We try the little-known Kentadon, sold at select stores around Japan.

Did you know that KFC sells rice bowls in Japan? This was a happy discovery made by our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa the other day, when he visited the Okachimachi branch in Tokyo and saw a sign next to the cash register that read: “Kentadon”.

An amalgamation of the words “Kentucky” and “Don” (from “donburi”, the Japanese word for an oversized bowl that rice bowl meals are served in), Seiji immediately asked the staff there about it. They told him they’d been serving these rice bowls at their store for about two years, and they also told him that the unusual menu item is only available at select branches around Japan.

Seiji immediately knew he needed to see this unusual KFC item in real-life, so he purchased one for a taste test. Once he arrived home, he gleefully took the bowl out of the bag that had been handed to him at the store, and as he lifted the lid off the dish, a huge smile spread across his face.

▼ Nobody would guess this meal had come from KFC!

Taking a closer look, he saw the rice bowl contained two pieces of chicken, along with sweet potato, shishito (a small sweet green pepper) and shiitake tempura. The toppings had been slathered in the same type of sauce served at tendon (tempura rice bowl) restaurants.

Seiji took a bite of everything and was quickly won over by all the flavours. The taste of KFC sang out in the battered chicken, and the sweet soy-based sauce tied everything together perfectly. The rice was fantastic too, making this a truly outstanding combination of Japanese and Western flavours.

The rice bowl was so insanely delicious, Seiji decided to find out more about it online, and that’s when he discovered we’d written about the kentadon back in 2014. Back then, though, the kentadon could be purchased at 15 locations around Japan, and there was even a yakitori bowl on the menu, so Seiji put in a call to the Okachimachi store to ask them more about it, and they said:

“The Yakitori bowl was popular with foreigners, but it’s currently suspended because now there are few foreigners.” 

It seems that things have changed over the past seven years, especially now that there are less foreign tourists in the country due to the pandemic. Enquiring further, Seiji found that the number of KFC outlets selling the kentadon had dropped as well, as it’s now only available at the following seven locations:

  • Asakusa (Tokyo)
  • Ueno Ikenohata (Tokyo)
  • Okachimachi (Tokyo)
  • Kwansei Gakuin University (Hyogo)
  • Koshien Stadium (Osaka)
  • Fukuoka PayPay Dome (Fukuoka)
  • Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi (Miyagi)

The staff member Seiji spoke to said that the number of stores selling the kentadon may increase in future, so be sure to keep an eye out for it the next time you’re visiting a KFC in Japan. Priced at 700 yen (US$6.37), the Kentadon is a tasty, filling meal that Seiji highly recommends, especially now that the KFC bento stores we tried in 2014 have all sadly shut down.

Photos: RocketNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]