Many fast food chains are jumping on the bandwagon to offer “healthier” options for their customers in this food-conscious world we live in. However, KFC, who heeds that call by offering KGC (Kentucky Grilled Chicken), is now stepping up their game in the opposite direction — by adding bacon in one of their menu items: the new Cheesy Bacon Bowl.
This fat-laden treat is no shocker; let us not forget that the Colonel brought us items like the Doublicious and the Double Down. As a fan of bacon, I say more power to them for embracing the salty, crispy pork product; as they remind us in their ad campaign, “Everything is better with bacon.” But how does it translate to the fast food eating experience? Here’s how it rates:
The Claims: The “new” Cheesy Bacon Bowl is a plastic bowl filled with layered ingredients: mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, popcorn chicken, shredded cheese and bacon bits. If you analyze the menu, you’ll notice that it’s the already existing KFC Famous Bowl with mashed potatoes and gravy, only with bacon on top — it’s merely the bacon bits that make it “new.”
There wasn’t a calorie count for this new item available at the time of writing, but if you take the 680 calories from the KFC Famous Bowl, and factor in about two tablespoons of bacon bits (about 60 calories), you have a total of 740. The Cheesy Bacon bowl is available for a limited time for $3.99 at participating locations.
The Verdict: C. First off, how are these bowls considered “famous?” I always thought the Colonel was known more for his heavily guarded original recipe for fried chicken; it’s the first thing I associate his with restaurant chain. These bowls only seem to be “famous” because KFC’s marketing department slapped that adjective on them to make them trademarked menu items. Also, I don’t know about you, but I felt a little weird eating most of what KFC has to offer, thrown together into a bowl.
When sampling this (my first KFC bowl-eating experience), I felt like I should only be having this when recovering from dental surgery, or if I’m being spoon-fed in a hospital. Have Americans gotten so lazy that we’ll just put everything in a bowl and eat it like horses going to a trough? (At the same time, there’s something awesome about living in a country that gives us that option.) Suggestion to KFC: You could have easily classed up this item by calling it a “casserole” instead of a bowl, since that’s essentially what it is.
But enough about semantics. The new Cheesy Bacon Bowl is an okay meal if you’re looking for a quick, salty meal that you can shovel into your mouth with a spoon when you have no time or patience for any finger lickin’ (or the use of napkins). I mean, it’s not going to win any awards or anything — unless Zagat’s Fast-Food survey started a new category “Best Collection of Existing Food Items Put Into A Bowl” — but it does get the job done of getting you full.
How does it taste? Well, it tastes like KFC. The KFC chicken, the KFC mashed potatoes and gravy — all in each convenient bite. Collectively, all the items’ individual flavors fuse into one “KFC Flavor” — although the corn does stand out to give a little bit of sweetness amidst all the salt. As for the bacon, it’s there, and it’s good, but it only really adds to the saltiness of the dish and nothing more; it’s just bacon bits after all — not the crispy slices of sizzling bacon as they show on their commercial.
So does KFC confirm the adage “Everything is better with bacon?” Sure, but only marginally better in this case. And slightly less famous.