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Taco Bell Is Finally In Thailand, Launches New Items Spicier Than Anything In The US

Taco Bell just launched their first-ever location in Thailand, and the new menu there is not shy about bringing the heat.

Photo: Evan Lancaster // Foodbeast

Located in the Mercury Ville Shopping Mall in Bangkok, the food there is meant to be a balance of bringing nostalgic taste to expats as well as introducing the world of Taco Bell to those who may have never tried it before. That means catering to local tastes and flavors, but introducing them in formats that the chain is known for.

Foodbeasts Richard Guinto, Evan Lancaster, and myself were given a chance to try some of the new Thai items at Taco Bell’s headquarters in Irvine, California, to see just what the differences were.

Photo: Evan Lancaster // Foodbeast

A new permanent addition to the Thailand menu is the Kickin’ Chicken taco, a soft-shell taco with strips of fried chicken on the inside. It comes with pico de gallo, lettuce, a two-cheese blend, and a brand new Kickin’ Sauce. This sauce, according to Taco Bell international product developer Steve Gomez, takes inspiration from the fan-favorite Lava Sauce we know here in the US. It does come with a bigger punch of garlic and onion, but looks pretty similar otherwise.

Photo: Evan Lancaster // Foodbeast

Another addition to Taco Bell Thailand’s menu is the Mango Madness Freeze, which combines the chain’s signature slush with one of Thailand’s more popular fruits. It’s designed for those looking to beat the heat or cool down their tongues from the spicier menu options, and will be a permanent option as well. Other freezes being sold in Thailand include Tropical Punch and Berry Blue.

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

An intriguing but subtle change to the menu comes in the form of the salsas that are served with every meal. Thailand isn’t as used to vinegar-based hot sauces as the US is, so Taco Bell cut the vinegar in their hot sauce and increased the spice level, creating a fiery condiment more suitable to Thai palates. The Fire Salsa is four times hotter in Thailand based on Scoville units (the official measure of spiciness), and has a noticeably thicker consistency.

So far, the new menu appears to be paying off. The lines at the new Bangkok location have been packed during its grand opening week, and Taco Bell hopes to build on that success to open 40 more locations in the country by 2022.