I used to be a big fan of KFC Popcorn Chicken. I’ve been hunting for a frozen alternative ever since the KFC quality went dramatically downhill. I’ve tried several frozen versions, but like most frozen, breaded chicken, they left much to be desired. I don’t know what these products have against flavour, but time after time I found myself choking down a bland, dry meal.
Costco has a way of inspiring purchases through their deals so I decided to try one more popcorn chicken product. The first difference I noticed was they were made with raw chicken, unlike the precooked options. Had I noticed that before I bought it I probably wouldn’t have, but I wasn’t about to throw it out.
What a surprise I got! The breading is infused with tasty spices, garlic and onion powder, along with a healthy dose of white pepper that makes them almost too hot. Those who don’t care for pepper heat will enjoy them more as they cool, since this seems to tame the pepper. Kids may object to the pepper too, unfortunately.
[Updated Update] I don’t think I’ve ever known a food product to change as often as this one. Most recently, the coating was changed to the same recipe they use on their chicken strips. Nothing at all exceptional about it, I’m afraid. Maybe they intend to make this one for those who prefer it that way (kids?) and other versions with more flavour. In the meantime, I’m back on the hunt for popcorn chicken that excites my tastebuds the way KFC used to. [End Updated Update]
[Update] Unfortunately, the batter seasoning in Hampton House Popcorn Chicken was changed to a more bland coating. Anyone who didn’t like the pepper will be happy since it’s all but disappeared. They’re still good, but disappointingly average. I won’t go out of my way to buy them in the future, but I’m sure I’ll purchase them occasionally for something different.
My suggestion for Costco is to introduce a second flavour of popcorn chicken. Boost the flavour of their current recipe, but also offer a spicy version. Or why not have a barbecue version? Hot chicken wings are wildly popular and I haven’t seen any other brand doing barbecue popcorn chicken, so it sounds like a wise business decision to me. [End Update]
It’s not exactly a health food, but it could be dressed up as one with a healthy dip and veggies or side salad… or limit it to a treat. They work well as Hors d’oeuvres too.
Hampton House Frozen Popcorn Chicken
Hampton House Popcorn Chicken
Packaged by JD-SWEID Foods
Langley, British Columbia
Purchased from: Costco, Surrey, British Columbia
Company Claims: “Made with white meat, trans fat free and low in saturated fat.”
Ingredients: Chicken Meat, water, soy protein concentrate, salt and white pepper. Batter ingredients: Water, corn starch, wheat flour, yellow corn flour, salt, baking powder, soybean shortening, defatted soy flour, milk ingredients, dried egg white, guar gum, toasted wheat crumbs, spices, onion powder and garlic powder. Browned in vegetable oil.
Cooking Instructions: Bake for 20 minutes at 200C (400F), flipping halfway through cooking. We prefer to bake ours about 10 minutes longer. You can also deep fry them in 3.5 minutes.
Caution: Raw chicken – wash hands thoroughly after handling. Internal temperature should reach 74C.
Nutrition facts for approximately 15 pieces (100g):
Fat 14g (1.5g saturated)
Carbohydrates 17g (2g from fibre, 4g from sugars)
Calcium 2% daily value
Iron 10% daily value