KFC Cheats Chinese Customers Out of Sixth Edge, Claims Sichuan Food Originated in Mexico.

[UPDATE 11/19 – I’ve contacted Yum, Inc., with a request for an interview – or just a paragraph – that might illuminate why the hexagon was reduced to a pentagon. I’ll update if and when I receive a response.]

This is a very rapid follow-up to my earlier post reviewing KFC China’s newly introduced Tender Beef Pentagon. Thanks to a very generous tip (via comment) from Nanjing’Ed, the origins of this mysterious Pentagon are now revealed. It is, in fact, little more than a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme … minus an edge.

Below, and to the left: a six-sided Crunchwrap Supreme (photo from Taco Bell, via Fast Food News). To the right: the Tender Beef Pentagon (photo from lunch).

You can read my, er, review of the Tender Beef Pentagon here, as well as a description of the interior (and exclusive Shanghai Scrap photos of said interior). For now, suffice it to say that – minus the cheese – the Tender Beef Pentagon is basically identical to a Crunchwrap (including the – until now – inexplicable tostada in the middle).

A couple of final thoughts:

1. What possible reason could there be for eliminating one edge from the Crunchwrap? Americans deserve hexagons and Chinese only get pentagons? The nerve. Seriously, though: I’d really love to know the reasoning behind reducing this item by an edge, and I’m willing to buy a real Mexican meal for the first person who can provide a reason, and proof (via comment section or contact form).

2. KFC is trying to pass off warmed-over Mexican food as Sichuan cuisine. Perilous strategy, if you ask me.

11 comments

  1. I kind of prefer it when you break scrap kidnappings. This just doesn’t seem to rise to that level. Aren’t you on deadline, anyway?

  2. Oh I don’t know. Shanghai Scrap has been dour these last weeks. A burrito freakout is a nice change of pace.

  3. When enclosed in a circle, a pentagon has less area than a hexagon, in 3 dimensions it’d have less volume but look roughly similar.

    So I’d say: a pentagon provides smaller portions, in a similar vein to McDonalds recently decreasing the number of Chicken nuggets in a box from 6 to 5. Saving ingredients, saving money.

  4. re: Alex
    Hmmm, I’d buy that. Even though I’m no geomotrist (if that is in fact a real word) it makes sense, and having had both, the KFC one seems smaller, though that could be due to tortilla size. Also, the Taco Bell one has a tostada shell inside it (i.e. round, flat taco shell) instead of a chip, so maybe that has something to do with shape decisions. Anyways, I’ll soon be on business trip as well and I’ll be sure to hit Taco Bell to further research 🙂

  5. Alex – That seems reasonable. Let me know when you’re next in Shangahi.

    J – Yeah. Theoretically, there should only be one. But I liked my home-brewed jpg. of the hexagon and the pentagon so much that it seemed a waste to keep it below the fold of a post. It demanded its own.

  6. i have long been a fan of KFC’s mexican and peking duck wraps with the mexican one being an early intro of Taco Bell type tastes to KFC. Definitely have to go and try out this new Pentagon though… thanks for the heads up Adam.

    speculation on 5 vs. 6 sides:
    less ingredients?
    easier to assemble?
    5 stars on the flag – pissing on the DC Pentagon?
    magic numbers?

  7. My wife ordered that pentagon thingy at the KFC immediately west of Madian Qiao on the north 3rd ring road in Beijing last night. I explained to her what I’d read here and asked what she thought. She said it was definitely Sichuan-flavoured and very 麻辣. So there you go: Either Mexicans are secretly Sichuanese, or Sichuanese are secretly Mexican. Or perhaps the fact that corn, potatoes, what us Kiwis call kumara and the rest of you call sweet potato, peanuts and chilli peppers all originated in the Americas… I dunno where I’m going with this.

  8. I think they chose a pentagon as opposed to a hexagon for marketing the name of the dish. 五方 means five directions, namely east 东, south 南, west 西, north 北 and middle 中. Probably catchier for the average Chinese consumer.

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