I tried KFC's Beyond Meat 'chicken' after its first test drew lines around the block and found it doesn't taste quite like the real thing

Irene Jiang / Business InsiderI tried KFC and Beyond’s new Beyond fried chicken.
  • On Wednesday, KFC and Beyond Meat announced an extended test release of Beyond fried chicken in two cities in February.
  • I attended a media preview for the new plant-based product, and I tasted the four flavours of Beyond fried chicken.
  • My verdict: while Beyond fried chicken doesn’t taste exactly like chicken, it’s close enough that it satisfies a chicken craving.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

You’ve heard of the Beyond burger – now meet Beyond fried chicken.

On Wednesday, KFC and Beyond Meat announced the arrival of Beyond fried chicken, which is designed to taste and look like fried boneless wings. The plant-based “chicken” will be available in February at select KFC restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

If all goes well during this test run, we may see Beyond fried chicken on KFC menus nationwide, or even around the world, KFC US CMO Andrea Zahumensky told Business Insider.

I popped by KFC and Beyond’s media preview event for the new poultry proxy, and I was able to sink my teeth into several meat-like morsels. Here’s what they tasted like:


A dish was placed before me with eight pieces of Beyond fried chicken: two from each flavour that will be available at restaurants.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

From left to right, the flavours were un-sauced, honey BBQ, Buffalo, and Nashville hot. They are all flavours already available at KFC, so this review won’t focus on them.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

On the outside, these look more like chicken nuggets than boneless wings.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But KFC and Beyond worked for half a year to develop a chicken product with realistic muscle fibre.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I pulled it apart for a look inside.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The delicate crispy crust snapped under my fingers, and the “chicken” flaked. I took a bite.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was soft and vaguely meaty. While it didn’t taste quite like chicken, it also didn’t not taste like chicken.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It didn’t quite have the same stringy pull that chicken has. The fibres are larger and softer.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But maybe it’s good that Beyond fried chicken tastes like chicken from a parallel universe, and not like the thing itself.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

In “Kitchen Confidential”, Anthony Bourdain wrote, “Chicken is boring. Chefs see it as a menu item for people who don’t know what they want to eat.”

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I don’t entirely agree — chicken can be great. But there are so many ways chicken can be bland, boring, or disappointing.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

If you’ve ever had a piece of unseasoned, nuked-to-heck chicken that you have to tear apart with your teeth, you know what I’m talking about.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Beyond fried chicken is much better than that chicken.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It’s not as juicy or flavorful as a free-roaming hen from your grandmother’s farm in the countryside, but it’s pretty darn good.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The most important question to me and to fried chicken lovers is: will Beyond fried chicken satisfy a fried chicken craving?

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

For me, the answer is yes. But it’s up to the fans to decide when Beyond fried chicken arrives in February.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

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