Top 10 Ways KFC in Japan is different from KFC in the US

Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan is actually fairly similar to the KFC in the states. A few differences do exist however:

KFC in a Japanese Shopping Mall
  1. Everything is Original Recipe, they've not heard of "Extra Crispy".

  2. They offer sesame and soy sauce flavor fried chicken.

  3. KFC Japan offeres a panko fried salmon sandwich. Odd, but true.

  4. There are only medium and small sized drinks (called "S Size" or "M Size" as is common in all Japanese fast food restaurants). Large size drinks generally do not exist in Japan, be it KFC or anywhere else.

  5. The meat is mostly dark meat chicken. There is a bit of white meat chicken in Japan's KFCs, but not much. The Japanese are not at all fond of white meat chicken (it's one of the few things that's cheap in the grocery store). Pretty much all chicken dishes in Japan (with the exception of "sasami served as raw chicken sashimi") are made from dark meat.

  6. As with McDonalds in Japan, the customer service here is leaps and bounds ahead of that in the US

  7. Unlike most Japanese fast food, KFC in Japan is a lot more expensive. A special "value set" of six pieces dark meat chicken and three small orders of fries was ~$17.00 USD last time I was there. 2014 UPDATE: i recently went to KFC and ordered a 10 piece, two large fries, four biscuits and four small coleslaws. The bill was over $43 bucks and that was without any drinks.

  8. Some KFC Japan outlets serve a breakfast menu with egg sandwiches and the like.

  9. Yuzu dry spiced fried chicken (Yuzu is a citrus fruit common in Japan, sort of like a cross between a lemon and a lime).

  10. The packaging of the actual chicken is much improved with special ribbed bottom boxes that stop the chicken from swimming in it's own oil during transit.

During your travels in Japan, stop by KFC and compare for yourself, just remember to either bring lots of cash or eat some ramen or udon noodles first to fill you up before you go.

In 1981, there was actually a 28 minute documentary made about KFC's (then still known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) foray into Japanese culture called "The Colonel Comes to Japan". I've never seen the film and it seems to be hard to come by, but I would love to hear from anyone who has any info it.

A Google search shows references to a 16mm film copy of it in the University of Washington's Educational Media Collection. The University of Chicago's East Asian Film Library also seems to have a copy (VHS at that). If you're a student at either of these places, check it out and dub me a copy.

Links to university library copies of "The Colonel Comes to Japan"

University of Washinton EMC: The Colonel Comes to Japan

East Asian Film Library: The Colonel Comes to Japan