#FastFoodFriday: Popeye’s Thai Pop Chicken Review: It’s Like Eating Muruku with Curry Sauce

Hunger is the best seasoning.

I have to say that because I was in a state of starvation when reviewing the food. This means that the review is a little more biased.

And I blame my fat boss and Grab for that.

Grab, Y u do dis

In a failed petition to change #FastFoodFridays to #FatFoodFridays because the idea is making me, my fat boss, and everybody else fat, the boss instead decided to introduce the idea of reviewing Popeye’s new Thai Pop Chicken.

Image: Popeye’s Facebook

To be honest, I was pretty excited. Who doesn’t love chicken? #FriedChickenFridays suddenly sounds like a good idea, and I decided to hold the petition off again.

Except, in the continuation of Grab problems from our Grab Promo code post, Grab didn’t deliver the food properly. By properly, I mean the food just didn’t arrive and it was registered as “Delivered” on the app.

So everybody was just hangry, looking at each other wanting to riot.

Image: Know Your Meme

(Sorry that the situation isn’t quite in the spirit of Ramadan. Disclaimer: the scenario is mostly a work of fiction. )

And when you’re hungry with no food, the only solution is to look at food.

So I equipped myself with all the knowledge of Khao Soi needed.

What is Khao Soi

In the words of Popeye’s, they want us to “Brace your taste buds as we introduce the flavours of Khao Soi, a local Thai street dish, through our new Thai Pop Chicken!”

This is Khao Soi:

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Huh, what does this got to do with Fried Chicken?

Apparently, nothing, because I decided to watch a recipe, pretending to be cooking and imagining the smell while a second Grab order is in process.

Khao Soi is a curry noodle soup dish topped with crispy fried noodles. Khao means Rice, and Soi means julienne in Thai, and that is because the dish originally used rice noodles, cut into julienne shapes. Later on they started to use fresh egg noodles.

To top that all off, mustard greens, dried chilis, shallots and lime juice are added to taste. And then you eat it however you want.

So, basically the Thai version of the Sheng Mian you see in Tze Char stalls, but mixed with Curry Chicken Noodles. Got it.

The dish is primarily a noodle soup dish more than a curry dish, so the curry soup isn’t very thick. I learnt as I watched Mark Wiens.

Image: Mark Wiens

And of course, at this point Mark Wiens is almost fainting from hunger as Mark Wiens described the “extremely soothing, rich, nutty broth with an undertone of spices”, all the while tilting his head, eyeballs widened, the signature pose when the food is good.

Needless to say, I was ready for fried chicken.

So… The food arrived then

Oh no, this is going to anger some Thais, isn’t it?

There was an obvious layer of fried noodles, and then a generous sprinkling of dried herbs and what looks like sugar.

The sauce is strategically laced around the chicken, though it isn’t what I would call sufficient or generous.

The Taste

Biting into the chicken with the curry sauce, it starts off sweet, which I assume is the doing of the sugar. Then a light sour hits the back of my tongue, and the sweetness of small red chilis finished the taste.

The sweet lingers, without being too spicy, but after a while, the heat becomes more and more obvious. It was like, eating a mix of McDonald’s curry sauce mixed with Thai curry.

Because of the noodles, there was a contrasting double crunch and crisp of a lighter, airy crunch from the noodles, then the fattier, oilier and crispier skin.

But I was confused since this isn’t quite like Sheng Mian. Maybe it’s the herb, maybe it’s the curry. It’s like Muruku. You know, the thin long thing you see in the snack packets.

Image: Koh Chong Ho

So at this point, I’m really confused and still hungry, because it probably doesn’t taste like Khao Soi, and the taste of fried chicken + McDonald’s curry sauce + muruku + a hint of Thai curry doesn’t sound too appetising.

Maybe because I’m still thinking about the Khao Soi videos, but the weird combination actually works.

Final Verdict

In my still hungry state, I’m ready to give it a 4/5. But time to rationalise this again. Do I really want to spend a little extra for them to put a small amount of curry sauce and muruku then call it Thai chicken?

3.75/5 sounds reasonable. If nothing else, at least for making me really want to eat Khao Soi.