On August 22, KFC China reintroduced xiaolongbao to the breakfast menu at more than 7,000 of its outlets in select Chinese regions, including Beijing, Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Xi’an, and Harbin, among others.
Xiaolongbao is a type of Chinese soup dumpling that originated in the city of Changzhou, near Shanghai, and generally contains pork and an oh-so-delicious broth. Regional varieties of the steamed dumpling are accessible across the country, but most know and love the version from the Yangtze River Delta.
Fast food fanatics in China will likely remember that KFC previously introduced the celebrated soup dumpling to its menus in some Chinese cities back in the spring of 2021. The promotion was for a limited time only.
The relaunch has gone viral on the Chinese internet, and a related hashtag had gained almost 60 million views on the microblogging platform Weibo at the time of writing. Pictures of KFC’s xiaolongbao have circulated on Chinese social media, and while some netizens are turning up their noses at the dumplings, others are excited to sample the dish for themselves.
Interestingly, Shanghai has been excluded from the relaunch. We assume that since the region already boasts some of the best xiaolongbao specialists in the country, the American fast food chain dares not invite conflict. As one Weibo user acutely observed, “It’s not available in Shanghai. Is it because the company is afraid that consumers in Shanghai will find out the food is not authentic?”
That being said, KFC’s previous marketing strategies have included launching new dishes inspired by regional cuisines. For example, in January 2021, the company launched hot and dry noodles, a famous breakfast food from Wuhan, in the dish’s city of origin.
Similarly, when the fast food chain started serving xiaolongbao in May 2021, the product was first served in East China’s Zhejiang province. Zhejiang neighbors Shanghai and is also famous for mouthwatering soup dumplings.
As you can see, KFC China often introduces exclusive items inspired by regional Chinese dishes to cater to its domestic customer base. Many Chinese consumers, who might not be as accustomed to chowing down on breakfast sandwiches, still turn to the comforting flavors of their childhood, even at Western fast food chains.
“KFC breakfast has been saving my life,” reads a Weibo user’s caption beneath a picture of KFC’s breakfast offerings.
All images via Weibo
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