File:Chickens in market.jpg

Tastes like chicken is a common declaration used when trying to describe the flavor of a food a listener has never tasted. The expression has been used so often that it has become somewhat of a cliché. As a result, the phrase also sometimes gets used for incongruous humor, by being deployed for foods or situations to which it has no real relevance.


As an explanation of why unusual meats would taste more like chicken than common alternatives such as beef or pork, different possibilities have been offered. One suggestion is that chicken has a bland taste because fat contributes more flavor than muscle (especially in the case of a lean cut such as a skinless chicken breast), making it a generic choice for comparison. Also, chicken reportedly has lower levels of glutamates that contribute to the "savory" aspect of taste sometimes known as umami; processing or tenderizing other meats would also lower glutamate levels and make them taste more like chicken.

Another suggestion, made by Joe Staton of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, is that meat flavors are fixed based on the evolutionary origin of the animal. Accordingly, birds (the most numerous form of meat by type) would naturally taste more like chicken than mammals. Furthermore, based on evidence for dinosaurs as the ancestors of birds, reptile meat might also taste somewhat like chicken and therefore dinosaurs also tasted like chicken. Seafood, however, would logically have a more distinctive flavor.Where this theory falls apart is the fact that very gamey birds such as woodcock or grouse, or red-meat birds such as ostrich or squab do not "taste like chicken," while other (bland) sources of protein including reptiles (rattlesnake), insects, earthworms and numerous mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits do "taste like chicken."[1]

A third possibility, proposed by Richard Dawkins, is that saying something "tastes like chicken" is simply an example of a meme, that is to say it was used by one person at some point in the past, and it caught on and rapidly became part of the vernacular.[2]

Animals that are said to taste like chickenEdit