As you regular readers here know, I’m a total sucker for novel new fast food menu items. Not that Taco Bell ever really has anything “new”, but ultimately repurposed ways to make meat, cheese, vegetables and/or a tortilla shell somehow appear new to us in various fun ‘n novel ways to rebuild it.
Earlier this year, Taco Bell introduced the Naked Chicken Chalupa, which was essentially an “inverted taco”, where the meat was the shell, in the form of a flattened, battered ‘n deep-fried chicken breast that made up the Chalupa shell. As much as I’m still not a chicken fan, I thought it was fantastic!
Being a limited edition menu item, it didn’t take long for TB to take the Naked Chicken Chalupa off the menu, irregardless of its popularity (especially on social media) and sales success. Yet thanks to Taco Bell’s own fried chicken task force, known formally as the The Council for Eating Fried Chicken the Same Way You Always Have, a.k.a. the “TCEFCTSWYAH”, chicken is back at the Bell, as naked as ever. This time in the form of the Naked Chalupa’s illegitimate offspring, Naked Chicken Chips.
Which are supposed to be the same white meat chicken breast battered ‘n fried shell that made up the the Naked Chicken Chalupa, in this form, cut down into handy-dandy triangles the same size as your typical tortilla chip, albeit a bit thicker, being what it is.
So above is my order of Taco Bell’s new Naked Chicken Chips, which by default is served with Nacho Cheese Sauce. The 6-pack was just $1.99.
Also note I ordered a side of Jalapeno peppers, which was just 50 cents extra….
More on the reason for the Jalapenos shortly.
Here’s a shot to show how big each Naked Chicken Chip is in relation to my hand…
To be exact, about the size of your typical triangle-shaped tortilla chip, while its thickness is about 7/16th of an inch (just less than half an inch).
Taking a few bites of it without the default nacho cheese sauce, it comes across as quite plain, and not nearly as tasty as how I remember the Naked Chicken Chalupa shell. There’s a subtle hint of that “unabashedly bold Mexican seasoning”, however not quite as unabashedly bold as advertised. Specifically I would say the seasoning is made of just a little bit of paprika and mostly ceyenne pepper.
The all-white meat chicken within also doesn’t come across as being cut from a solid piece of chicken breast as did the Naked Chicken Chalupa. Unfortunately, the chicken meat in these “bites” have the processed texture of your typical chicken nuggets, where it’s a mash of meat, not a whole piece such as would be chicken tenders. So yeah, these are definitely Taco Bell’s answer to the Chicken McNugget, albeit with a spiced-up, more bread-liked batter. I would say these overall in and of themselves are slightly better than Chicken McNuggests, but not so much that it’s going to be Taco Bell’s new claim to fame, as has the McNuggets done for McD’s.
So the whole idea of serving a chicken nugget — now we’re calling it that — with ooey-gooey warmed-up nacho cheese sauce, I thought would taste awesome! However, after dipping it in the cheese sauce, I was very unimpressed. Meh. I really thought the rich, gooey melted cheese with the savory fried chicken pieces would be a totally perfect marriage, but in this case, it’s not at all. Mainly because Taco Bell’s nacho cheese is just lame. I really thought, “oh man, this little cup of cheese ain’t gonna’ be enough for these 6 chicken bites”, but nope. It was more than enough. Too much actually, as I had some leftover after they were all gone. I thought I’d be drowning them in the cheese, but it turns out the cheese becomes overpowering, were you only need a little to pump-up the party of the nugget, just like shown above.
Speaking of pumping up the party, next I added a slice of the pickled Jalapeno to the cheese-sauced chicken bite, and it’s a THOUSAND TIMES BETTER! I got that idea from a YouTuber who reviewed these; one of the many “Vloggers” that seem to like doing fast food reviews in the driver seat of their car. And he was spot-on! Makes perfect sense, just as you would have Jalapenos on a huge pile of jacked-up nachos. In fact, I was gonna’ go as far as ordering a side of Guacamole, sour cream and refried beans to really kick-up these chicken bites, however I didn’t want to go too far off the wagon on this initial tasting mission. Because you now, it is a mission. lol
No, but yeah, dude, if you hit Taco Bell for these limited edition Naked Chicken Chips, make sure you get a side of Jalapenos to kick them up. Just 50 cents more, and it will take your $1.99 set of 6 nuggets from American Idol reject, to Eddie Van Halen rock star status! The key being not just the extra heat from the Jalapeno, but also the acidity in it because it’s “pickled”, while you also get that sort of bell pepper like flavor element that gives it some contrasting “green”, if you know what I mean, to compliment the richness of the cheese sauce, crispiness of the batter and savoriness of the chicken.
Summing it up, while the Jalapenos totally, totally jack-up Taco Bell’s new limited edition Naked Chicken Chips, in and of themselves? Meh. Lame.
While they currently have something similar with the Chickstar (Naked Chicken Chips encased in a crunch wrap), my guess is knowing Taco Bell, what they’re going to do next is offer them as what I suggested, being a fully loaded version, served like a Nachos Bell Grande. Perhaps naming it the “Naked Chicken Mucho Nachos”. This, with all the fixinz piled on them, including their seasoned ground beef, refried beans, guacamole, nacho cheese, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos and sour cream. Then it won’t taste like “Naked Chicken Chips” anymore, but who cares. It’ll taste way better, and that’s all that matters.
What? Taco Bell’s new limited edition Naked Chicken Chips
Where did you get it and how much? Taco Bell on Kapahulu Avenue, $1.99 for a 6-piece, including warmed-up Nacho Cheese dipping sauce; paid extra 50 cents for side of pickled ‘n sliced Jalapeno Peppers (a necessary add-on IMO)
Big Shaka to: Easy to handle and eat tortilla chip shape and size; light and crispy, mildly spicy batter; product arrived pipin’ hot fresh out of the fryer; jacked-up to rock star status with the addition of Jalapenos; tons of reviews of this product on YouTube.
No Shaka to: Tons of reviews of this product on YouTube (yes, that’s a pro and a con lol); white chicken meat tastes and has the texture of being processed like your typical chicken nugget; doesn’t taste nearly as good as its God Father, the Naked Chicken Chalupa; Nacho Cheese sauce is lame, and hardly helps enhance the flavor of the crisply chicken nugget. Having to spend 50 more cents of my hard-earned money to make this $2 product taste better. lol Overall nothing to write home or here about (even though I did anyway).
Tasty Island rating: 1 SPAM Musubi (Taco Bell… NEXT!)