The Chain Gang

Fast Food Chains, American Eaters, Flipp’n for Snack-Sized Chick’n

Popeye's Rip'n Chick'n
Popeye’s Rip’n Chick’n Photo: Popeye’s via Facebok

We’ve reached a proud pinnacle in U.S. culture in which no greasy fast-food item goes unmerged with an equally bad-for-you snack. Getting the jump on Burger King’s ballyhooed bacon sundae, Popeyes made a big splash last year with a new form of fried chicken that quickly turned into the chain’s best-selling, limited-time item. This particular poultry product comes in the scoopable shape of a chip, paired with dipping sauces, and is known by the just-barely-literate name, “Dip’n Chick’n.” The Wall Street Journal reports that this type of pint-sized menu monster is just the tip of the beak, too, as the edible genre of “ip’ns,” easy-to-eat-on-the-go snacks and sauces sized to your car’s drink holder, get set to break through at fast-food restaurants nationwide, following the enterprising example set by Popeyes’ dippable chicken-chip.

Meant to suit America’s ever-increasing drive-thru diet (apparently 17 percent of restaurant meals take place in cars, which we’re guessing could be 71 percent if you live in L.A.), Popeye’s followed up with something similar called “Rip’n Chick’n,” while McDonald’s tore into the genre with “Chicken McBites,” Whataburger just sprang “Whatachick’n Bites” on its customers, White Castle has chicken rings, and KFC is promot’n its own popcorn chicken. Basically, the chains are falling all over themselves trying to work chicken (or maybe something akin to the bird that must legally be shortened to “chick’n”) into strange snack-sized shapes and people are eating up the time-sensitive offerings.

Of course, even if you’re not in the chicken business, you still want in on this snack-sized frenzy, as Pizza Hut proves with a disturbing new handheld sandwich called a “P’Zolo,” a follow-up to its two-foot-long pizza “that could be torn off and dipped” into a sauce, because the old method of moisturizing your slice with a cup of ranch was obviously way too much like actual exercise. Of course, showing off its recent embrace of total disillusionment, McDonald’s acts all hoity-toity when it draws the line at beef, as a spokesperson snorts, “I’m not sure there is a form that ever feels like it should fit in your hand.” To which we reply: Dude, beef jerky.

Anyway, whether or not chicken should even be shaped into unnatural poses is irrelevant. America has made clear that it demands its food fried and dippable.

What Tastes Like Chicken But Dips Like Chips? [WSJ]
Fried Chicken Chips Combine America’s Three Greatest Passions [Gawker]

Fast Food Chains, American Eaters, Flipp’n for Snack-Sized Chick’n