Everything You Need To Know About KFC Malaysia's New Zero Chicken Burger

"We can't take the chicken out of KFC. Oh wait, we just did," exclaims KFC Malaysia's new commercial for the KFC Zero Chicken Burger (via YouTube). Kentucky fried non-meat, this new sandwich is described as using a meat-free patty that still includes the signature KFC "secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices and fried" (via Poultry World). The patty is slapped between your traditional KFC sesame seed bun and also includes cheese, lettuce, Spicy BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise. According to Evelyn Ng, deputy GM marketing of KFC Malaysia, "In the recent years, meat-free protein alternatives have been gaining traction with more people opening up to alternative protein sources. This led to the creation of the 'Zero Chicken' concept – a chicken-less burger that tastes unmistakably and satisfyingly KFC!" 

A reviewer who tried the sandwich in Singapore back in January described it as tasting "surprisingly" like chicken, with the fibrous texture we'd expect from traditional poultry and good flavor (via 8 Days). Unfortunately, there's a huge BUT coming for non-meat-eaters. The sandwich is neither vegan nor vegetarian.

Meat-free options for flexitarians

Say what? A meat-free patty that isn't animal-product-free? While the meat itself is made of mycoprotein, a fungus-based meat alternative that easily masquerades as chicken, the cooking method and condiments place this dish firmly outside the animal-free zone. The chicken-less chicken is still cooked in the same fryer as the other KFC original recipe (via Poultry World), so there will be traces of meat from the cooking process. In addition, the same mayo used on all sandwiches is being used on the Zero Chicken, and traditional mayo contains eggs. And of course, it contains cheese.

So, you might be wondering, "Who's the market for this meatless meatish option?" The answer is the growing flexitarian movement (via 8 Days). Flexitarians are basically meat-eaters who are working on reducing their meat consumption without excluding meat entirely from their diet (via Healthline). In a press release for the debut of the burger in Singapore, KFC Senior Director of Marketing & Food Innovation, Juliana Lim, said, "We see a trend towards flexitarianism and increased demand for meat alternative products, so we wanted to offer a meat-free option but still keeping the same great KFC taste." It appears the company is testing out that idea in Malaysia now, too.

Will this gambit be successful? We're still unaware of calorie counts and health implications, or whether American audiences would understand this meatish take on chicken. We see potential, but only time will tell.