Roadtest: Is KFC's Red Hot & Crispy Chicken as Spicy as It Looks?

It's said to be KFC's hottest chicken yet.

PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

( KFC recently released what they call their "hottest chicken yet": the Red Hot & Crispy series, which comes in three levels (essentially two, in that the first level is the Hot & Crispy Chicken that's already on KFC's regular menu). As lovers of heat and lovers of KFC, it was a no-brainer that we had to try this out. But does it live up to its "red hot and crispy" name?

As lovers of heat ourselves, we just had to try these chickens out.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

Price and availability: An one-piece ala carte meal goes for P99, while a two-piece ala carte meal goes for P186both options come with chicken, gravy, and steamed rice. You can also get a meal with an additional drink (P109/one piece chicken, P207/two pieces chicken), or with additional mushroom soup and a drink (P135/one piece chicken, P217/two pieces chicken).

Moreover, you can get a Red Hot & Crispy bucket meal for three (P611): The set has three pieces Red Hot & Spicy Chicken, three pieces regular KFC chicken, and servings of coleslaw, rice, and regular drinks for three. You can also get a version of the said bucket meal for four, with four pieces each of the same components for P786. 

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Best for: Those looking for a spicier version of KFC's Hot and Crispy chicken, or casual lovers of spicy food.

Best with: The chicken is savory enough that it can stand to go without gravy, but it sure doesn't hurt to have them together anyway.

The Level 2 chicken is on the mild-tasting side.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

Tastes like: The Level 2 is basically a slightly hotter Hot and Crispy Chicken. The dominant taste is still the salty, umami profile of KFC's chicken, but with heat kicking in at the end. The spiciness doesn't hit you full-on; it's more akin to the echo when you shout in the middle of an empty auditorium.

Level 3 is spicier, but not unbearably so.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

The Level 3 has what seems to be an additional dusting of a bright-orange powder, which starts out slightly sweet but progressively delivers more heat and a chili-like fruitiness. It's still not unbearably spicy, and the saltiness of the meat underneath can even overpower from the heat, but it does satisfy our cravings for spicy food.

Manage your expectations: We'll admit we were a tad disappointed, in that the promotional posters (and the bright red hue of the chicken itself, in both levels) made us expect them to be much hotter and spicier than they actually were. While casual spicy lovers may find them to be, well, okay, hardcore chiliheads will likely be disappointed. Still, the mildness isn't necessarily a bad thing—it makes these chickens easier to finish without your tongue going numb.


Yay or nay: We wish these chickens were spicier, but the Level 3 version at least delivers a just-right amount of heat—and it is for this reason we rate it a yay.

For orders, call 8887-8888 or download the KFC PH app for Android or iOS. You can also visit KFC's website, or order through GrabFood or Foodpanda. For more information, check out KFC's Facebook page.

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