When examining fast food, there are both pros and cons. On the pros side, it’s convenient, lives up to its name of being “fast,” and is inexpensive. That’s what makes many fast food establishments so successful. Yum! Brands, according to The Motley Fool, is one of the most successful today; they own Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC.
Nothing is perfect, though, and that certainly includes fast food as well. On the list of cons, one could argue the food is unhealthy compared to homemade meals, it has the potential to be addictive and, strangest of all, it has a tendency to go too far. Fast food chains are always going to great lengths to get people to buy their product. That often means they’re having to reinvent themselves—and their menus—every few months.
While it’s necessary for fast-food chains to constantly release new types of food and experiment with off-the-wall food items, it has a tendency to get out of hand. Whether it’s a stacked sandwich with too much meat or a slushy with pickle juice (we’re looking at you, Sonic), it becomes more about surprising customers than it does actually feeding them.
In light of this blueprint fast-food places have to adhere to, we’re going to take a look at two restaurants that always push the envelope with their menus: Taco Bell and KFC. Whether it’s an inventive and odd use of tortillas or fried chicken, these two chains—both under Yum! Brands—continue to befuddle customers with their new food ideas. With all the success they’ve had, though, they must be doing something right.
20 KFC: Fried-Chicken Okonomiyaki
The menu items at KFC in Hong Kong seem to rely on interesting mashups. According to Grub Street, they have Okonomiyaki Crispy Chicken. This has fried chicken covered in bonito flakes and sauce. This is one of the more appetizing offerings on the list, though it’s still odd, especially when one compares it with the giant bucket offerings. The same source also alludes to the fact that mashups for KFCs outside the U.S. seem more creative. Even if it’s a hit over there, it might be hard to bring Okonomiyaki Crispy Chicken to the U.S. because of how strange it is.
19 Taco Bell: Kit Kat Chocoladilla
People don’t go to Taco Bell solely for the desserts, so it isn’t exactly fair to judge what they have to offer. That must’ve opened the door for some wild experimentation, the kind that resulted in the Kit Kat Chocoladilla. It appears to combine the idea of a quesadilla with Kit Kat bars. Thankfully, though, they didn’t include cheese. People reports that Milwaukee residents got a chance to try this for the mere price of $1. It seems to be very much like Taco Bell’s tortillas full of popular chips—only now, they’re willing to go so far as to try chocolate bars.
18 KFC: Zinger Double Down
The name of this next item is appropriate, considering it asks customers to double down on their tolerance of KFC. The Zinger Double Down is available in KFC Korea, which according to Time, combines the world of fried chicken with burgers. There’s no bun in sight, though—at least in the traditional sense. Replacing the bread instead are two pieces of fried chicken. In the middle are a burger patty, cheese, and some bacon for extra measure. It’s big and excessive, and it probably does a number on one's blood sugar. One imagines it would be a hit in the United States if it ever crossed over.
17 Taco Bell: Firecracker Burrito
There’s something people like about foods that have the word “firecracker” in their name. When people get sick of ordering Firecracker chicken at Panda Express, they can drive through Taco Bell for a Firecracker Burrito. E! Online reports that ground beef, rice, nacho cheese, sour cream, spicy sauce, and red strips are all packed into this explosive burrito. They even provide a packet of flakes to pour over the burrito, and the flakes are supposed to pop in customers’ mouths. If that doesn’t sound strange and crazy, we don’t know what does. What we do know is that Taco Bell knows how to get customers in their doors.
16 KFC: Double Down Dog
The Zinger Double Down just wasn’t enough. KFC had to, ahem, double down with the Double Down Dog. Available in the Philippines, as per Time, it takes the concept of a Zinger Double Down but applies it to a hot dog. Fried Chicken substitutes the traditional bread bun as it wraps around a hot dog with what appears to be mustard drizzled on top. It’s simple and not very creative, but it’s hard to deny the curiosity customers will have for it. That’s all that matters in the end. The only thing we’re worried about is what food KFC is going to wrap in fried chicken next.
15 Taco Bell: Naked Chicken Chalupa
Taco Bell decided to “lay bare” their Chalupa and release a Naked Chicken version. The Naked Chicken Chalupa takes a cue from its sibling KFC by using fried chicken in a taco. Instead of a tortilla shell, the usual fixings of a taco become housed in a fried-chicken wrap. It’s so hard to fathom, only photos can do this wild concoction justice. People reports that it took them months of testing before making it available across the United States. We can’t really say if Taco Bell customers are better off for it or if it’s just a stepping stone to even crazier items.
14 KFC: Chizza
With Pizza Hut under the Yum! Brands umbrella, it’s no wonder that influence would ultimately carry over to its other restaurants. KFC released a fried-chicken pizza called the Chizza. No, folks—we’re not making this up. We just hope the customers like pineapple on their pizza. As the name suggests, according to Business Insider, it’s got cheese sauce, ham, pineapple pieces and a crust of fried chicken. It really is one big step for KFC, though we’re not sure if it’s taken forward or backward. At least no one, including KFC’s staunchest critics, can honestly say they haven’t tried new things.
13 Taco Bell: Enchirito
The Enchirito takes enchiladas to a new level, one that’s not exactly appetizing. According to E! Online, the Enchirito used a soft flour tortilla. Inside of it was beef, beans, and onions. As is visible from the photo, there was a red sauce over it, followed by a thick layer of cheddar cheese on top. It looks like there’s twice as much red sauce than is necessary. What also looks interesting is the cheese that barely looks melted. If there’s one thing the Enchirito proved, it’s that Taco Bell is inventive at coming up with new names for its menu items.
12 KFC: BBQ Bacon Boxmaster
It’s an odd name for a fast-food item, but it’s usually the price and flavor that matters most. The BBQ Bacon Boxmaster offers an odd mix of foods all crammed into a convenient—you guessed it—box. According to Metro, it’s a piece of fried chicken that includes BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese, and a piece of lettuce. That’s not all though—what brings it all together is one final ingredient: a hash brown. It sounds appetizing when one breaks down each item inside the Boxmaster, but together, the parts make for an odd combo. As much as it’s good to add veggies whenever possible, this product actually sounds much better without the lettuce.
11 Taco Bell: Rattlesnake and Reaper Fries
While the name is likely meant to conjure up a cowboy theme that reminds customers of the wild west, it sounds unappetizing. Rattlesnake and Reaper fries take fries to the next level, though one not everyone will find appealing. People reports that it’s a whole plate of fries topped with grilled steak, jalapeño sauce, and nacho cheese. There also appears to be what looks like a dollop of soft cream or ranch plopped in the center. The same source notes that a side dressing has actual Carolina Reapers in it, which is one of the hottest chili peppers around. If it’s not delicious, it’s at least a worthy dare item.
10 KFC: Golden Wrapped Chicken
This is one of those foods that may not look appetizing, but it’s hard to turn away. It garners so much curiosity and interest, whether one likes KFC or not. According to KYspeaks, KFC offers Golden Wrapped Chicken, which is their fancy way of saying paper-wrapped chicken. This chicken is non-fried and comes with a side of bun and mashed potatoes or butter rice. It’s probably a healthier alternative to the fried chicken offerings KFC is most known for. That’s partly what makes this item so strange, considering it’s a departure from what KFC is generally well known for.
9 Taco Bell: Beefy Fritos Burrito
Taco Bell seems to have a love affair with putting chips in their burritos and tacos. It’s worked for them before, so it makes sense they’d experiment with new items. The Beefy Fritos Burrito was one such attempt, albeit that didn’t quite reach the same levels as the Doritos Locos Tacos. According to Brand Eating, they only cost $1 and came with all the usual burrito ingredients: beans, rice, nacho sauce and, of course, Fritos. It makes us wonder whether the Fritos were the run-of-the-mill original kind or the Flamin’ Hot Fritos. Either way, it’s odd biting into a Fritos while trying to enjoy a burrito.
8 KFC: In-Flight Kentucky Fried Chicken
Even air travelers can’t escape Kentucky Fried Chicken. According to Metro, Japan Airlines offers KFC food on some flights. Packed together in a colorful box is a smorgasbord of KFC food items. There are small pieces of chicken—more like a sampling—plus several sides. One of them is a bite or two of coleslaw and a flatbread. That’s right, a flatbread, as opposed to their familiar biscuits in the States. There also appears in photos to be a small bit of iceberg lettuce. Although it’s cool to see KFC offering in-flight food, this is more of a sampling than it is a meal.
7 Taco Bell: Forbidden Bowl
Behold a burrito bowl like no other. If it doesn’t sound familiar, it may have something to do with being “forbidden”—or else that it was only available for a limited time. According to People, the Forbidden Bowl was available to customers in Orange County, California in 2018. Starting at $3.49, customers were lucky to eat a combination of black rice, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and a special sauce. It may be an attempt to be healthy, as is the norm for bowls, though conscious eaters may not buy it. With the item only being available for a brief window of time, Taco Bell proved once again they're good with naming their food.
6 KFC: Fish Twister
KFC isn’t known for having many fish items on their menu, but this one upends established notions. Not only is the Fish Twister odd for KFC, but it’s also an odd menu item in general. Metro reports that it’s comprised of a fish fillet, cucumber, dill sauce, and cheese all wrapped up in what looks like a flour tortilla. KFC has done wraps before, but this one's unlike any they’ve made in in the past. The name is appropriate, too, considering it might even twist stomachs. Then again, fish and fast food never seemed like a great mix to begin with anyways.
5 Taco Bell: Double Chalupa
The Double Chalupa saves customers the hassle of buying two Chalupas. Alternatively, they can go with a Double Chalupa, which People reports packs in all the fixings of a Chalupa, except twice as much. That means there’s twice the number of veggies, beef, and cheese. How does Taco Bell solve the dilemma of cramming all this into a single-sized Chalupa shell? Easy. They make the shell wider in order to accommodate all this excessive food. The only problem that befalls customers is being able to fit it all into a mouthful. At least they put it in a “limited edition” container.
4 Taco Bell: Bacon Cheddar Gordita Crunch
Those familiar with Taco Bell have more than likely ordered—or at least know of—a Gordita. It’s one of the chain’s longstanding staple offerings. A Gordita is a hard taco with a pita-like flatbread layer around the outside. The Bacon Cheddar Gordita Crunch is exactly what it sounds like, with bacon bits lining the melted cheese between the hard shell and the pita wrap. It’s an odd pairing that’s supposed to sound good but comes across like a strange blending of lunch and breakfast leftovers. From actual photos, it doesn’t even look like there are many pieces of bacon in it either.
3 KFC: Corn and Philly Chicken Sandwich
It seems like KFC is always switching out their sandwiches. Here’s one that’s different from most of what they offer. The Corn and Philly Chicken Sandwich has the usual two buns and fried chicken but with a twist. As per Food Beast, the inside of the sandwich is full of creamed corn and cream cheese. So, where exactly does the “Philly” in Corn and Philly Chicken Sandwich come in? It might disappoint, but it’s all due to the cream cheese being Philadelphia brand. The same source notes it’s available in Brazil. The name is strange, but the sandwich itself may be worth trying once.
2 KFC: Nacho Box
KFC is never close-minded when it comes to introducing new foods on their menu. Many times, though, they’re even will to include food that’s a vast departure from their typical offerings. Look no further than the Nacho Box launched in KFC Australia for proof. Business Insider reports that it’s simply tortilla chips with salsa and some popcorn chicken thrown in. As if that wasn’t enough already, it gets worse. According to the same source, there were reports that some of the early batches contained moldy cheese. If it didn’t sound good at first, that only solidifies why we shouldn't be interested in this.
1 Taco Bell: Cheetos Burrito
The public is already well familiar with the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco. That menu item proves Taco Bell is capable of integrating established chip brands into a tortilla. That isn't always the case, though, for the popular Tex-Mex food chain. According to E! Online, they released a Cheetos Burrito. Exactly as it sounds, the Burrito had the usual rice and beef with Cheetos sprinkled throughout. It isn’t a totally farfetched combination, considering the Cheetos are cheese flavored. It’s a weird ingredient to stuff in burritos, though. The same source notes that they sold it for only $1, which makes it tempting even for those turned off by it.