
If it isn’t’ already obvious… I love fried chicken. I love how simple it is to make, yet utterly delicious. I love how different cultures around the world all agree that fried chicken is a universal comfort food. Most of all, I love how good fried chicken tastes – the juiciness of the insides, the crisp flavourful exterior. Which is why I’m sharing with you my ranking of THE best fried chicken from fast food outlets in Malaysia. Note that this is my personal ranking – so you might disagree with me, which is totally fine: everyone has their own preferences.
1 ) A&W’s Golden Aroma Chicken / Spicy Golden Aroma Chicken
One of my fondest childhood memories is of my 8th birthday party at the A&W in Taman Jaya. Back then (for an eight-year-old, at least) having a birthday party at a fast food joint was like throwing a grand banquet at the St Regis – and I gorged myself on coney dogs, curly fries, rootbeer float and waffles. Funnily enough, I can’t seem to recall eating fried chicken at A&W : I think it’s a relatively new item since I only have memories of trying it for the first time after joining the workforce.
I usually have A&W at the original outlet in Taman Jaya, or at IOI Mall in Puchong. The chicken is always super fresh; sometimes it takes time for your order to be served because they don’t fry a big batch in advance – but it’s worth the wait. The skin is perfectly breaded and fried to golden brown perfection, the insides are juicy, and the complex flavour of herbs permeates throughout the entire piece of chicken, not just on the skin. I think their spicy chicken is actually one of the hottest ones, in comparison to other fast-food chains.
Marrybrown is a homegrown fast-food chain that specialises in fried chicken, burgers and Asian fusion dishes, such as fried chicken with nasi lemak, rice, porridge and the like. While it may not be as popular as, say KFC and McDonalds, it is pretty well known throughout Malaysia especially in smaller towns, and has a strong presence in the Middle East.
For some reason, Malaysians are not big on gravy and sauces with their fried chicken, which is a big shame because gravy + fried chicken = killer combo (the reason why I love Jollibee). While Marrybrown chicken is good on its own, I like that they offer sauces to go with your meal. My favourite was the mushroom sauce, although this was later discontinued. They still have the black pepper sauce option though, which is very spicy and peppery – perfect for soaking up with the savoury, well-marinated chicken meat.
3) McDonalds Ayam Goreng McD
I consider McDonalds to be an all-rounder when it comes to fast food – their burgers are good, but so are their other offerings, including the fried chicken. McD’s spicy fried chicken has a distinctive fiery orange colour and somewhat loose (?) breading. The meat has good flavour and is usually fresh. The popularity of the fried chicken soared after McDonalds Malaysia made this simple yet super effective ad which had no music, no narration – just the sound of people indulging in crunchy fried chicken.
You can’t mention fried chicken and not include KFC on the list. It’s a hit and miss in my books though – their quality control between outlets isn’t great. Case in point: the KFC near my house tastes pretty shitty (greasy, chicken isn’t fresh and has that been-in-the-freezer-too-long taste), but the one near my workplace makes excellent fried chicken. I prefer the original over the spicy.
5) Burger King
While they’re more popular for their burgers and whoppers, Burger King serves surprisingly good fried chicken, especially at their outlet at Sunway Pyramid. The chicken is crispy, breaded well and has moist, succulent meat.
6) Texas Chicken
Sorry, Texas fans. While the chicken is decent, it’s my least favourite as compared to the rest on this list because I’m not a big fan of the thick flour coating that Texas has, which also tastes pretty bland to me. Would eat it if I’m really craving fried chicken and there’s no other fast-food option around. I love their honey biscuit and sweet tea, though!
What are your favourite fast-food places to get fried chicken? Let me know if you agree with my ranking, or if you have a personal favourite!
Hey guys! It’s Day 20 of the Enhanced Movement Control Order in Malaysia, with about eight more days to go. There’ll be an announcement on April10th to see if it’ll be extended again. I hope not because my cravings are so bad, I actually dreamt of eating fried chicken – but this is a critical time and we might have no choice but to weather the storm.
Speaking of fried chicken, I’ve been watching videos of Keith from The Try Guys, where he eats everything on the menu of a fast food chain, like Wendy’s. We no longer have Wendy’s in Malaysia, so it was nostalgic to see some of the items they serve. It got me thinking about some of the other fast food chains that were here before, but are now long gone.
So without further ado:
White Castle was founded in Wichita in 1928, wayyy before KFC or McDonalds. It is known for its small, square burgers – called ‘sliders – which has been listed by Time as one of the world’s most influential burgers. I don’t remember it, but apparently my parents brought me here once when I was very little. They didn’t last very long in Malaysia, so by the time I was old enough to remember eating fast food, they were already gone.
Long John Silver’s
Back when I was younger, fast food was a luxury. My family was not well off, and my parents weren’t big fans of what they call ‘junk’ (they still aren’t, but now I can afford to grab a burger every now and then, lol). Perhaps it’s because these moments are so few and far between that I recall eating at Long John Silver’s so vividly. This American seafood chain was named after the pirate character from Treasure Island. Their fish and chips might just be the reason why I’m still a big fan of the dish today.
Shakey’s made its debut in the late 90s to early 2000s – I remember there was an outlet at my neighbourhood mall In Puchong, and we dined there a couple of times. Unfortunately the brand was unable to compete with more popular chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut (both are still going strong today), and eventually shuttered. The last time I had Shakey’s was in Manila – not the pizza, but their potato mojos.
Another one that people my age might remember quite well is Papa John’s, an American pizza chain. Again, it did not survive too long and officially exited the Malaysian market in 2016. I was actually sad to see it go, as I really liked their cheese pizza, which was just plain pizza with different types of cheese. The crust was not as thick as Pizza Hut’s, but not as thin as Dominos.
Popeye’s was one of my favourite places for fried chicken – whenever my friends and I hit up Sunway Pyramid (that was the outlet closest to my place), we would stop by Popeye’s for their crispy, juicy Louisiana-style fried chicken. Of course, you can’t miss the honey butter biscuits and mashed potato.
Wendy’s was quite a recent exit, as Berjaya group did not renew their franchise last year. People laud them for their square-patty beef burgers, but personally, I prefer their fried chicken (no surprise!) . They had a shrimp burger on the menu once, which was excellent as well.
What are some of the nostalgic fast food chains in your country that have exited the market?
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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With its bespoke boutiques, branded luxury stores, glitzy malls and chic eateries, Ginza is widely considered to be one of Japan’s (if not the world’s) most luxurious and elegant shopping districts. Today, it’s hard to imagine it as anything other than classy and upscale – but did you know that Ginza was actually built over a filled-in swamp in the 167th century? Together with two other districts – Nihonbashi and Kanda – they formed the original downtown centre of Edo-era Tokyo.
During my stay in Tokyo, I was based in a quiet street just behind the main shopping thoroughfare, which made it very convenient to access the area. Unfortunately due to work and time constraints, I only got one full night to explore what Ginza had to offer; barely a tiny glimpse. It was an interesting glimpse, nevertheless. While the rest of the group took the train to Shinjuku, I wandered around Ginza poking my nose into random shops and department stores.
(Above) The Wako Store, housed in an art deco building that dates back to the 1930s. You’d know Wako now as Seiko, the jewellery and watches brand. The clocktower plays the Westminster Chimes tune every hour.
The Nissan showroom at the eponymously-named Nissan Crossing, where pedestrians can ogle at the latest high-tech vehicles from the car-manufacturing giant through a glass window.
As the sun sets over Tokyo, Ginza comes to life, like a magical wonderland of lights filled with a sea of people. Couples stroll hand in hand down the pavement, loud Chinese tourists flaunt their bags of luxury goods, businessmen with sweaty foreheads and crisp suits congregate for a beer and some after-hours socialising, and impeccably-dressed women with the air of rich tai tais push their baby strollers forward.
(Above) Tokyu Plaza, where tourists can enjoy duty free shopping.
Popped into UNIQLO’s flagship store – which spans a mind-boggling 12 floors. Most of the floors had a display section in the middle with mannequins dressed in the latest fashion pieces. Not big on shopping tbh so I did not spend too much time here, but this will probably be a pilgrimage site for Uniqlo fans.
One of the peeps I was travelling with was going on about Ginza Six, one of the newest shopping complexes in the area, so I went to see what the hype was all about. It was nice, but again, malls aren’t really my thing (excluding the grocery store + restaurants). What I really liked, though, was the bookstore on the top floor, and the rooftop garden which had an open concept an several interesting art installations. If you’re into branded things, then the flagship stores for Fendi, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent can be found within the building. There is also a Noh theatre, and banquet hall facilities.
As much as I love sushi, raw fish doesn’t sit well in my stomach these days (getting old and shit). For some inexplicable reason, I also found myself craving a burger lol. Now, fast food isn’t big in Japan because they’ve got all these healthy, delicious and wholesome restaurants to choose from, but they do have a brand called Lotteria, which was originally from South Korea. I found one hidden in an underground nook (you have to descend a staircase into the basement). It seemed largely frequented by locals – I mean, what tourist comes to Ginza and eats fast food, amirite? Oh, wait…
(Above) The setting is catered more towards single diners. After placing your order, they give you a pink slip which you have to clip on the top of the divider, and they’ll send your food to the table.
Shrimp burger isn’t something we see much in KL (God I miss the ones at Wendy’s before they took it off the menu), so I had to get that. It was close to a 1,000 yen for the set, ie about RM40 lol probably the most I’ve paid for fast food, apart from that Burger King I got at the Hong Kong airport a couple of years ago. I wasn’t expecting it to be American-sized, but boy was the portion paltry. This is why you don’t see fat people in Japan…
All things considered, I loved the shrimp burger. The patty was fried and breaded well, and was chock full of shrimp rather than flour or filler. Add to that tangy mayonnaise, a slice of cheese, some cabbage to cut through the grease and plain, soft buns.
There are many things to see in Ginza, and it carries well its moniker as a shopper’s paradise. Even for non-shoppers, it is close enough to several attractions such as the Hamarikyu Gardens (will detail in another post), art galleries and museums, making it a great base for travellers.
Where would you visit if you had one night in Ginza?