Taco Bell’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco is living rent-free in my head

Will the oddest competitor in the Chicken Sandwich Wars ever roll out nationwide?

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Product shot of Taco Bell's Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco [image provided by Taco Bell]
Photo: Taco Bell

Back at the beginning of this year, there was so much chicken news coming across the wire on any given day that it was starting to feel like the parade of exciting new menu items—and, more broadly, the fast food poultry renaissance—would simply never end. Anticipation ran high, as did our optimism.

Several times over, that optimism was rewarded. McDonald’s didn’t knock it out of the park with its much-hyped offering, but its three different options were all perfectly respectable. Next, Burger King’s interpretation, the unfortunately named Ch’King, earned high marks for unique sweet-and-spicy notes in the sauce. And Hardee’s, of all places, came out swinging with a chicken sandwich whose crispy crunchy crags place it high up on our list, right near Popeyes. But one fast food outlet continues to tease us with news of a forthcoming chicken sandwich we can’t stop thinking about: Taco Bell, which is currently testing its Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco in a precious few test markets.

We learned in February that Taco Bell had plans to enter the Chicken Sandwich Wars with a quirky adaptation of the format, one that involved wrapping the tortilla-chip-coated fried chicken in “a puffy bread, shaped in an iconic taco form.” Both regular and spicy versions were promised, and each comes with a creamy chipotle sauce (the spicy one gets jalapeño slices). But the party had only started in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, as only two test markets were selected to receive this bounty. For nearly six months, I have lain in wait, occasionally following up with PR reps who politely inform me that they will pass along updates on the taco when there is any news to send.

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Why can’t I stop thinking about this Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco? I think it’s the bread. I want to know just how puffy the bread is, how softly it hugs the chicken cutlet inside. But I also want to know how much the jalapeños separate the regular from the spicy, because a few pickled slices can’t possibly make that much of a difference between the two, can they? Whatever the case, Redditors from the two test markets have good things to say so far, which only adds to my anguish. We’re running out of months in the year, and we were promised the item “later this year.” Now is later. I want the time to be now.

Am I wrong to obsess over the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco? Is such fixation likely to lead to inevitable disappointment? Please, reassure me. Or tell me I’m better off seeking out a Hardee’s. I want to know where everyone stands on puffy bread shaped in iconic taco forms.