The Naked Chicken Chalupa was in one test market in 2015 and another in 2016, and I read that it took two years to develop. Can you imagine being the person in charge for trying to make a fried chicken shell? Day after day, staring at this processed and battered (both literally and figuratively) piece of flat meat, trying through sheer force of will to transmogrify it into something it was never supposed to be?
“This is not how my life was meant to turn out,” he whispers to himself, fingers red and blistered from fry oil. “This was not why I got my Food Science degree. I was supposed to do good in this world.”
…If there’s a plus to rolling up on Taco Bell at 6:03am, it’s that your order is going to be fresh (or as fresh as you can expect). If there’s a drawback, it’s that you’re ordering a Naked Chicken Chalupa three minutes after opening time, and that feels embarrassing.
However, the nice man at the window did warn me that my Chalupa was fresh and therefore hot, which was both kind of him and made me chuckle at the accidental implication that the rest of my order was not, indeed, fresh. You mean the smashed wreckage that is the Meximelt isn’t lovingly crafted on the spot?
He was right though, as the fried chicken shell slightly burned my fingers when I took it out of its protective sleeve (smart move, Taco Bell) to photograph it.
I gotta say, I was surprised at how crunchy and juicy the chicken shell was. And spicy, too! I wasn’t even aware that it was supposed to be spicy, but my lips were slightly burning as I ate it.
Of course, the taco itself was mostly chicken. The sparse innards were your typical fare: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese and avocado ranch sauce. The last ingredient is the only real one of note, as its creamy texture and mild ranch flavor mixed nicely with the spicy chicken. Those bites were rare, but when they came together, it was really a good combo.
It’s disturbing how normal I felt while I was eating the Naked Chicken Chalupa. I mean, I’m eating a taco that has chicken instead of a shell. But really, it was just…eating some chicken. The thick, spicy breading and the moistness of the chicken were great surprises, especially given how pathetic the fillings were. It looks small, but it’s actually quite filling, and I can’t say as I wouldn’t have turned another one down.
Or maybe not, given what happened next.
I don’t often talk about the aftermath of eating the products I review, mostly because there isn’t one. Rarely, I get a surprise color poop, and that’s fun, but otherwise food is just food. In case you can’t tell, we’re going to get real with some toilet talk here. If that disturbs you, a.) why are you even here, and b.) skip the next paragraph.
Almost immediately after consuming the Naked Chicken Chalupa, I started having some pretty bad gas cramps. It was the only thing I’d eaten that morning, so I know it had to be the culprit. Just like any normal human, I get gas occasionally, but never have I had cramps that lasted for eight fucking hours. What I considered even more odd is that, while I was shitting more than usual, I wasn’t exactly wrecking toilets right and left. I’ve just never eaten something that left me in intestinal pain for an entire day, and I felt that was worthy of noting.
Junk Food Betty: Come to stare at gross pictures, stay for the shit jokes, leave a complaint in the comments.
Here’s a fun postscript: if you’re reading this, chances are you can’t actually get your hands on a Naked Chicken Chalupa. I suck at getting reviews out in a timely manner, and apparently this product was a big, fat failure. Less than a month after its premiere, Taco Bell has taken it off the menu. Everything you just read means nothing!
Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa
- Score: 3 out of 5 crampy food scientists
- Price: $2.99
- Size: 1 taco
- Purchased at: Taco Bell #022951
- Nutritional Quirk: No surprise, the item is no longer listed on Taco Bell’s website, so I can’t access the nutritional information. But given the “condition” I was left in after eating it, I’m assuming the entire taco was actually made of beans.