hello kfc, goodbye stress

Work work work … KFC! Yum. 15.5 kuai? Yup. Two-minute walk? I’m in.

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The spicy chicken sandwich (香辣鸡腿堡 xiāng là jītuǐ bǎo) is, in my opinion, delicious. Best thing on the menu. The spice is just enough to make your mouth tingle but not enough to require a drink. Most importantly, the chicken sandwich is made with dark meat. Ah yes, dark meat. I will never understand why Americans insist on eating white meat. If you’re trying to be heatlthy, then sure, white meat has less fat than dark meat. But dark meat is so much more flavorful! And if you’re trying to be heatlhy, why the heck are you at KFC in the first place? I remember when McDonald’s turned their chicken nuggets to be all white meat. That was a sad, sad day. I guess that will end up being one of those “back when I was a kid …” kind of stories, like when Pluto was a planet.

Anyhow, the reason for my trip to KFC was because this past week was sheer madness. I normally bring my lunch to work, but I didn’t have time to prepare anything and I didn’t want to take too long of a lunch break since there was still stuff to get done. Yup, that’s my rationale for hopping over to KFC and indulging in some greasy goodness. No matter. The key is moderation and since I rarely eat fast food, one chicken sandwich isn’t going to kill me. Besides, it was sooooo good! Ah, instant stress reliever!

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kfc: my last meal in china

For my last meal in Beijing, I had KFC. Yes, that’s right. I had American fast food in China. Judge me if you will, but you shouldn’t, because it’s totally not the same. Way back when, KFC was Kentucky Fried Chicken, but now it’s just those three letters. Which is fitting, because they’re not really just about fried chicken anymore (although I would gladly dig into a bucket of the stuff). In China at least, rarely anyone orders their fried chicken. They don’t even have biscuits! Or macaroni and cheese! SCANDALOUS!

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But I guess it’s a small price to pay. Because seriously, when did you last see a KFC this big and clean? And so full of people there was barely any seating available?

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As I mentioned, I love me those KFC buckets of fried goodness. But … I’m also kind of obsessed with their shrimp burger. I first had it a few years ago when I was traveling around China, and I really, really missed it. It seems weird, but it’s actually DELICIOUS. The fried patty is chock full of shrimp, then there’s lettuce and the sweet mayonnaise that Chinese people seem to love. I had to remove much of the glob of mayonnaise so it didn’t overpower my taste buds, but yeah … delish.

I also really like KFC’s chicken burgers in China because they use dark meat instead of the fat-free white meat Americans seem to prefer. Mmm … now I’m getting hungry.

kfc chicken zinger in the airport

And on the subject of fast food in airports (the subject of my last post), here comes KFC! In the Mumbai airport! It’s the chicken zinger sandwich from KFC, which I ate at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai, as my last meal in India. Is it weird to eat American fast food in a foreign country? Yeah. But since the chicken zinger isn’t sold in the US, it’s totally fine.

Basically it’s a spicy crispy chicken sandwich. Not all that special and not all that great. The bread kept falling apart and the mayonnaise was too sweet, but the chicken was good although not as spicy as I expected/hoped. I remember the spicy chicken sandwich from a McDonald’s in India being much better, but that was roughly two years ago so I can’t say for sure. Anyhow, it was a decent way to end the trip … there’s only so much curry and kebabs I could take.

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city of taicang

On Saturday, I went with some classmates and some locals (a classmate’s friend and his friends) to the city of Taicang.  Taicang is located about an hour away from Shanghai, but it was so quiet in comparison to Shanghai, with blue skies and lots of space. Spent about the entire day in the town. We went to the park and museum, which were largely centered around Zheng He, a famous Chinese explorer and diplomat. Then there was a place called Shaxi Town, which is part of the old town that had been preserved.

One of the locals said that most of the buildings around Taicang (which looked like any normal city) were probably five years old, ten at the most. Crazy to think about how much a town can change in such a short period of time. We walked around the city center a bit and we probably could have been anywhere. They had a KFC … ugh, that chain is everywhere.

Anyway, had a great time. They treated us to lunch and dinner, both of which were AMAZING. Lots of seafood (for lunch we had three different kinds of shrimp) since Taicang is located on the Yangtze River and is a natural port. Oh and we also ate roasted pigeon … yum. It was like roasted duck, but smaller. In Chinese it’s pronounced ge1 zi. We had a ball of a time saying it. Much fun. Not exactly a tourist city, but nice for a low-key getaway from Shanghai.

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not chinese

Went to Ikea for the first time ever. Despite all my many plans to visit the one in Round Rock, I never actually went. So yeah, it took a trip to the other side of the planet to get me to an Ikea. Just bought myself a little table for my laptop and a small shelf. Outside of the store there was a line of taxis waiting like at an airport. Weird. On the one hand I miss driving around, but on the other hand, traffic in Shanghai is a scary mess.

There was also a trip to KFC, and goodness gracious, it ain’t the same. Oh no. If there’s no mashed potatoes and gravy or cole slaw, it just ain’t KFC. Shame, none of those delicious biscuits here either. Nope, but rice and soup are available. And their chicken sandwiches use dark meat instead of the standard white meat. Weird. I miss artery-clogging food. I’d probably kill for biscuits and gravy right now.

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[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]