“Beef ain’t dead yet,” to put it kindly. It’s been a few years since vegan meat alternatives first hit the market — and no doubt anyone with a taste for barbecue, burgers or, um, nuts will be fairly familiar with the options on the market. Each year there are a slew of new faux-meat dishes for sale, and what with the competition we’re forced to face, we should probably be celebrating! Alas, the new foods often aren’t as great as what’s available to eat. There’s always room for improvement. Maybe we’ll be able to talk about really great fake meat within the next decade. Maybe not. In the meantime, we decided to put these new vegan foods to the test. And here they are.
Seitan (pronounced “shoh-NOT-en”) is a type of wheat flour. It’s hardy (it’s actually made up of two different types of wheat), easy to make and will provide you with protein and other vitamins and minerals. However, this Japanese alternative isn’t as good as it could be because it lacks taste, texture or bite. We gave the seitan options a taste test and we found it wasn’t anywhere near good enough for a real meal.
“It doesn’t go well with a lot of things,” one taster said. “This just won’t do it for me.”
This veggie alternative looked amazing on a plate but, apparently, tastes like tofu. We enjoyed this dish for what it was — it’s very simple and the chef pulled it off — but for the same reason it’s not the best imitation. We’d spend more time on the sauces than the main event.
“The tofu was that bland tofu, like in the movies where they put cheese on it,” one taster noted.
Read our full review of tofu here
3. Marinated tofu
We never heard a single opinion about this one. In fact, all we heard were negative ones. The best joke came when one taster commented on how funny it was that the tofu looked like something out of a comic book. However, this wasn’t actually a very great fake meat.
4. Vegetable Black bean curry
You would think that a black bean curry would taste like a black bean curry. But this version didn’t have the creamy consistency that some other curry dishes do.
Read our full review of this vegan curry here
5. Kiwi poke
Poke has been done to death, but this might be the best imitation yet. You would be hard-pressed to tell the difference.
“The flavors were all over the place, but as far as taste, it doesn’t taste quite right,” one taster said.
Read our full review of poke here
6. Stir fried tofu
The texture of this tofu just didn’t feel right to us. The meat itself was OK but in no way a rival to meat or even fish.
“It’s good, but not for you,” one taster noted.
Read our full review of stir fried tofu here
7. Isabella pasta with edamame
This dish sounded good! Lots of protein, vegetables and a lot of nutrients. But overall it was underwhelming.
One taster remarked, “It tastes really boring because all it is is tomato sauce with edamame.”
Read our full review of pasta with edamame here
8. Sushi rolls
This sushi roll had a lot of features but none of them made it particularly appealing to us. It lacked the crunchiness and crispy edges that we love about sushi. In fact, it was more of a flat, flaccid mess.
Read our full review of sushi rolls here
9. Antziro burger
This beefless version was one of the worst ones on the list. The flavor was described as runny and bland.
Read our full review of antziro burger here
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