Review: Magnolia Blossom Chicken from Popeyes
Innovation in fried chicken doesn’t stretch too far beyond flavors and way its presented. With new Magnolia Blossom Chicken from Popeyes, we are treated to subtle changes to make the product worthy of being called “new”, but is it new enough to be worthy of a buy? Let’s review.
The cut of the chicken isn’t new to Popeyes as they’ve given us “pullable and dippable” products in recent years (see Dip’n Chick’n and Rip’n Chick’n). With new Magnolia Blossom Chicken, the all-white chicken breast is marinated with a blend of orange flavors and spices and is cut in a way to resemble the petals of the Louisiana state flower. The idea is simply pluck the chicken petals to dip into the new Spicy Orange dipping sauce. Mine didn’t turn out too convincing looking, but it served its purpose.Even though my particular piece of chicken didn’t exactly end up resembling a fried chicken magnolia blossom like the promo images, I still appreciate that Popeyes pays attention to Louisiana heritage with their new products. They always seem to incorporate specific peppers, spices, flavors, and in this case the state flower. The scent of a magnolia blossom can be described as citrusy and sweet and the marinade for Magnolia Blossom Chicken attempts to follow that idea. I found the flavor of the breading to be light on the sweetness and citrus, but I’d have to say citrus is a bit more obvious and the traditional Popeyes chicken flavor still comes through. Admittedly, I was searching for the sweet, summery orange flavors in the chicken and still hit me as too mellow to be a standout quality. Something that I noticed that was a little different from what I’m used to with Popeyes chicken is that the breading was light and airy like Japanese tempura. The texture of the breading was a plus because of this tempura-like quality, but it ended up separating itself from the chicken too much in some spots and I found it resulted in a couple of extra chewy and dried out chicken morsels. After sampling the chicken on its own, I dove into the Spicy Orange dipping sauce to complete the experience.
I’ve got to say, cut your chicken to resemble a blossomed flower and marinate it with sweet, citrus all you want, the Spicy Orange dipping sauce ends up carrying Magnolia Blossom Chicken. The sauce is reminiscent of the orange sauce you get at any Chinese takeout to smother your egg rolls in, but with a peppery kick to it. Its sweet, not too spicy, and quite syrupy. There’s a good amount of honey-sweet, citrusy orange flavor blended with the heat and it made for an interesting new Popeyes chicken experience. I only wish the sauce wasn’t so runny.
At a price of $3.99, Magnolia Blossom Chicken is priced beyond fair. You get a hearty portion of chicken, plus a pretty solid dipping sauce, plus a side and biscuit. There’s no drink included for $3.99, but that rarely matters to me.
While new Magnolia Blossom Chicken doesn’t really standout from a flavor perspective on its own, the new Spicy Orange sauce complements the meal to save it. I think the product overall falls short from most Popeyes LTO’s, but the Popeyes track record is so solid that I have no choice to put it on a pedestal. This isn’t one of their best, but definitely worth a curious taste at $3.99.
Pros: Great value. Flavor of the Spicy Orange dipping sauce. Tempura-like chicken crust.
Cons: Sweet, citrus marinade of the chicken doesn't stand out enough on its own to be memorable. Consistency of the Spicy Orange dipping sauce is too runny. A couple of extra chewy chicken pieces.
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Overall GrubGrade: 6.75/10
More Info: popeyes.com