Why? That’s the only question I could ask myself as I sat in the dining area of my local Kentucky Fried Chicken and came face to face with KFC’s new Chicken and Donut Sandwich. What have we done?
On July 16th, 1945, while witnessing the awesome power of a nuclear weapon for the first time, father of the atom bomb Robert Oppenheimer remarked to himself a quote from the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, “Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.” Whoever invented the KFC Chicken and Donut Sandwich had to have a similar thought, because this chicken “sandwich” is dark folks.
The fast-food wars haven’t been the same since Popeyes stormed onto the scene like the Allied Forces on the beaches of Normandy with their chicken sandwich, which was by all accounts, a national phenomenon. People lined up and waiting for nearly an hour. Sandwiches sold out. Fights broke out over them. They were so big they even had an aftermarket started by Quavo! The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich looms over every new fast-food item we are introduced to because every fast-food giant wants what Popeyes has.
Which brings us to the KFC Chicken and Donut Sandwich.
So, what are we talking about here, structurally (all good sammies come down to structure)? There’s a freshly fried (but pre-baked) Krispy-Kreme-look-alike glazed donut with a filet of fried chicken breast sitting on top of it, sandwiched by another donut and glazed with vanilla icing. It’s heavy. KFC has been selling these things since Monday and plans to keep them around until March 16th or until supplies last if they prove to be a hit. They won’t be.
How do I know? Please allow me to introduce myself … I’ve been around for a long, long year. I was around when Popeyes launched their sandwich. I saw the organic gathering of people fall under the same collective desire that said: “I want this sandwich now and I don’t care how long it takes.” I saw the lines. I saw the makeshift “sold-out” signs on Popeyes doors all across Southern California. And I was also there on Monday, February 25th at my KFC, when they launched the Chicken and Donut Sandwich, sitting alone in an empty restaurant under blinding and buzzing fluorescent white lights while Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way played obnoxiously low over the loudspeakers. What I found was not an organic gathering of people clamoring for this monstrosity. It was something darker, more apocalyptic.
So What Does It Taste Like?
As I stared at my freshly made Chicken and Donut Sandwich two devils appeared on my shoulder. “Eat it and wash it down with a Dr. Pepper,” the voice I hope was in my head said. “Nah forget that, go get high in your car, then eat it and settle in for a nice 7:45-1:00 am nap where you wake up in a greasy food coma-induced sweat.” Where the hell is the angel that’s going to save me, I thought? The evil vice kicked back in, “Oh, you didn’t hear? Coronavirus got him.” Too dark for a chicken sandwich review? Fam — KFC made a chicken sandwich out of two donuts! This is the sandwich these dark times deserve and that’s the joke this sandwich deserves.
The worst part about the KFC Chicken and Donut Sandwich is that it isn’t gross. Why would you expect it to be? The fantastic flavor combination that is sweet and savory isn’t exactly a culinary secret, and almost everyone fun likes fried chicken and waffles. This is just that, but softer!
When you bite into this sandwich you’re first hit by a wave of sweetness from the donut and vanilla glaze before the salty and savory fried chicken reveals itself. The combination of the soft and warm fried bread and the crispy crunch of the chicken creates a lot of nice texture for you to work with. As the flavors come together the sandwich starts to taste even better, and you very quickly understand why whatever Dr. Frankenstein-esque food scientists came up with this at the KFC corporate food lab thought they had a hit on their hands.
Then something happens after you’re done chewing. The taste starts to linger in an unpleasant way, the vanilla glaze is everywhere making your hands and face useless, a sweat develops above your upper-lip and your body starts freaking out from sugar overload. It’s not that this sandwich tastes that’s gross, it’s everything that it represents. It’s excess. It’s blind disregard for your health, the audacity to use two whole donuts rather than at the least cutting a donut in half. Sometimes a food concept can be so gross it ruins your meal, no matter how good it actually tastes. That’s how I feel about KFC’s Chicken and Donut Sandwich.
… So Should I Get This Thing?
Keep in mind that the Chicken and Donut Sandwich is a whopping 1,100 calories, with 65 grams of fat and 1,310 mg of sodium(!). Having said that, the KFC Chicken and Donut Sandwich isn’t something you eat because you’re hungry. It’s stoner food. Eat it as a dare. Eat it because you want to hurt yourself in the most beautiful way. Eat it if you want a fast-food experience that adequately reflects the times we live in. It’s a sandwich designed to make you instantly regret eating it, one that makes you feel ashamed for liking it. It’s the kind of sandwich that you eat during the fall of America after you look around at the insanity of our current age, shrug, and say “F*ck it, world’s ending anyway.”
The KFC Chicken and Donut Sandwich is the America of chicken sandwiches. So my suggestion is to gather your friends, pick up a sandwich, and split it four ways. It’s definitely an experience, but if you eat it alone in the unending sprawl of Los Angeles, it’ll be impossible to not think about how the world seems to be ending.
The KFC Chicken and Donut Sandwich is priced between $5.49 and $7.49. But, in the bright light of reality, it feels like KFC should pay you to eat it.