KFC in China has always been a compelling sight for most Western eyes. It is both comforting yet alienating, taking classic, home-style southern American dining fare and somehow nearly completely Chinese-ifying it (is that a word? Now it is). About the only recognizable things on the menu are your staple bucket of legs and thighs, and a handful of sandwiches that bear a passing resemblance in look and taste to their American KFC fried chicken sandwich counterparts.
Borrowing heavily, but not outright copying, seems to the model for KFC’s success in China. Recently, this has become more obvious in its newest menu item.
Remember the Double Down? A slice of ham and melty cheese sandwiched between two deep fried pieces of original recipe chicken? A sandwich so gleefully profane in its composition that you wonder which southern bourbon-swilling frat boy they hired to dream it up for them?
As a fan of weird fast-food, I am delighted to break the news that KFC China has done the near impossible: one-upped the Double Down.
A clever combination of the words “chicken” and “pizza”, it is almost exactly how it sounds: a pizza, literally made of chicken.
Well, at least the crust is. Yep, you heard that right: the crust is a deep-fried piece of flattened chicken, topped off with a healthy layer of cheese and sprinkled with corn, ham, pineapple, and green and red peppers. What a lovely day to be living in China.
Looks-wise, the Chizza isn’t as obviously heart-attack-inducing as the Double Down, possibly because all the unhealthy bits are hidden under a thick layer of cheese. The first thing I noticed about it was that it was cut into four slices: a life-saving measure; a suggestion that this should most certainly be shared. Size-wise, it’s about as big as a personal-sized pizza from Pizza Hut. Since I wasn’t prepared to risk my life over fried chicken, I invited a friend to try half a Chizza with me.
We each grabbed an adjacent slice and pulled upwards in tandem, slowly separating at the top, allowing a molten cheese bridge to form, pulling back for as far as the cheese could stretch. They definitely didn’t skimp on the cheese, and the toppings were piled on generously as well.
As soon as the cheesy bridge collapsed I took a big bite, trying to taste a bit of everything at once.
To my surprise, it wasn’t bad. Dare I say it, it was incredible! The batter was fried crisp enough to maintain its crunch even after adding the toppings, and the dark meat chicken was moist and juicy throughout. The cheese was perfectly melted and the extra toppings pumped up the flavour of each bite. It was like a mini deluxe pizza, but without those pesky carbs. A bodybuilder’s dream.
Priced at only 23 RMB (less than $4 USD) I’d consider it a steal. In my opinion, it beats the Double Down in all aspects. Think about it this way: provided the choice, would you rather have a sandwich or a pizza? I rest my case.
My only regret was that I had to share it with my friend. Oh well, there’s always next time.