Photo: Khaled Kassem / Alamy
Nothing says Christmas like a monster bucket of KFC -- if you're in Tokyo, that is.
In what may be one of the most bizarre cases of lost in translation, it turns out that the Japanese love the Colonel's secret recipe come yuletide. They love it so much, in fact, that they line up for blocks in order to nab one of KFC's Christmas Party Barrels or reserve their finger-lickin' good favorites two months in advance.
"Japan is well known for taking foreign products and ideas and adapting them to suit domestic taste, and Christmas is no exception. A highly commercialized and non-religious affair, lots of money is spent annually on decorations, dinners and gifts," writes the Financial Times, which credits an ad campaign in the 1970s for placing KFC at the center of the Japanese holiday table.
The Christmas Party Barrel includes eight pieces of chicken (either all fried or half seasoned with garlic and soy), a Caesar salad and a chocolate-mousse cake on a decorative plate, all for the equivalent of about $46.
But this year, according to the Brand Eating blog, McDonald's is trying to get in on the act, offering its own version of the "traditional" Japanese Christmas chicken dinner for half the price. The not-so-festively named iCon'BOX is filled with three different types of McDonald's fried chicken. There are Chicken McNuggets, Juicy Chicken Selects, and Shaka Shaka Chicken, which apparently is available only in Japan and involves some sort of packaged seasoning in which you "shaka shaka" (a.k.a. "shake") your order of deep-fried white meat.
So while you're slaving over the Christmas ham and potato gratin this year, just think how different the holiday would be if your in-laws would just settle for some deep-fried chicken in a bucket, along with a Mega order of fries.