Flavor reminds our KFC fundamentalist taste tester of a different chicken restaurant icon than Colonel Sanders.

This week, Japanese snack maker Calbee released a new flavor of potato chips: Kentucky Fried Chicken. It had been almost 10 years since the last time KFC Japan and Calbee joined forces like this, and multiple members of the SoraNews24 staff were chomping at the bit to try them.

Ultimately, taste-testing duties went to our Japanese-language reporter Ahiruneko, partly because of his impressive passion for KFC (he once took a bath with a bucket’s worth of KFC chicken bones) and partly because we still sort of owe him one for that article he did in which he got pooped on. So as soon as the new KFC chips went on sale on July 8, we gave Ahiruneko the green light to go get a bag and dig in.

There are actually two different flavors of Calbee KFC chips, KFC Original Chicken Flavor, which promises a recreation of KFC’s famous Colonel’s Original taste, and KFC Red Hot Chicken Flavor. Since Ahiruneko describes himself as a “KFC Original Recipe fundamentalist,” he chose the KFC Original Chicken Flavor for his taste test…which also included a smell test.

Ahiruneko boasts that his KFC original recipe fundamentalism has sharpened his sense of smell to the point where he can recognize the aroma of Original Recipe chicken as surely as a customs dog can detect contraband at the airport. When he opened up the bag, though, it was a different scent that greeted him, with spicy notes not present in KFC’s standard chicken.

He picked up a chip and popped it into his mouth, and sure enough, there was spice. You wouldn’t call the KFC Original Chicken Flavor chips “spicy,” but by comparison, they’re spicier than KFC Original Recipe chicken, so Ahiruneko doesn’t feel like the chips really taste like KFC chicken, which is a surprise since KFC Japan supervised the chips’ creation.

But that’s not to say that Calbee’s KFC Original Chicken Flavor chips taste bad – they taste great! Ahiruneko thinks they’d go especially well with a nice cold beer. And though they don’t taste like KFC chicken, they still taste like chicken…but not Western-style fried chicken. Ahiruneko just couldn’t quite put his finger on just what the chips’ flavor reminded him of. With a bit of a soy sauce-like flavor, he thought it might be karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) but that wasn’t it either.

Realizing he needed to unravel this mystery/wanted to continue spending his work shift eating snacks, Ahiruneko poured out another plateful to taste. As he continued eating, the image of a man’s face gradually started to form in his consciousness Was it the face of Colonel Sanders? No, it was…

…Shigeo Yamamoto, founder of popular Nagoya-based chicken wing restaurant chain Sekai no Yama-chan!

Rather than the oiliness of fried chicken, the hints of soy and spice made the KFC potato chips taste just like Sekai no Yama-chan’s chicken wings to Ahiruneko, and once he’d made this connection, he couldn’t think of them in any other way. To his palate, the resemblance is so uncanny that if you’d presented a plate of these chips to him as “Sekai no Yama-chan chicken wing-flavor potato chips,” he’d probably have believed you, and said they did a great job replicating the taste.

So in the end, these are still great-tasting chips, especially if you’re craving chicken flavors, and Ahiruneko highly recommends the KFC chips, even if it’s not for the reason he thought he would be.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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