There comes a time in a young man's life when opportunity meets inspiration, where innovation takes hold and propels you forward to greatness.
That moment didn't quite arrive this week with the nationwide release of the KFC Zinger Pie, an Australian-only addition to the fast food chain's product line.
Being a culinary adventurer and a self-professed pie connoisseur, this was an opportunity I couldn't miss, to see if a multi-national company could genuinely make an impact on the pastry-with-various-animal-bits-inside-it industry.
I should have passed.
Upon asking my friendly customer service representative what was actually in the pie, the reply was curt with a hint of uncertainty.
"Uhh, it's chicken, ahh, Zinger chicken."
Righto. That cleared that up.
I handed over my eight dollars – it's $3.95 per pie and any self-respecting pie journalist needs at least two to ensure quality control in a thorough review – and I headed off.
Troublingly, as I got to back to the office and dug about in the plastic bag, they had included two spoons. I can understand why people might use spoons in the consumption of a pie but for KFC to actively, if not entirely consciously, promote that goes against the very spirit of the Great Australian Pie.
My initial view of the pie filled me with apprehension. The upper crust is a deep, dark brown, like the pie has been lathered in spray-tan and left in the UV bed to add that extra coat. The removal of the aluminium foil pie-tray reveals a soft, slightly greasy underbelly.
After removing the incredibly crisp and crunchy pastry shell – truth be told, despite its appearance this is actually a big positive – the filling is underwhelming. Shredded chicken, not that much of it to be honest, with a nondescript brown gravy. It didn't smell appetising. It didn't smell of anything.
Everyone knows KFC's Zinger chicken is the poor brother of the Original Recipe, but the Zinger Pie could only work with Zinger chicken, because there is literally no other taste. The chicken tasted like, well, like chicken, but the zing. Oh the zing. It comes on immediately and strongly, like that bug you picked up in Phuket. It lingers over time, and to be honest as I'm writing this, a good 20 minutes later, I can still taste it. The Zinger flavour certainly does its job, which is to give the pie a flavour at all, but it's not the sort of flavour you want to stick around.
KFC's foray into the lucrative pie market is a temporary one, the Zinger pie is only available for a "limited time". In my opinion, it's a bit of a disaster. It all comes down to how much you appreciate that distinctive Zinger flavour. For my money, this is a last-resort pie, the sort of pie you'd only want when all other pie-sources have been exhausted. I might be getting ahead of myself here, but dare I say it, some variety – maybe even some vegetables – wouldn't have gone astray.
The verdict: 6 out of 10
Note on the score:
If my rating seems misleading, let me just say this - I hold pies in such high regard that a 6/10 rating is the equivalent of a 3/10 rating for any other food.
Now, if you're eating at KFC to begin with, you're probably not concerned with nutrition. Or taste. Or self-esteem. But if you are interested, here are the nutritional statistics, per 213g serve.
Energy: 2068 kilojoules, Protein: 23 grams, Fat (total): 21.7 grams, Fat (saturated): 11.7 grams, Carbohydrate: 51.3 grams, Carbohydrate: 3.6 grams, Sodium: 1133 milligrams
Source: This article originally appeared on WA Today