Ö I donít understand meatless hamburgers. It confounds me even more when vegans want to recreate the look and taste of hamburgers using plant-based or alternative-protein. I always figured if you donít eat meat, you likely wouldnít ever desire anything that even resembles a juicy all-beef pattyÖ
Vegan burgers instead of steak? Forget it, Iíll stick with the real thing every time
∑ You can keep your meat-free products and anything that is a substitute for a juicy all-beef patty, argues Andrew Sun
∑ Tasty grilled portobello mushrooms or a thick bean stew are much better vegetarian options, he says
Andrew Sun, Opinion, South China Morning Post†
10 Apr, 2019
I donít understand meatless hamburgers. It confounds me even more when vegans want to recreate the look and taste of hamburgers using plant-based or alternative-protein. I always figured if you donít eat meat, you likely wouldnít ever desire anything that even resembles a juicy all-beef patty.
As an omnivore, I like almost everything Ė steak, fish, lamb, pasta, and occasionally, Iíll even enjoy substantial vegetarian dishes like roast squash and root vegetables, or a baked aubergine. But I donít ever crave a salad made from chicken disguised to look and taste like kale and lettuce.
I just donít understand ordering a veggie version of a meat dish. And I donít mean a Caesar salad without the bacon. Iím talking about replacing glazed ham with grilled watermelon. Whoís fooling themselves with such fake meat substitutes?
Making one type of food look like another might be a fine one-time novelty, but to order such imitation grub on a regular basis smacks of a kind of denial. Itís like saying youíre over your old girlfriend but then you consistently date other women who look exactly like her.
If youíre going to go meat-free, just order a grilled portobello mushroom or a thick bean stew. A vegan burger just seems like painting a minivan red and calling it a Ferrari. Or wanting Lululemon to tailor you a stretchy yoga tuxedo. No doubt they can do it but whatís the point?
I suspect some meatless burger eaters still like meat but theyíre abstaining from a place of guilt. It might be an ethical thing, it might be health concerns, or they think another Big Mac will push the planet over the edge to eco-disaster.
Thereís nothing wrong with chefs playing around with food and creating culinary illusions. Remember when restaurants served salads in terracotta pots so they resembled a bouquet of flowers? Thatís clever and cute. Remember when Hong Kong molecular-gastronomy restaurant Bo Innovation served an edible condom? Yes, it was gross and provocative, but also daring and gutsy.
Sometimes there are practical, valid reasons for imitation foods. I appreciate turkey bacon at hotel breakfasts in the Middle East. Fake sharkís fin soup at a Chinese banquet has all the flavour and none of the environmental crime. When I donít feel like having alcohol at Happy Hour, I order American beer.
Buddhist Chinese restaurants have been creating mock meat dishes for years. Gluten and bean curd are manipulated into facsimile stir-fried beef, sweet and sour pork, and braised duck. Some places even offer a goofy faux vegetarian sushi.
I can accept the quirky appeal of such foods, but not their relevance to any kind of authentic cuisine. A friend suggested a valid reason monks invented mock meats was to wean new disciples off their animal-flesh diet. Being Buddhist meant you didnít have to give up pork belly. It would just be made from seitan
However, the conscientious fake-burger diner chooses to eat such imitation dishes. If itís a moral choice then I respectfully applaud them. If itís for their health, well, I remind them margarine was once a healthy alternative to butter. How did that work out?
Recently, I tried Impossible Foodsís new 2.0 version of their meatless beef burger in Hong Kong and, I admit, it is remarkably close to the real deal in its taste, texture and colour. If it helps the world reduce its consumption of cows, Iím all for it. But would I chose it over real beef? Not a chance...