The Wall Street Journal today highlights KFC's Asian dessert speciality in a piece looking at how the Western tradition of Valentine's Day is making inroads in China and Asia via Western brands.
The dessert specialty in question: the egg tart, the delicious (trust us) custard-like pastry that's a hit from Beijing to Bangkok. Just look at those dewy-eyed young things in KFC's Thai commercial, above.
By producing egg tarts, KFC is paying tribute to a dessert that is indigenous to China; versions were available in Hong Kong as far back as the 1940s, while China's Macau is famed for its Portuguese-influenced variation.
As for Valentine's Day, China has its own romantic holiday in August, but Feb. 14 is becoming a big deal locally thanks in part to marketing by KFC, Haagen-Dazs, Godiva and other Western brands, according to the Journal.
Other interesting points from the WSJ piece:
• Chinese supermarkets feature large chocolate displays, flower shops promote long-stemmed roses, and some local retailers offer special deals for couples on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day has become one of the busiest days of the year for KFC in China.
• This year, KFC is running a "love song" promotion in which people can go online and select a song of their choice, a date and time and a specific KFC, and when they take their beloved there, the restaurant will play their song. People can also buy Valentine's gift boxes containing six egg tarts.
• Yum Brands, which owns both KFC and Pizza Hut, has been on the cutting edge of adding Western holidays to the mix to boost sales and give its restaurants a higher profile. Other Western chains are also promoting Valentine's Day.
• Haagen-Dazs, the ice cream chain owned by Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc., is also a date destination, and as part of its Valentine's "love & romance" promotion, it has installed a giant fondue replica at Xintiandi, an entertainment district in Shanghai.