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Taco Bell Serves Up Black Rice in New 'Forbidden' Menu Items

Food & Wine logo Food & Wine 9/13/2017 Mike Pomranz
© Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

Say what you want about Taco Bell, the fast food chain has never shied away from testing innovative new products. Granted, those products have often been corporate tie-ins like the Doritos Locos Taco or strange repurposings of ingredients already on its menu like the Double Decker Taco. But still, whether it's a taco with an egg for a shell or a burrito full of Pop Rocks, the Bell has never been afraid of experimentation. And for its latest test item, the fast food chain is trying something unusual once again—a bowl and burrito featuring a slightly more upmarket ingredient: black rice.

Taco Bell's forthcoming Forbidden Rice Burrito and Forbidden Rice Bowl are extremely limited release items that will only be available in one California location for one week starting tomorrow. The menu items take their name from the dishes' signature ingredient: black rice. Black rice is also sometimes called "Forbidden" rice because in ancient China it was reserved exclusively for the Emperor. Well, now it's at Taco Bell (take that, Emperor!) where it offers more than just a striking color: Black rice is also considered a health food thanks to its high levels of antioxidants.

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Adding to the artisanal flare, these Forbidden dishes also come with fried pieces of avocado, as well as sour cream, romaine lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, a "Forbidden sauce," and your choice of ground beef, shredded chicken, grilled chicken, or steak. Plus, if you opt for the bowl, the actual container it arrives in is significantly classier than Taco Bell's usual packaging.

This test item got high praise from Foodbeast during an advance preview, with one person proclaiming it "better than Chipotle." "It's clear that Taco Bell has a leg up on Chipotle with the new Forbidden Rice meals," the site wrote. "The rice adds a great texture and flavor to the dish, which is complemented even further with the crispy yet creamy fried avocado pieces."

If you're interested in trying this new high-end Taco Bell offering, these "Forbidden" menu items will be sold exclusively at the Irvine, California, location at 2222 Barranca Parkway starting tomorrow, Thursday, September 14. A burrito or bowl will set you back a mere $3.49 or $3.99 depending on your filling.

Gallery: We Tried The Top 4 Fast Food Burritos — & Here's The Winning Bundle (Provided by Refinery29) <p>Burritos do something that our other favorite eats simply cannot: they unite a harmonious blend of unique flavors and textures that are lovingly wrapped up for compact munching in a warm edible blanket. The Mexican food classic has a secured some long-standing square footage in our hearts stomaches. That, plus the fact that you can easily (and fairly affordably) pick one up at an array of fast-casual chains anywhere across the country — no searching Yelp for specially-vetted or gourmet joints necessary.</p><p>But does that mean that all burritos are created equal? No. Way. And so in order to distinguish and elect the reigning champ of the rice and bean scene, we taste-tested the classic chicken burrito offerings from four major spots: Chipotle, Dos Toros, Moe's, and Taco Bell. Ahead, find out which of the chains were able to achieve ratio harmony — and which turned out to be bundles of disappointment.</p> We Tried The Top 4 Fast Food Burritos — & Here's The Winning Bundle

This article was originally published on FoodAndWine.com

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