Whenever I think of Southern down-home comfort food, one dish that always comes to mind is chicken and waffles. Tender and crispy fried chicken paired with soft and sweet waffles make the perfect couple. Add a glug of maple syrup, and the entire dish is perfectly over the top. It's a trendy thing to serve chicken & waffles at brunch spots nowadays, and boy, was I excited as pie to see that KFC was releasing Chicken and Waffles for a limited run in my town.
The test item is being served in three North Carolina cities (Asheville, Greenville and Charlotte) and run from June 18-July 29th. Ample time to try out the waffles yourself if you are visiting the Carolinas for the summer. Sorry trendsetters in New York and Hollywood.
"We know that chicken and waffles has a cult following across the country, especially in the south, but not everyone has it available close by," Mike Wesley, KFC's senior marketing director, said in a statement. Wesley added he's "excited to hear what North Carolinian taste buds have to say" about the brand's new chicken and waffles menu item.
The menu item comes as either a 2-piece or 3-piece meal, which the choice to add a side for a dollar extra. The two-piece chicken comes with two golden brown chicken parts and one Belgian waffle. The three-piece meal comes with an extra piece of chicken (we got a leg, chicken breast, and thigh) and another waffle. Each meal also includes maple syrup to drizzle on your chicken dinner.
At first glance (and smell) the chicken and waffles smelled and looked heavenly. Although it didn't seem that the waffles came straight from the waffle iron (probably frozen and reheated but I'm just speculating), they were a beautiful deep mahogany. The chicken was extra crispy, just the way I like.
I dived headfirst into the waffle and was immediately taken aback. The overwhelming sweetness and lack of texture (not airy but rather dense) was too much. I moved over to the chicken (which had some maple syrup on it) and bit into it with gusto. You can't go wrong with the salty and sweet combo of maple syrup and fried chicken.
I took another bite of the waffle with a small piece of chicken and felt the sweetness wasn't as overbearing as it was on that first bite. But the waffle itself didn't compare to one I could make at home or even buy down the street at the local Chicken and Waffle place. And they serve theirs with a touch of hot sauce.
Personally, for this dish to work at KFC's across the entire United States, I would suggest a few things. 1) A fluffier and less sweet waffle and 2) Serve it like a sandwich, almost like the Canadian KFC Waffle Double Down Sandwich, except two waffles and boneless chicken tenders.
Have you tried it?