I’ve heard rumors for a long time about KFC. Apparently, in Jamaica, KFC customers are treated to something unthinkable in most of the world: Kentucky Fried Chicken that’s actually good.
When I first heard this rumor, I dismissed it outright. After all, KFC has a brand to protect, so they want their food to taste the same in Kansas City as it does in Kingston. Brand consistency and common sense led me to believe this was all bunk until I talked to a friend of mine who was going to Jamaica to visit family. I asked if it was true Jamaica has the best KFC in the world.
“Who told you that?” He said, suspiciously.
Jamaican KFC is the best KFC. No one is quite sure why. So I conducted an investigation to find how deep the rabbit hole goes. The people need answers.
It’s not just a rumor, and I’m not the first person to look into it. Mr. Lexx, a dancehall legend took to the streets to ask Jamaicans what makes KFC there so good. On TripAdvisor, the only complaints a KFC restaurant gets are that it is overloaded with customers. Some tourists the cannabis heartland of the Carribean write long posts about just how good KFC is in Jamaica.
One user said, “OMG!!! the KFC taste so much better than the ones we get in USA or Canada..the meat is juicier, and the taste is unbelievable.” A Jamaican local wrote a long, heartfelt homage to the new salad on the Jamaican menu and finished off his tribute with, “…I would say, when you come to Jamaica, try our KFC, you are bound to experience a different flavor, compared to none.”
This trend isn’t true for just one KFC in Jamaica. But most of the KFC restaurants on the island are highly rated and are filled with comments from astonished travelers.
KFC is just as secretive about why Jamaica has such a phenomenal reputation as it is over its eleven herbs and spice blend.
To get to the bottom of this, I thought I’d reached out to the colonel himself. Since he’s dead, the KFC headquarters would have to do. I was told my message had been passed along but received no reply beyond that. I tried calling KFC Jamaican headquarters, but the number was out of service, and no one has replied to my email. The KFC corporation speaks of Jamaica’s chicken reputation with the same deflective and mysterious aura as American politicians when asked about Area 51. I decided to keep digging, as a journalist, I couldn’t allow the truth to be suppressed.
I consulted forums and message boards to find answers. There are a handful of theories that explain why KFC tastes so much better in Jamaica, but none are satisfying. One theory is Jamaican KFC’s are better because they don’t use genetically modified organisms. But, there’s no reason to believe this is true. More food in Jamaica is organic than in the US, but there’s no reason to assume KFC would splurge. KFC in the United States has been dogged by horrifying urban legends, like serving customers a crispy fried rat, or a genetically modified eight-legged chicken. While all these stories about KFC have been proved false, could it be possible that the exotic atmosphere creates a placebo affect? I intended to find out.
One possible theory is the workers just care more about how the food is cooked. That way, you don’t run into dry, overcooked chicken, or wilted vegetables in a coleslaw. While this could be true, it doesn’t explain the fervor both locals and visitors have for KFC in Jamaica.
KFC is so good in Jamaica that not even McDonalds could break the up the love affair. McDonald’s doesn’t even exist in Jamaica, because who needs it when KFC is so good? But Jamaica isn’t the only country that holds KFC in higher esteem than it’s earned in North America.
In China, For example, KFC is so popular it has it’s own in-store currency. A new app even has KFC jukebox function, so fans of chicken can listen to music the restaurant would play even while they’re at home. People can open that app on the phone KFC just put out in China (seriously).
Japan, most famously, celebrates Christmas with a massive bucket of KFC. It’s a tradition that’s so popular people have to order their Christmas buckets months in advance.
Like the eleven herbs and spices, the truth about why KFC is so good in Jamaica remains as unanswered as the question of who created Stonehenge. If you think that comparison is a little large, you haven’t experienced the sublime beauty of Jamaican KFC chicken skin melting in your mouth.
However, one question has been answered. In North America, we’re clearly doing KFC wrong. The colonel would be ashamed.
The post I conducted a deep investigation to find out why Jamaica has the best KFC in the world appeared first on HERB.