KFC: The Ultimate Australia vs USA Cross-Continental Showdown

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is the fast food place to go when you’re craving a crispy, juicy, finger lickin’ good piece of fried chicken. There are over 25,000 KFCs across 145 countries, making it one of the biggest fast food chains in the world.

KFC’s humble beginnings go back to 1929 in Corbin, Kentucky. Colonel Harland Sanders opened up a gas station where he occasionally cooked his mother’s famous recipes for his friends and family. Word got out about his delicious country cooking, so he opened The Harland Sanders Court and Café. The Colonel shrewdly switched from deep frying to pressure cooking, allowing him to pump out way more chicken in much less time. Increased output on top of perfecting his famous “original recipe” put Sander’s chicken on the radar of food lovers across the country by the 1940s.

Things were going cluckingly and his chicken was earning awards and recognition….Then WWII hit.

Rationing and a tourism drop off forced Sanders to shut down his restaurant. He pivoted and traveled across the country to franchise out his secret recipe and voila, the first KFC opened it’s doors in Salt Lake City in 1952. By 1963 there were over 600 franchises, and KFC has been roaring ever since.

KFC made it’s way to Australia in 1968 when the first shop opened in Guildford, a western suburb of Sydney. While other fast food chains have struggled to break into the Australian market, KFC proved to be a massive hit. Now there are over 680 stores, making it one of Australia’s top fast food spots.

But does KFC in Australia stack up against the USA?

After tackling Domino’s, Taco Bell, and McDonalds, it was time to take on KFC for a cross continental KFC showdown.

Australia

The Experience:

After a 3:30am alarm and 8 hours into our journey from Sydney to Brisbane, the Colonel was calling our name.

My legs finally remembered how to move as we walked up to the counter to place our order. The restaurant was clean, the staff was nice, and the process was smooth. I grabbed a table and Jeremy plopped down a big bag in under 5 minutes.

The Food:

My zinger burger (they call any type of sandwich in a bun a burger Down Under) was everything you’d want in a fried chicken sandwich. Juicy, real breast meat delectably fried to crunchy perfection.  Jeremy’s double zinger stacker was even better. Not one, but two chunks of chicken with an added zesty BBQ sauce that gave each bit a touch of sweetness.

The chips (AKA fries) were warm and soft with the right level of crunch, coated in some sort of chicken salt that make them addictive.

The original recipe burger was AUD$5.95 (USD$4.59), the zinger stacker was AUD$8.95 (USD$6.90), the large chips (fries) were AUD$4.95 (USD $3.82)

USA

By: Lew Askegaard

The Experience:

There were three vehicles at the drive through window, 2 pickups and an SUV.  Inside, there was one customer at the counter. She turned to me and said, in a voice dripping with disgust, “They take their own sweet time here.”  I was ready for a confrontation when the food appeared just after, but nothing.

I ordered and settled down to while away their sweet time. There were 88 seats in the store and zero customers. I counted 9 pictures of the Colonel posted conspicuously.  There were three huge gaudy posters and a collage of six framed 12 by 18 (inch) black and white photos of the Colonel being feted.  Add those to the 6 pictures on the bag and packing material, and there was no doubt about the namesake.

Both staff I saw were wearing masks, as was I.  A big poster gave helpful hints as to how to avoid dying: wear masks, social distance 6 feet, use hand sanitizer, wash hands with soap and water.  It didn’t state the likely biggest source of contagion: keep fingers where they belong…

Not sure how long “sweet time” is, but I waited 8 minutes.

The Food:

It was crispy, tender and juicy.  Fries were perfectly cooked, crisp, and slightly seasoned.  Very tasty pickles that added to the overall experience, and just a hint of mayo.

Bev was transported.  “It doesn’t taste oily,” she said.  “Danger, danger if you’re on a diet because you won’t be able to stop.”  She kept making noises, like “Yum yum” and “mmmm”.  On the way out the door, she wheeled around, explaining that she had to have one more bite.  It made me wonder what kind of tasteless stuff I’d been foisting off on her.  I was a bit more restrained, but I too thought it was delicious.  Juicy, tasted like chicken, just the right spices. Hey, with that kind of reaction from the lady who sneers at fast food, I’d say it’s worth the 500 calories.

It cost $3.99 for extra crispy chicken sandwich ($5.19 AUS) and $2.19 American for French fries ($2.83 AUS). They added 76 cents tax, which was 12.8%, presumably state and local Staunton City.

The Side By Side

The experience was much better in Australia. Quick, friendly service with no drama as oppose to 8 minutes with a side of southern sass. The taste and quality appear to be fairly equal, and we both thoroughly enjoyed our juicy, albeit artery clogging, fried chicken sandwiches. The price was a bit lower in the USA.

One odd thing is that the Colonel seems to have aged in the USA while staying youthful and fresh here Down Under. I suspect it’s the four years of the Trump administration that did him in…

Australia

USA

Overall Ranking (1-5, 5 being the best)

Australia:

Taste:5

Quality: 5

Price: 4 ($4.49usd)

Overall Enjoyment: 4

USA:

Taste: 5

Quality: 5

Price: 5 ($3.99usd)

Overall Enjoyment: 3 (“fast” food was too slow)

And the winner is…..

Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The taste and culinary experience weren’t too different, and while the Aussie KFC sandwich was a touch more expensive, my dad’s bad experience is what tipped this battled Down Under.

Stay tuned for the next cross-continental showdown!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Lindsay says:

    I find it interesting that it seems like all of the Australian versions of these showdowns win out over the American versions. Also, it always seems to turn into a political reason too … is that intentional??

    Like

    1. Yeah it is interesting! I’ve noticed that the quality of food in Australia tends to be better. The ingredients are usually fresher and for a relatively cheaper price. For this challenge, though, we agreed that the product was comparable in quality. It was the service quality that determined the winner.

      My dad and I love debating politics! Perhaps that’s why a sentence always seems to sneak it’s way it!

      Like

  2. interesting comparison. i never tried KFC in the USA so cant compare. I do think we compare favourably to India though where ALL the chicken is spicy or extra spicy. you cant even get original recipe!

    Like

    1. oh interesting! Does KFC in India also have region specific sides?

      Like

      1. i only went to one in Delhi. I dont think so – its not widespread at all at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

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