Welcome to Haute-N-Ready, in which John Locanthi, Willamette Week’s trencherman of leisure, tastes the hastily made, modestly priced food of the common man.
Pommes frites—or french fries, to use the parlance of our times—are an unquestioned part of every fast food meal. Be they in the standard julienne style, curly, criss cut or jo-joed, there is simply no avoiding them. We find ourselves locked into debates about which restaurant makes them best. I’ve even borne witness to one blathering idiot
discuss which fries were the best in a single meal offering. But we never seem to ask the fundamental question of why. Why does the already rotund average American need an additional 200+ calories of salty, deep-fried and relatively flavorless potatoes to accompany his or her 500 calorie sandwich?
Burger King challenged the existing social order with the introduction of BK Chicken Fries in 2005. Like most revolutionary ideas, this one initially failed and was discontinued stateside in 2012. But the chicken fries are back, ladies and gentlemen, and Burger King has replaced the ghastly, grungy aesthetic
of its prior incarnation with the imagery of a true revolution.
One might balk at the idea of a global, multibillion dollar corporation co-opting the imagery of a proletariat revolution against the bourgeoisie, but that misses the point. Surely, there is nothing revolutionary about battering processed chicken meat and tossing it in the deep fryer. And you cannot replace french fries with chicken fries in your combo meal as easily as onion rings. Consider this an incremental revolution against the status quo.The chicken fries themselves bring back fond memories of the chicken tenders Burger King sold in my youth. The batter is far and away superior to that of the McNuggets sold by the King’s wealthier, more depraved competitor, McDonald’s. The change from finger to fry helps maximize the batter to low quality meat ratio. In an effort to make a gimmick to compete with McDonald’s Chicken Selects (may they rest in peace), Burger King may well crafted the perfect bottom barrel deep-fried chicken offering. Or at least, a far superior fry.
The only question remaining is why they aren’t selling them in lieu of french fries in value meals.
According to the Burger King website, a side order of fries contains 410 calories. While nutritional information for BK Chicken Fries is not readily available—likely due to the recent reintroduction—a nine-piece order contains 390 calories according to a third party source. The former contains less sodium, along with nearly twice the carbohydrates and less than a fourth the protein. The only reason not to order your whopper a la carte with chicken fries and a fountain drink. (I don’t need to tell you that the price will still be lower than a burger at a non-fast food chain.)
So replace those wretched, soggy, deep-fried julienne potatoes with some deep-fried julienne chicken, I say. You won’t regret it. While the Bolsheviks and Cuba weren't in the American interest, this cause truly is. ¡Viva la revolución!