The Ultimate Zongzi Taste-Off: Starbucks vs. KFC vs. 7-11

By Emersyn Lyon and María Manrique, May 27, 2017

0 0

Dragon Boat Festival is here, and just like any other Chinese holiday, there are special foods associated with the festivities.

The most popular snack for Duanwujie is zongzi, a triangular glutinous rice dumpling made with different types of fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Popular fillings range from savory to sweet, and can include egg yolk, meat, kidney beans and jujubes. (Read more about the origins of zongzi here).

These days, the creative geniuses at fast food chains and convenience stores across China have started stocking their shelves with their own takes on these festive dumplings. Intrepid That's foodies Emersyn Lyon and María Manrique tested out some of the more intersting variations from KFC, 7-11 and Starbucks so you don't have to. (You're welcome).

Which ones were the best? And which ones totally flopped? You might be surprised by their results...

1. KFC

KFC Zongzi

This zongzi had the general aroma of your local KFC joint (don't lie — you know exactly what we're talking about) and looked like its 'best before' date was a few dynasties ago. It was plucked from inside a heater oven and then plopped down right before us. The ready-to-eat dumpling was warm and stuffed with The Colonel's special pork filling:

KFC Zongzi

Price: RMB8
Smells like: Walking into a KFC restaurant
Tastes like: Seven herbs and spices
Rating (out of ten): 4/10 (Emersyn), 4/10 (Maria)
Comments: "It's not that bad but it looks hella sketchy." "I would not buy it again."

2. 7-11

7-11 Zongzi

The 7-11 zongzi was composed of fermented bean sauce, ginger, scallion and some weird combination of pork and crawfish. From the looks of it, we coudn't quite tell what was inside this dumpling, so we settled on the description of 'mystery meat.' After heating the zongzi up in the microwave for 20 seconds, the mystery meat odors could be smelled throughout the entire That's Shanghai office. Unwrapping the dumpling felt a bit like unraveling a mummy, and as we took a bite into the snack we were overwhelmed by the profuse taste of MSG. 

7-11 Dumpling

Price: RMB15
Smells like: "Those strong smelling Chinese sausauges that are just like 'no.'"
Tastes like: Processed meat
Rating (out of ten): 1/10 (Emersyn), 1/10 (Maria)
Comments: "Why is the expensive one the worst one?!" "I wish I could give this a -10"

3. Starbucks

Starbucks Zongzi

The final—and most highly anticipated— of the zongzi trio was by far the most presentable. The bamboo leaf wrapping appeared fresh and the teabag-shaped zongzi was packaged neatly inside. Starbucks offers an array of flavors from mango to peach to coffee, all of which are recommended to be eaten chilled. We went for the coffee one, which was not at all like the dumplings we're normally used to eating during Dragon Boat Festival. Starbucks' dumpling was slightly sweet, frozen and rather chalky, but by far the most enjoyable out of the three.

Starbucks Zongzi

Price: RMB20
Smells like: Does jello have a smell?
Tastes like: "Coffee jello... not bad. The filling tastes a little chalky or grainy. The overall texture tastes a little bit like flavored Play-Doh. How does coffee become a dumpling?"
Rating (out of ten): 8/10 (Emersyn), 6/10 (Maria)
Comments: "This one was my favorite." "Out of all the ones we tried it was definitely the best. "For twenty kuai it better be..."

more news

'Luckin' for Gold: Chinese Coffee Company Eyeing Huge IPO

Arguably Starbuck’s biggest competitor in the PRC, the Chinese coffee brand has expanded at breakneck speed over the last two years.

Starbucks Offers Free Coffee, China Turns Up With Huge ‘Cups’... Again

Yesterday, Starbucks offered patrons in China quite the deal in celebration of Earth Day.

Inside the First Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai

A peek inside the largest Starbucks in all of China.

We Tried This Yogurt-Vodka Cooler and So Should You

The 'White Russian' of cheap convenience store coolers.

4 Chinese Convenience Store Ice Creams You Should Try

Mung bean slushies and milk sticks.

Starbucks to Open 'Willy Wonka' Reserve Roastery in Shanghai

Starbucks pins its China ambitions on a radical coffee shop concept that will match homegrown hipster brands.

PSA: It's Buy One Get One Frappuccino Day at Starbucks

Thursday's the day when Starbucks gets a lil bit cheaper.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.