In the last post, we mentioned wanting to try KFC’s new Seabug Sandwich. You were intrigued. We heard your requests loud and clear, and are here to report on this strange, daring culinary experiment.
But first, some background. KFC is the largest franchise in China, with the first shop opening up in Beijing back in 1987. The company has experienced quite a bit of success since then, mostly due to their practice of modifying their menu to fit their audience. Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are also pretty common sights in China, but, except for the outrageous prices, the food is pretty much the same as it is in the USA. Going out to one of these fast food chains feels like specialty dining. Pizza Hut feels like a romantic Italian restaurant, and KFCs are usually large and center stage.
We have been trying to avoid the American food joints until we can’t take it anymore, but the strangeness of the Seabug Sandwich was simply too alluring. What is a seabug, you ask? We have no idea! We have been trying to figure it out for years, since the first time we ate them in Shenzhen, and every time we think we’ve got it, we are proven wrong. All we know “for sure” is that it is an aquatic isopod. It tastes like shrimp, but looks like a pink rolly-poly. If you know what it is, please leave a note in the comments.
We ordered a meal that came with a Seabug Sandwich, a Seabug Wrap, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 custard pies, and 2 sodas. We were particularly excited about the drinks, as we have been greatly missing caffeine. We ordered in English (mostly) and purchased our meal deal for ¥68 ($17)! It was quite spendy considering our average daily food budget is only about $20, but for your sake, dear readers, we were willing to go a little over and give it a try.
Upon first unwrapping the sandwich, we were surprised to find that it’s actually a Seabug Chicken Sandwich; there’s a piece of grilled chicken under the lettuce. The texture of the chicken was a little chewy, but the sandwich had a lot of flavor. In addition to the spices on the chicken, there was a curry-like sauce that had a little heat to it. The spices were definitely Asian, and not anywhere close to the Colonel’s secret recipe. Again, it’s why they’ve been so successful. Final verdict: it was… fine. We liked the food, but probably won’t order it ever again. We’ll stick with our regular $5 box with fried breast, mashed potatoes, corn, and a cookie.
The surprise standout was the custard pie. They’re a pretty common street food, but these ones in particular stood out, mostly due to the crispy, flaky crust and Southern-style extra butter. The custard itself was also well done, fluffy, light, and sweet. These little babies alone are worth a trip to Chinese KFC.
All in all, it was a successful trip. We tasted the Seabug Sandwich, and while it won’t be sweeping the US by storm anytime soon, it was worth it to experience American fast food, China style.