kfc soup top

The perfect solution for the leftovers after your traditional Japanese Christmas KFC meal.

Kentucky Fried Chicken may be seen as little more than run-of-the-mill fast food in the West, but in Japan its branding is completely different. Japanese KFC is a little more expensive than the food at an average fast food joint, using higher quality meat and seen by many as a something of a treat.

But probably the most bizarre difference: KFC is the traditional Japanese Christmas meal of choice, with families reserving their boxes and buckets weeks in advance to avoid disappointment.

▼ Because nothing says “Merry Christmas!” better than a family-size bucket.


But with all that KFC going around during the holidays, there’s just one problem: the bones. It always seems like a waste to throw out such wonderfully spiced and seasoned bones when all the meat is gone, so our Japanese team decided to see what they could do with those tasty leftovers to get every last bit of enjoyment out of the chicken. The best solution they came up with: use them to make a delicious broth. Add a few vegetables, maybe a few extra surprise ingredients, and voilà, a perfect bowl of KFC-flavored soup.

For our KFC soup experiment, we decided to use the whole chicken. But if you’d prefer to devour the meat the old-fashioned way first, then use the bones to make the broth afterward, feel free to do it up. Either way, here’s the recipe we followed:

Step one: Assemble the ingredients. We used two pieces of KFC chicken, cabbage, and bean sprouts. Feel free to use other ingredients like tofu, mushrooms, etc.


Step two: If you’re using whole pieces of chicken, separate the meat from the bone, and cut up the vegetables.


Step three: Put the bones in a pot with about 1.5 to 2 cups (400 to 500ml) of water.


Step four: Boil approximately 15 minutes, removing the fat on top as it rises.


Step five: Reduce to low heat, remove the bones, and add salt and pepper to flavor.


Step six: Add vegetables. When it starts to boil, add in the meat of the chicken (if you have any).


▼ Oh yes, that’s the sweet stuff.


▼ And that’s it! Your KFC soup is now complete.


▼ If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can add a grilled rice ball (yaki onigiri, also available at Japanese KFC) to the soup when you put in the vegetables.


▼ Adding the rice ball will make the broth like a KFC version of chicken and rice soup.


After completing our KFC soup, we were a little apprehensive about what it would taste like. Had we unknowingly unleashed a monster onto the world? There was only one way to find out: forcing our coworkers to taste test it.

▼ GO Hatori’s verdict: “It’s good.” He never was a man of many words.


▼ Mr. Sato’s verdict: “This would be even better with some ramen noodles!”


Well there you have it, everyone. If you’re feeling extra eco-friendly this Christmas, or whenever the next time you order KFC is, then you may want to think twice about throwing away those bones. Turning them into a soup is a great way for the Japanese to indulge in yet another time-honored Christmas tradition: eating leftovers for days upon days afterward.

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