Fast food seafood items are often not the most buzzworthy, but Taco Bell's newest item, the Crayfish Taco, delivers BIG on flavor.
Coming to Taco Bell China locations in August, the crustacean-packed item contains at least a dozen crayfish per taco, making for a pretty hefty amount of seafood inside. The sweetness of the crayfish is matched with a special "crayfish sauce" that repurposes traditional Chinese spices into a taco form.
According to Taco Bell China representatives, the key ingredient inside that crayfish sauce is "十三香 (shí sān xiāng)," which translates to "13 spices." It's a unique blend of aromatics that includes Sichuan peppercorn, fennel, galangal, and other ingredients that create a piquant, savory, and intriguing taste.
I had the chance to try the Crayfish Taco at a sneak preview at Taco Bell HQ. Being half Chinese, the taste took me back almost immediately to some of the seafood and pork dishes my family would cook at get-togethers or feast on at seafood banquet restaurants. There's just enough Sichuan peppercorn to slightly numb your tongue and let you know it's there, but the other aromatics, especially the white pepper and fennel, come through strong to keep it from being overpowering.
The fact that Taco Bell is willing to take such risks at creating a new seafood item AND utilizing unique Chinese flavors into it shows that they're thinking way ahead in terms of flavor innovation.
As for the United States, it's always possible for an international item to one day come to the US (like Nacho Fries just did recently). Only time will tell if the Crayfish Taco will swim onto our shores.
Taco Bell China will start carrying the Crayfish Taco in August as part of a series of new items coming to other Asian locations Taco Bell owns. Other new items will include the Cheesy Taco Melt, aka a "taco sandwich" launching in November in Korea, and a Volcano Naked Chicken Taco, a spicier version of the Naked Chicken Chalupa that will debut in August in Korea.