Hungry Lion, KFC, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa
  • Popeyes, the massive US chicken fast-food outlet, has been in South Africa for two years.
  • We wanted to see how it stacks up against KFC and Hungry Lion.
  • Our taste test revealed a clear winner.

Popeyes, the largest chicken fast-food outlet in the US after KFC, entered the South African market two years ago.

But since opening its flagship store in Sandton City in 2017, it has been flying somewhat under the radar.

We were curious to see how it stacks up to the local Shoprite-owned heavyweight Hungry Lion and the biggest fast-food seller in SA, KFC.

Hungry Lion, KFC, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

Our tasting team rated the chicken on taste, crispiness and presentation.

Popeyes (4 pieces - R52.90).

Hungry Lion, KFC, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

First off, the coating of the chicken threw us - it was like a washed-out version of Hungry Lion and KFC. It was also not as golden and crispy, adding to the blandness that was to come.

KFC, Hungry Lion, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

"It tastes like zinger wings without the spices," one taster noted. The team agreed that the chicken was generally lacking in flavour.

The crust was dry and chewy, which took away from the tenderness of the chicken.

"It's like I attempted to make it myself, with not enough oil," another taster added.

Verdict

Dry and lacking in flavour - more seasoning please.


Hungry Lion (4 piece - R57.90)

Hungry Lion, KFC, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

The chicken from Hungry Lion was very tender and well cooked - but way, way too salty.

"They need to calm down on the seasoning," was the general consensus.

However, it did have more flavour than Popeyes.

Hungry Lion could have given KFC a run for its money on its crispness, but, alas, the heavy-handed seasoning was its downfall.

KFC, Hungry Lion, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

Verdict:

A bit too salty.


KFC - (3 piece with chips - R44.90)

Hungry Lion, KFC, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

The KFC chicken pieces were  the most succulent of the three. The seasoning was just right.

"You can tell they were not in a hurry when making this," one taster noted. 

The KFC pieces had an even spread of spices and the right kind of crunch. 

Hungry Lion, KFC, Popeyes Chicken
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

As far as our tasters were concerned, KFC was clearly ahead of the chicken pack.

Our testers did acknowledge, though, that 40 years of experience with South African palates may have been an advantage for KFC, who serve over 20 million local customers a month.

Verdict:

Prepared just right for our liking.

Popeye Chicken, Hungry Lion, kfc
Bombi Mavundza/Business Insider South Africa

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