Friday, 28 November 2014

KFC Vietnam

At KFB we never like to let our fans down, and so it was with much regret earlier this year, after the promise of a Vietnam KFC review we were unable to visit the intended branch due to inaccurately posted closing times. KFB was determined to make up for this crushing disappointment (trust us, it was worse for us than for you) and resolved to go back there.... and so we have! KFB recently visited Vietnam's flagship Hoan Kiem branch in Hanoi to sample their wares. Mindful that we'd let you down we then went on to visit a KFC in neighbouring Cambodia to see how it compared.

KFC has been in Vietnam for 14 years having opened its first branch in Ho Chi Minh city, better known as Saigon in 1997. Compared to some Markets we've visited this makes KFC vietnam positively middle aged and we hoped that with that maturity had come distinction and refinement.

From the outside, housed alongside a global financial institute in a grand colonial building boasting balconies with commanding views over the central lake it certainly looked the part.

We entered into what was a small vestibule containing the tills and the entrance to a stair well that took us up to the restaurant. We were greeted by two smiling team members with a good standard of english who make for a pleasent transaction. The whole meal cost me nearly two hundred grand (dong that is, the Vietnamese currency of which there are about 33,000 to the £)

We made our way up the stairs into the main restaurant which extended over a further two floors. We were confronnted with a food pick up area, although as we weren't visiting at peak time and our food was not yet ready, with broken English the staff let us know they'd bring it over to us. We took our seat on the balcony and watched the chaos below whilst we waited for our food.

We didn't have to wait too long before it was served to us on bespoke KFC plastic crockery with raised plastic ridges to neatly compartmentalise our food with a scoop of mash and gravy in one, fries in another and our burger in a third. Drinks were served in branded glasses (which I sincerely regret not bringing one home) and there was a perfectly presentable condiment station.

Asians in general seem much less squeamish about colour , presentation and texture of meat than us in the West and are happy to strip a carcass to the bone. I am unhappily at the other end of the scale, A cross that is in fact very bearable in the UK due to our delicious chicken breast fillet burgers. However, when in Asia on business I've frequently felt how I imagine vegetarians may feel in Texas, picking carefully at my food and taking tentative bites to see if the food is palatable. Unfortunately again in Vietnam as elsewhere in Asia even the burgers consisted of hunks of the dark meat lumped together into a patty shape and fried in original recipe.

I shan't dwell on the burger although it was clearly the weak link in the meal, there were redeeming features. Shoestring fries that were nicely browned and crispy were accompanied by a smooth mash and tasty gravy. And he best part of the meal? Pudding - egg custard tarts based I assume on the Chinese copy of the Portuguese colonial treat 'Pastel de Nata' that now seems to have spread across the whole of East Asia from the original Portuguese enclave of Macau. These were hot, fresh, crispy and delicious.

In comparison to the west the prices were very reasonable with two meals and pudding being about half the cost you may expect to pay in the UK. In comparison to the local prices, this was maybe a little pricey, but bear in mind this is a city where you can buy a beer for 15p!

KFC vietnam

Value 5 /10
Taste 4/ 10

A long way to go!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

KFB in Australia: Hash Brown Double review

  1. 1.
    having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be

Perfect may well be how one might describe the famed Double Down - an innovation so significant we've dedicated several posts to it. You can't improve on perfection of course. At least that's what we thought until we saw the incredible Zinger Double Down King from South Korea. Eagle eyed readers though may have spotted another interesting product in that article: the Double Down Maxx which added a hash brown to the mix. Well we're pleased (not to mention very excited) to announce that a very similar product is now available in Australia: The Hash Brown Double.

We sampled the Hash Brown Double at the Bourke St branch in Melbourne. Something for connoisseurs to note: you're given the choice of fillet or Zinger varieties. We opted for the latter and added a pot of gravy for good measure (we also received free large fries owing to an serving error that caused a delay). The cost was $10.95 without the gravy.

Let's break the 'burger' down for you: sandwiched between two Zinger fillets you'll find two slices of cheese, a slice of Australian style bacon and the all important hash brown. Supercharger sauce is the lubricant of choice.

Construction was solid with the cheese acting as the usual binding agent. The packaging acts as a handy hand guard of sorts to help with grease transference but wasn't hugely effective. On first bite the cheese taste was most dominant which was a worry. The saltiness of the bacon however soon helped cut through the cloying initial flavour and made for a nicely balanced mouthful.

As we've often noted, the hash brown is a very welcome addition and adds an extra element of texture. It was crunchy and piping hot here as it should be. If we had to make one suggestion though it would be that we'd replace the Supercharger sauce with the salsa found in the UK Zinger Tower to help further cut through the otherwise extremely rich flavours.

Overall the Hash Brown Double was a very tasty and filling if not mind-blowing addition to the menu out here in the land down under. Perhaps we'd bigged it up too much before the sampling but the addition of the hash brown wasn't as revolutionary as we'd hoped.

Finally, a word on the gravy. Though it passed the standing chip test with flying colours it was of the stodgy, peppery variety similar to that found in KFC Hong Kong and elsewhere and really wasn't very tasty.

Taste: 6.5
Innovation: 6
Value: 8

Overall: 7.5