A food review we never thought we’d have to make, and it’s not entirely glowing. 

Over the past five years or so, Japan has been going through a mint-chocolate craze that peaks in summer, when people crave the cooling sensation of mint.

The craze has given birth to some unconventional pairings, like beer and tapioca ramen, but even these pale in comparison to what’s going on over in South Korea right now, where the trend has reached dizzying new heights with the debut of…choc-mint sauce at KFC.

Mint chocolate might not sound like an extreme addition to the menu at KFC until you realise it’s not on the drink or dessert menus. Instead, it’s being offered as a new dipping sauce designed to be used with…fried chicken.

Our South Korea-based reporter Soon Pyon’s is a big fan of choc-mint, but even he was unsure if this combination was a good idea. Still, he wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to try it, so he hopped online and ordered a box of chicken, as the special limited-time dipping sauce is only available for delivery customers.

▼ When his order arrived, he immediately plucked out the choc-mint sauce and peeled the lid back on it for a closer look at what it looked like.

The sauce wasn’t as brightly coloured as he expected. In fact, the blue-green hues made it look slightly unappetising. He wasn’t going to judge the sauce on looks alone, though, so he reached into his box of chicken to grab a piece for the dip-test.

▼ The box he ordered contained three types of chicken: Original, Hot Crispy and Black Label.

Soon Pyon’s started with the Original, which is seasoned with the chain’s world-famous 11 secret herbs and spices.

▼ How would the chain’s special seasoning pair with this special sauce?

▼ Not good.

The flavour was so disappointing it wasn’t even deserving of a coloured photo. Because the choc-mint sauce had been designed to pair with KFC chicken, Soon Pyon’s had expected it to be a little lighter on mint and chocolate flavours, to help enhance the flavour of the chicken. However, there’d been no adjustments, and the flavours fought each other on the palate — it was as if he’d eaten a chunk of fried chicken and popped a mint chocolate in his mouth at the same time.

▼ Would the Hot Crispy chicken taste any better?

Soon Pyon’s opted for a little less dipping sauce in the hope that it would create a better balance between the disparate flavours.

▼ Ummmm, no.

Yet again, a colourless photo for an uninspired pairing. Admittedly, it was a fairer fight than the previous bout, as the spicy chicken held its own against the strong mint-chocolate flavours. But still, despite the small amount of sauce he’d used, the chicken was totally defeated by the sauce.

▼ So what about the Black Label?

The Black Label is a premium fried chicken that’s soft and juicy as it uses only boneless chicken thighs. It tastes similar to the Hot Crispy, but with more pepper than heat in the seasoning, and it’s the variety of chicken that comes with the choc-mint sauce as a set, so if any chicken would be the winning partner for the sauce, it would be this one.

▼ How did it taste? As drained of joy as this colour-drained photo.

The flavour was so disappointing that Soon Pyon’s didn’t even want to comment on it, but when prodded, he eventually sighed and asked, “Where did the pepper go?

It was a recurrent theme with every piece of chicken, as the strong sauce completely drowned out all the delicious flavours of the meat.

Rather than enhance the flavours of the fried chicken, it made them totally disappear, and with the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices all drowned out, what was the point of adding the sauce to the chicken at all?

Soon Pyon’s despondently took another bite of chicken, this time without the sauce as he pondered the reasoning behind it all, and suddenly his eyes opened in surprise.

The second bite of chicken, without the sauce, made the chicken taste ten times better than usual!

Well, that was certainly a surprise Soon Pyon’s hadn’t been expecting, but now that he thought about it, the palate-cleansing power of the mint appeared to have reset his taste buds, allowing him to taste the chicken with more clarity than usual.

It was like eating pickles to cleanse the palate between bites, and with that thought in mind, he decided to keep the sauce away from the chicken and use it with his chips instead.

▼ Gahhh, it was equally bad with chips!

But again, when he bit into his chicken, it tasted juicier and more flavoursome than usual. He eventually resorted to dipping his finger into the sauce between bites of the chicken, and that finally made it finger-lickin’ good — both literally and metaphorically.

Eating KFC with a choc-mint dipping sauce was a very weird experience, and Soon Pyon’s told us it was fun while it lasted, but he probably won’t be ordering it again. If you’re outside of South Korea and want to try the strange combination, Soon Pyon’s suggests eating KFC with mint chocolate-flavoured ice cream to get the same effect.

That sounds about as unappetising as we expected, so for now we’re happy to give that a miss and hold out for chicken nugget ice cream instead!

Images © SoraNews24
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