12 Days of Christmas in Japan #3: Kentucky Fried Christmas
See all posts in this series via the '12days' tag.
In Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken is Christmas.
It feels like it's always been this way.
The first Japanese 'Kentucky Fried Christmas' ad was broadcast in the 1970s. Clever marketing has kept KFC top of the tinsel-covered tree here for generations.
As with the Christmas cakes, if you want to chow down on chicken after opening your presents you've got to order in advance. WAY in advance.
Not only that, you have to collect at the store you ordered from. Not only THAT, you have to time your collection down to the hour.
When I passed by my local KFC on December 1st, all hourly slots for the 24th and 25th were booked up. The 22nd was miraculously empty, left for those poor sods who have to sadly consume their chicken before it's even Christmas Eve.
The variety party barrel includes 4 bits of original chicken and 5 tenders. It comes with a 'Christmas salad' (a Caesar salad with croutons), a chocolate ganache cake, and a commemorative plate.
Yours for 4,090 yen, which at the current rate is £28-ish. Merry Christmas!
Such is the popularity of a KFChristmas that this bucket isn't even a seasonal deal. It's 'suuryou gentei' (数量限定) - 'while stocks last'.
The 'deluxe' party barrel (not shown) swaps the choco cake out for a white tiramisu. And replaces the tenders with half a roast chicken, stuffed with paella-style rice. Yum?
Other companies are trying their best to get in on the Christmas chicken act. Failing, but trying their best.
First up, Family Mart. Famima is known for its fried chicken year-round anyway. They tend not to do anything special with it for Christmas. The website (Japanese only) images say it all. No overt use of special festive packaging. No extras, like plates and salads. Just chicken.
Japan is very much an 'if it ain't broke' world in some ways.
And in other ways, it's 'fix it fix it fix it' all the damn time.
The burger chain Lotteria is doing 'deco' chicken (in Japanese only). Why not put a little paper Santa hat and beard on your fried wings? They've also got tiny boxes of Christmas chicken up until the 22nd, with 8 pieces for 2,000 yen.
No wonder Colonel Sanders looks so happy. When it comes to Japanese Christmas dinners, KFC is basically untouchable.