I Pushed Japan's All-You-Can-Eat KFC to Its Absolute Limit
More like all-you-can-take-away.
All photos by Aimee Gibson
This article originally appeared on VICE Australia
There are two parts to being young and traveling. The first is that I'm having a fucking sick time. The second is that I have no money, which means I'm staying at the worst hostel in all of Japan and eating either instant ramen or nothing every single meal. And so it's all kind of fantastic, but annoying.
There is a silver lining: although I may be staying in Japan's worst hostel, the world's only all-you-can-eat KFC is just nearby. And this could be a solution to my money problem. See, all-you-can-eat buffets serve infinite food, and infinite food means they have even more food than supermarkets, which makes them a stockpiling goldmine if you can just smuggle enough out.
I'm a person who has always loved taking advantage of things and eating KFC, so if there's anyone who can solve all their financial problems by exploiting a buffet, it's me. So I told my girlfriend I was taking her out for a romantic dinner, and we set off... to push Japan's all-you-can-eat KFC to its absolute limit.
Of course I fasted for almost a full 24 hours before Day One, just as I had always done pre-buffet for as long as I could remember. This resulted in me tapping my credit card impatiently on the counter as the waitress explained the procedure in slow motion. She finally showed my girlfriend and I to our seats and we were left to our own devices. I didn't even sit down.
I couldn't have anticipated what world would meet my vision as I walked over to the food. Croissants, lasagna, spaghetti, EIGHT DIFFERENT FLAVOURS OF ICE CREAM and a bunch of salad stuff that I've never associated with KFC just laying there, waiting for me.
Who the fuck eats salad at a KFC buffet?
Full disclosure: the quality of the food wasn't great. The pasta was claggy. The chips were unsalted and cold, and the chicken was hit and miss. But still, I had a job to do.
My backpack was full of novelty plastic bags which were being given out for free from the Pokémon Center I had visited earlier. I began to stuff the bags full of original recipe. Cautiously, one at a time, when the coast was clear. We then left the restaurant struggling to breathe, and with the distinct smell of sub-par KFC emanating from our backpacks.
The problem now was that the smell was making both of us feel sick. We were so full—what the fuck did need all this KFC for? So upon leaving the restaurant I began to offer the spoils of my conquest to the random citizens on the streets of Osaka. Strangely nobody was willing to have any of the chicken from my backpack.
I thought perhaps my approach was wrong. My Japanese could use some work, so maybe technology had the answer. I typed "Hello, would you like some fried chicken from my bag?" into Google Translate and showed it to people, but still no one was interested. So we took all the chicken home.
The next day we woke up hungry and ate the chicken cold. And strangely I now wanted more, only we hadn't grabbed enough. Also we couldn't really afford to go twice in two days, so I started to wonder: KFC dumpster diving?
I had failed to take into account just how proper everything is in Japan. As if they would just leave a dumpster full of delicious bin chicken accessible to the public. All their waste was transported behind these mysterious metal doors by secret government officials, or possibly employees.
My only viable dumpster diving option was the small bins at the front of the establishment used for customers grabbing takeaway. I dug deep but found nothing of value. Every bone was cleaned to a masterful degree.
In the end I settled on the miniscule amount of flesh left on the bones of some random Japanese person's chicken. Why was I doing this? I don't know. But earlier this year I wrote a story about the White Australian Ibis, commonly referred to as the bin chicken due to its eating habits. In a cruel twist of fate, I had now become the creature I had long sought to understand. I had become the bin chicken.
I sat in my hostel common room on the morning of Day Three, watching my poor fellow backpackers sip on bad coffee. I was hungry. We were all hungry, and I thought to myself "I'm going to do what should've been done two days ago."
So, with my girlfriend's help, I made a Robin Hood costume and set out to take from the rich and give to the poor.
By the way, I feel like this is a good time to mention the all-you-can-eat KFC includes all-you-can-drink beer for an extra $12 AUD. Fucking ripper. On the downside, the alcohol gave me a false confidence and I was almost caught sneaking chicken into my backpack. Or maybe I was just paranoid. Or maybe I was getting stared at because I was dressed like Robin Hood. I guess I'll never know.
By this point I was completely done with the chicken. I reckon I had a grand total of three pieces, and the rest went straight into the backpacks. Instead I filled up on the surprisingly high quality curry on offer. Damn, it was good curry.
A few hours after leaving KFC for the final time, I waltzed into my hostel with a smug smile on my face. Gather 'round peasants: I come bearing cold soggy hours-old dirty bag chicken. One at a time now.
No need to thank me friend, your appreciative smile says it all.