Burger King in the US has been making a big deal out of its new Satisfries range of French fries, which have 40 per cent less fat and 30 per cent fewer kilojoules than its regular fries. Should Australian fast food junkies be petitioning Hungry Jack's to bring them into Australia? We put them to the taste test to find out.
I should stress at the outset that there's no indication whatsoever that Hungry Jack's has any such plan. When it operates under licence from Burger King, it doesn't replicate every menu item. That said, successful concepts from US fast food joints do have a habit of wending their way across the Pacific to their sibling chains (the KFC Double being one notable example). So it seemed worthwhile testing out the 'Satisfries' range while I was in Boston this week.
Burger King has engaged in some fairly over-the-top promotion for the new fries, including rebranding some stores temporarily as 'Fries King'. That hadn't happened in the store I visited, but there was a gigantic window decal promoting the new option. That said, the store wasn't exactly crowded at lunchtime on a Sunday; I was the only person eating in, enjoying a Whopper and some Fanta Zero alongside my Satisfries.
According to Burger King, this is how Satisfries are cooked:
Just like most French fry recipes, Satisfries are made with thinly battered real whole potatoes. The difference is that the Satisfries recipe ensures that the French fries absorb less oil — only enough to keep each great tasting crinkle crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Despite all the hype, in taste terms Satisfries actually invoke a rather more basic concept: oven chips. Stripped of that extra oil, they taste exactly like something that's been heated from frozen in your oven. That's not unpleasant, but it's not the same as a fully-cooked french fry: the flavour is heavier on potato.
If I'm going to eat a takeaway burger and fries, frankly I want someone to have gone to the effort of actually plunging those fries into hot oil. I never do that at home because of a ridiculous phobia which I attribute to this infamous 1980s TV commercial:
Given I don't make a habit of eating burgers, so I don't feel the need to cut out kilojoules for their own sake. Given the choice, I'd pick the regular fries every time. I'm not going to kick Satisfries out of my mouth, but I wouldn't go hunting them down again in a hurry. Save your petition for something more exciting.