McDonald’s, Lotteria, and KFC – who will win?

If you know anything about Japanese fast food, you’ll know that they love putting out scrumptious seasonal menu items. Sometimes they’re mysterious items like the McDonald’s Adult Cream Pie that you just have to try out of sheer curiosity, and sometimes they’re familiar, delicious items like chocolate pie.

This Fall 2020 season, three popular fast food chains in Japan – McDonald’s, Lotteria, and KFC – each released their version of a chocolate pie. McDonald’s has their Triangle Choco Pie, Lotteria has baked up some Ghana Milk Chocolate Pie, and KFC is simply serving up their Choco Pie.

Our Japanese language reporter Saya Togashi wasn’t sure whether the three companies released these simultaneously on purpose or whether they happened to decide that the time for stuffing your face with chocolate was now. Either way, she saw this as the perfect opportunity to compare them all in a chocolate pie taste testing competition.

▼ Entry number one from Lotteria is a hefty morsel.

First, Saya decided to check out each pie’s appearance and heft. First up is Lotteria’s Ghana Milk Chocolate Pie, which uses chocolate from a very popular chocolate brand in Japan. Saya figured this would be delicious before she even tried it just because of the brand name; that’s how famous it is.

The crust looks crisp, brown, and has plenty of delicious-looking air bubbles. It only costs 180 yen (US$1.72), which is pretty darn cheap, especially considering it weighed in at 78 grams (2.8 ounces).

▼ It was actually the heaviest of the three options!

Next up is the McDonald’s Triangle Choco Pie. The other two choices just come wrapped in paper, but only this one comes in a fancy box, making it easier to take on the go.

▼ It only costs 130 yen (spoiler: the cheapest), so you could say it’s also an on-the-go price.

The Triangle Choco Pie is a repeat autumn menu item for the restaurant, but this year, they’re using 10 percent more creamy chocolate filling. Excellent. There’s also a white chocolate version if milk chocolate isn’t your thing.

▼ Entry number two weighed in at 65 grams, which is still a sizable snack.

And finally, KFC’s Choco Pie took the stand. This baby was actually first released in April, but since it was so popular, it’s making an autumn comeback. It features a classy-looking, crisp, black cocoa pie crust and a creamy chocolate filling.

▼ Its popularity comes at a price, though: 230 yen.

When we weighed it, it also turned out to be the lightest. If you’re just going by weight and price, then this definitely isn’t the most cost-effective pie.

▼ But just look at all those layers…

To put all of this info into perspective, Saya created some charts for you visual learners.

▼ First, we compared weight: Lotteria (the heaviest option) is on the left, McDonald’s is in the middle, and KFC (the lightest option) is on the right.

As you can see, Lotteria was the heaviest of the three. If you’re looking for something with as much chocolatey volume as possible, we recommend the Lotteria pie.

▼ Then, we just looked at price: McDonald’s (cheapest), then Lotteria, then KFC (most expensive).

If you’re looking for a cheap chocolate fix, then McDonald’s is definitely the way to go. KFC is for when you want to treat yourself.

▼ We also looked at the cost-effectiveness, which turned out to be the same ranking as their prices (most cost-effective on the left, least on the right).

Since you get 65 grams of chocolate pie for just 130 yen with McDonald’s, this triangular snack is technically the best way to spend your money out of the three choices.

But Saya saved the most important criterion for last: the taste test. When it comes down to it, you’re more likely to get the one that tastes best, right?

▼ Let’s start off with the pie Saya felt safest tasting: the Lotteria version.

The Lotteria pie has a pretty good crust. It makes a satisfying crunch when cut or bitten into, and that texture doesn’t go away over time.

▼ Just look at that gooey Ghana chocolate!

The inside was all that Saya was expecting and more: the classic, mellow, sweet milk chocolate taste of Ghana chocolate. It’s even more delicious when freshly baked.

▼ Next up is the McDonald’s triangle pie. A piangle?

The McDonald’s pie has a crust that’s more on the soft and crumbly side since it has a ton of layers. It’s almost like a pastry. Unfortunately, this kind of crust gets pretty messy and leaves a ton of crumbs behind.

▼ “Okay, but what about the taste?” you ask. Just wait.

When bitten into, the pie crust has a slight saltiness that tickles the tastebuds, and when compared to the Lotteria pie, this one was super sweet and delicious. In fact, Saya’s whole chocolate world was changed by the deliciousness of the McDonald’s pie!

And finally, it was time for KFC’s chocolate pie. Since there’s cocoa in the pie crust itself, they went lighter on the chocolate filling than the other two.

▼ It hits the spot when you’re looking for a chocolate junk food fix.

▼ This one definitely pays more tribute to a pure cocoa flavor than the sweet milk chocolate taste that Lotteria and McDonald’s offered.

KFC’s chocolate pie crust was a complete 180 from the McDonald’s one: crunchy, light, and full of cocoa flavor. Since it’s so heavy on the pie crust element, though, you’ll definitely want a drink to hydrate yourself while munching on this.

In conclusion, the winner of Saya’s unofficial Chocolate Pie Taste Test Competition is…the McDonald’s Triangle Choco Pie! It’s delicious, cheap, and cost-effective. Each candidate has their own strengths, but if you only want the best, then go for McD’s. And don’t forget to order a free smile along with it!

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[ Read in Japanese ]