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Yes, I ate at KFC in Penang. So sue me (jeez, the ‘80s bug just bit me). Everyone has conniptions when you tell them you ate at American fast food chains while on vacation. I understand, it weirded me out that my grandma ate at Planet Hollywood in Beijing (never mind the fact that the woman visited mainland China at all—she always struck me as more Branson).

KOMTAR was giving us the heebie jeebies. It was like an Eastern Bloc, cold war era shopping center, but Muslim, if you can imagine. James started getting sick, claiming the entire place smelled like hair spray (there were lots of little eerie beauty parlors inside). I think it was more like bug spray or disinfectant. No matter, he needed to sit (normally, I'd think he was exaggerating about not feeling well, but hed said the same thing on our flight from NYC and then proceeded to pass out) and well, KFC was recognizable and air conditioned. Plus, who can resist fried chicken, Malaysians love fried chicken, how bad could it be?

So, we ordered combos containing one regular and one spicy piece of chicken, soda and a little something called Cheezy Wedges, which were fried potato chunks drizzled with nacho cheese and mayonnaise. So wrong. (They also had a Cheezybon at their Cinnabon, which was also doused in a Cheez Whiz-like substance). The chicken itself was perfectly tasty, and I'm a total sucker for the “sos chili” a.k.a. sweet chile sauce that's served at most S.E. Asian fast food joints. The portions were notably smaller than not just American ones, but Singapores (the only country that seemed to have Big Gulps at their 7-Elevens) as well. The small amount of food we actually consumed made me feel slightly less guilty about frequenting KFC.

KFC * KOMTAR, Penang, Malaysia

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