My Mexican Original Chicken Sandwich from Burger King came wrapped in paper. The word “Mexican” was written in marker over the words “Original Chicken.” I assume this was because of a lack of themed packaging at my local BK, but it feels appropriate, because the “Mexican” in this “Mexican Original Chicken Sandwich” feels very much like an afterthought.
As chicken sandwiches go, it’s fine. Actually, as cheesy jalapeño chicken sandwiches go, it’s all right. Given its description—“Topped with ghost pepper cheese and crispy-fried jalapeños on a sesame seed bun”—I thought this sandwich might be too spicy for me, because I can be a bit of a baby when it comes to intense spice. For reference, the spicy sauce on the McDonald’s Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich is too spicy for me. So I was relieved to find that the Burger King Mexican Original Chicken Sandwich has a kick, but a manageable one. It didn’t burn my tongue or lips or obscure my ability to taste the food.
About the taste of this food: This sandwich is about as Mexican as I am. Which is to say, not Mexican at all.
Burger King’s latest menu item is part of the chain’s trio of “international” sandwiches rolling out nationwide, one of which, bafflingly, is the “American Original Chicken Sandwich.” As Burger King is a decidedly American company, I was surprised to find America included in its international lineup—a bit of a fudge, wouldn’t you say? Also joining the international lineup is the Italian Original Chicken Sandwich. The American and Italian sandwiches are similar to, but a little different than, two items already on the BK menu, the Italian Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Original Chicken Sandwich. The Mexican sandwich is completely new.
Even before I ate it, I was wondering what else might be included to make this sandwich read as Mexican. Since I’d seen pictures of it, I knew there wasn’t going to be much. The only thing I could come up with was some cumin or other spices in the breading of the chicken. Which, I soon learned, was not something that Burger King also came up with.
As noted above, I am not Mexican. I am a person who appreciates and eats Mexican cuisine, both authentic and Tex-Mex. But even if Taco Bell were the only Mexican-inspired food I had ever eaten (Taco Bell is widely acknowledged as not real Mexican food either), I could nevertheless tell you that this sandwich does not live up to its promise.
The seeded bun was fresh and good. The chicken patty is weirdly long, but it tastes fine. Still, it’s a patty, not a breast fillet. The lack of heat in the ghost pepper queso, though good for someone with a low spice tolerance, is kind of weird. Ghost pepper queso should really pack a punch, right? This queso isn’t too spicy. Moreover, it’s weirdly tangy, a quality shared by no other queso I’ve ever tasted before, with a viscosity similar to Tostitos Nacho Cheese Dip.
The jalapeños were fine, too, but even heaped generously onto the sandwich, they failed to provide a kick that would appeal to a true lover of spice.
I don’t think BK’s Mexican Original Chicken Sandwich needs to be outright avoided—just don’t expect to feel like you ate something even vaguely Mexican-inspired. This menu item would never satisfy a Taco Bell craving, that’s for sure. But if you’d like to order a cheesy, tangy jalapeño fast food chicken patty sandwich, go for it. That’s probably what employees should be scrawling on the wrapper.