This week, I reached out for a KFC Spicy Bowl, new from the finger lickers at KFC, with 4,200 restaurants 'cross the U.S. and 17,000 more 'round the world. This is a sequel to KFC's very popular Famous Bowl, now tagged Original Bowl, introduced in 2006.
Here's the Spicy Bowl breakdown: popcorn fried chicken nuggets, gravy, shredded cheese, sweet corn, shredded cheese, and more gravy on a bedrock of mashed potatoes. Served in a, duh, microwavable bowl. More on that later.
Total calories: 720. Fat grams: 34. Sodium: 2,370 mg. Carbs: 79 g. Dietary fiber: 6 g. Protein: 26 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $3. Such a deal.
KFC's Spicy Bowl is nugget-for-nugget the same blueprint as the Original Bowl except ... the nuggets in the Spicy Bowl are slathered with Nashville Hot sauce. The difference makes a world of difference. Nashville Hot Chicken was such a huge success for KFC when it was introduced in 2016 that it spawned a whole lineup of southern-based sauces, like Georgia Gold, Smoky Mountain BBQ, and Hot Honey.
Nashville Hot sauce is eerie good stuff. It packs a strong spicy wallop but doesn't reach "not sure the kids will like this." The photo on the menu board shows Nashville Hot sauce, but if you ask pretty please, they'll sub one of their other Southern sauces.
There's a whole lot of action in the Spicy Bowl: chicken, corn, cheese, gravy, potatoes, and another splatter of gravy. It's all prepared in layers, but a few swooshes with a spork and you've got a wonderful mashup of flavors and textures. It's similar to my favorite meal of the year, the day after Thanksgiving, when I throw leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce in a bowl and swirl everything together. When the cheese melts into the mashed potatoes, heavenly. What's that show on the Food Network ... The Best Thing I Ever Ate? That's mine.
Now let's talk bottom line. KFC's Spicy Bowl is a total fill'er-up meal. It weighs almost a pound, costs only $3, and it's really good. It's the biggest, worth-it bargain in the drive-through.
Consider that Burger King is boasting about its $6 King Box, with a Whopper (Okay, you've got me interested), two cookies (continue), small fries (you're losing me) and a small drink (goodbye). You can get two large Spicy Bowls for the same $6. Buy two, and save the second one for tomorrow's lunch. The bowl is microwavable. KFC's Spicy Bowl is a good deal of food for a great deal at the cash register.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.