Popeyes’ “Twisty” Wicked Shrimp gets it twisted on the wickedness

Popeyes is one of our favorite restaurants for limited time offers. Back in the day, we practically survived off of their amazing $4 monthly deals, all of which were interesting and completely different from what other fast food restaurants were offering.

Nowadays, Popeyes is in a pretty good position and doesn’t do “weirder” LTOs anymore. Most of their monthly offers have been more bargain oriented instead of experimental. We chalk this up to The Sandwich, a menu item that has completely changed how Popeyes does business. They’re a sandwich restaurant now, you know. You don’t need to be convinced to try their food anymore.  You go there to eat a sandwich.

That’s why when we saw their latest monthly offer was a five dollar Surf and Turf Basket, we didn’t think much of it. We were hungry, it was getting late, and some cheap shrimp and chicken sounded fantastic. It seemed like an LTO Popeyes would do nowadays. We had no idea what we were getting into. We had just ordered a basket of… Twisty Wicked Shrimp.

We were driving around at night as is our wont, and we passed the local Popeyes and saw their sign promising this deal. We were immediately interested. This was about half an hour before the Popeyes closed for the evening, and we were getting pretty dang hungry, so we pulled in, ordered our food, and at no point did we see this was “Twisty Wicked Shrimp.” All we saw was that they had a $5 Surf and Turf basket, and that was enough for us. We didn’t see it on the signs hung on the windows, nor did we see it on the menu board. All we saw was the basket deal.

The Surf & Turf basket we got had two tenders, seven pieces of shrimp, a biscuit and a side. For $5, wicked or not, this is a pretty good deal. This reminded us of the old bargains that Popeyes used to do, and it brought a smile to our faces. Those $4 deals didn’t even have biscuits! $5 for this much food is a steal.

The basket also came with a new Smoky Garlic Tartar Sauce, a special dipping sauce for the shrimp. Paula doesn’t normally enjoy tartar sauce that much – Will likes it, though – but we can both agree that this stuff was a fantastic dip. It was much more forward, with a garlic flavor instead of the regular sour, pickle-y flavor of tartar sauce. It worked just as well on the chicken as it did the shrimp. We normally get Blackened Ranch or Mardi Gras Mustard as our dips of choice, but if this stuff ever got added to the main menu we’d add it to our dipping sauce rotation in a flash. We’d say try the new shrimp just to get your hands on this stuff.

The Twisty Wicked Shrimp is supposed to be a “spicy” shrimp, similar to the Wicked Chicken deal they did years ago. The shrimp is seasoned with a spice blend with cayenne and sriracha sauce, promising some reasonable heat. Looking at the spices involved, it actually sounds pretty good. Sriracha shrimp is a standard pretty much everywhere now, so sriracha fried shrimp sounds amazing. This should be great! A tangy, spicy, garlicky shrimp with garlicky dipping sauce for a double-garlic mouth explosion, right?

Now, we had received our meal, and had pulled over to eat in the parking lot, and were still unaware that these were supposed to be spicy shrimp. So when we took our first bite… we still didn’t notice these were supposed to be spicy. At all. They were indistinguishable from regular Popeyes shrimp. We ate our meal without any excitement or displeasure; it was a completely ordinary late night Popeyes meal, with good crispy chicken tenders and soft shrimp. This shrimp was decidedly non-wicked. It literally wasn’t until we had completely eaten the meal and Paula had left the car to throw away the refuse that we got close enough to the signage to see it as “wicked Shrimp”!

So, are we disappointed in this deal? Well, yes and no. It’s hard to describe. For $5, it’s a good deal, whether you get just shrimp or the Surf & Turf basket. It comes with a biscuit and a side, which is always a great bonus. Popeyes has amazing fries, after all. But seriously, this shrimp is not wicked in the least. If it was even noticeably spicy, that would have been nice. As it was, we thought it was regular old Popeyes fried shrimp. 

We’re not even sure if this is supposed to be Twisty Wicked Shrimp or just plain old Wicked Shrimp. Everything we look up is inconsistent. Other food bloggers call it “Twisty Wicked”, but a lot of official Popeyes stuff calls it just “Wicked”. We have no way of finding out the truth! What is it, Popeyes? Do even YOU know?

This deal is a swing and a miss, but it’s still something we feel like recommending. It’s cheap, the Smoky Garlic Tartar Sauce is delicious, and we really do love shrimp. What more can be said? Just keep your expectations low.

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