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Two Meatlovers Ride Into Vegietown

"It tastes like real meat, honestly. You'll love it!"

Thus spoke our earnest vegetarian dining companions. Pete had asked me tag along to a dinner, and seeing an opportunity to eat food that I didn't have to cook, I happily obliged. When I asked where we were going she said, "It's some vegetarian place where they have stuff that tastes and looks like real meat but it isn't." Hmmm.

While the others carefully pondered the menu, Pete and I sniggered at the illustrations. There was a photo of the chef with a big fake grin, his arms spread wide displaying his delightful range of big fake food. There were chicken drumsticks, prawns, spare ribs and even lobster! All carefully moulded into the appropriate shapes from tofu and whatnot.

There was something interesting on the menu called Mocked Chicken. Prepared fresh from their big vat of Mock out the back I suppose. Or as someone suggested, maybe the chef yells at the poor little fakeass chicken, "Oh you are crap! You're not a real chicken!" and that gives the dish its mocked goodness.

We let the vegetarians pick the dishes, but had to choose our own entree. I went with the Curry Puffs, nothing in those would need to be imitated. But brave Pete chose the "Chicken" Drumsticks.

And what a bizarre concoction they were. Layer upon layer of something that resembled a bandage wrapped around a paddlepop-stick drumstick. Pete ate very slowly and carefully and smiled very slowly and carefully.

"Isn't it great!" beamed one of the vegetarians, "It's just the real thing, the texture, the skin…" (… the paddlepop stick!)

"Yes!" said Pete with alarming conviction. "It really does taste like chicken!"

The mains were interesting. There was Honey "Chicken" and Mongolian "Lamb" and Asam "Fish". It was even moulded into a fish shape. I expected they'd put a thousand toothpicks inside it to simulate pesky fish bones, but no. It looked quite fishy, but no fish I know wobbles back and forth in spongy fashion when you try to cut it.

The "chicken" was actually alright, except for the way it dissolved in my mouth after one bite. The "lamb" wasn't very lamby but not too bad.

Then they urged us to try the Chili Mushroom dish. "This one is so wild and hot, you'll have really wacky dreams tonight. And it's funny, the mushrooms taste more like beef than mushrooms."

It was like a mouthful of shoe. Hot chilli shoe. Why did they feel the need to fake a mushroom? What's wrong with a real mushroom?

But overall it wasn't too bad. Before I knew it, the impatient waitresses had snatched our plates away and we were out in the chilly night, chatting away. I felt my stomach twinge slightly.

Back in the car, I asked Pete how did she like her drumsticks.

"They were fucking disgusting!"

"Oh! Thank god!"

"What about that bit where they said I bet you could put this food in front of a meat eater and they wouldn't know the difference!?"

"Ha! Yes! If it wasn't for the paddlepop stick, I wouldn't have known!"

We fled to the pub to cleanse our palettes, but this only increased the tumbledryer turbulence in the tummy. I feel much better today, but I think I am all Mocked out for the rest of my life.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


31 thoughts on “Two Meatlovers Ride Into Vegietown

  1. PS: This is not a Vegie Bashing entry so please don’t hurt me. All I’m saying is I likes me meat.

  2. Ha! That’s classic!

    I don’t have anything against veggies, but I think I would definitely be a tad wary of veggie-meat…

  3. Heh. My mother makes something called Mock Chicken. But it doesn’t involve tofu at all. It’s cheese and tomato and all sorts of other things, maybe some eggs, and I don’t know how it works, but it actually does taste like chicken. Bizarre.

  4. obligied…

    Poor Miss Shauners. We need some of that Linda McCartney faux meat. That’s actually LIKE meat and tasty, too. And Quorn. Which, bizarrely, is synthesised protein that resembles chicken. …And is also good if you don’t pay attention to how weird the perfect texture is. I don’t think you can get them in woolies though.

    Hope your poor tummy is better.

  5. good lord! what a stupid typo, thanks monkey 🙂
    what the hell is Quorn?
    my tummy is fine but poor Pete threw up… must have been the faux drumsticks…

  6. Wow, that place sounds scary! Remind me never to go there.

    I think it’s funny, though. Are there vegetarians out there who like to eat that sort of thing? I guess there must be.

    (your roast lamb was great)

  7. i don’t get this mock stuff. vegetables taste good so why go around inpersonating meat?

    and another thing, you don’t see us canivores eating mock lentils or mock tofu so why do they get mock meat.

  8. i’ve been meaning to go to kingsland for a while now, even just to see their lobster which isn’t. now i don’t think i will. poor pete. poor shauny’s tummy…

    remind me to make you my not-shepherd’s pie. it’s called shepherdess pie and it’s made with more beans than should really be legal.

  9. Heh. Isn’t the idea of mock meat kind of… a cop out; i mean, if I were to go vego, I just wouldn’t bother with that stuff, and just eat vegetables that aren’t dressed up as lamb.

    I’m pretty sure that in a few years they’ll all be growing cows without brains in vats, and then everyone will be happy.

  10. Awright, you Aussie chauvinist, what’s a paddlepop? Aounds like a cross between a lollipop and a ping-pong paddle.

  11. Sounds like whoever thought that stuff tasted like meat hadn’t eaten meat in a long, long time.

    Monkey’s right about that Linda McCartney stuff. I like the lasagnias (I can’t remember how to spell it, so I anglicised it, lest I write something unintelligible instead). Actually, I don’t think I’ve eaten any Linda McCartney stuff except for the lasagnias. They came out like ordinary, mass-produced, microwave lasagnias, except they had to be cooked in a conventional oven. So, erm, I s’pose they only really work for people who like junky food.

  12. thanks for making me laugh in a.m. hours shauny – hard to do normally, but i have tears in my eyes and a smile on my dial now. hee hee.

  13. Right on. Sis became a vegematarian in her early teens (the troublemaker!) — even vegan for a little while — and asked Mom to buy her some of the then-newfangled tofu dogs. When she took her first bite she was all “oh oh oh, I can’t eat this, it’s too much like real meat”, the twit! In fact its effect on the palate was more like bean ‘n beef toothpaste.

  14. Yes, I went to a 21st birthday at a Chinese-faux-meat restaurant once, and that was exactly what it was like. Faux chicken, faux sharks-fin-soup. What’s wrong with a nice black bean vege stir fry WITHOUT the fake meat? I’d quite happily tuck into a real vegetarian feast, without anything pretending to be anything else.

    As Douglas Coupland says “… by eating “burgers” aren’t you just still buying into the “meat concept?” Tofu hot dogs are merely an isotope of meat. If you yourself are a vegetarian, but still dream of burgers, then all you really are is a cryptocarnivore.

  15. When I lived in Germany they would turn Marzipan into freakin everything.

    It still makes me shudder remembering those little marzipans cooked game hens and bratwursts. laying in an atractive display case near the front door. With those fat little German boys, pulling on their mothers dresses and stuffing their mouths with licorish.

  16. i dont think these mutant meat/veggie dishes are made to fool vegetarians into thinking they are eating meat. perhaps they are meant for meat eaters in transition to a ‘healthier’ diet. i am a meat eater but i am definitely going to more and more vegetables. it makes sense in so many ways. the thought of the suffering of helpless animals to satisfy my craving for dead flesh is starting to bother me. i guess part of it is a philosophical idea that the entire biosphere is all inter connected and that all of this matters somehow somewhere in the scheme of things.

  17. ‘Cryptocarnivore’ is such a good word!

    It reminds me of something someone said about the rules in the Old Testament for how meat had to be drained of its blood before being eaten. The theory was that it was to prevent people from taking bites out of passing animals when they felt a bit peckish. (I’m a little skeptical of that theory, but I like it, just for the mental image).

  18. Hey, if you have a week off, how about I come over and see you? I could bring broth made of something that once clucked.

  19. Hey Shauny,
    Was that the place tucked into the corner of the little cafe square at Dickson shops?

    I went there once with a vegetarian girl I was trying to impress by, well, not eating meat, and spent my whole time laughing at the menu.

    I ordered the one thing on the menu that had just vegetables – no tofu.

    Suffice it to say, it didn’t work out for us. Sniff.

  20. I flirted with vegetarianism for awhile back in the mid-nineties. I took one look at a tofu burger and ran screaming for the hills.

  21. Cryptocarnivore! Yes, that is so true. I’ve always found the idea of ‘vegetarian bacon bits’ positively gruesome. Urk. Sometimes the smell of bacon grosses me out, but faux bacon. Eeeeuuuuwww.

    If I were strong enough to be vegetarian, I would stick to the legumes and tofu… moulded in the shape of a pumpkin. A pumpkin-shaped carriage… for no reason in particular other than Cinderella fantasies.

  22. ooh. i think i know the accursed restaurant you went to. now, what i didn’t understand (i was too lazy to read through the millions of comments above to see if anyone already mentioned it).. i don’t understand why they do it. at all. i did go out with a strict vegetarian for three years (thus therefore i became an honorray vegetarian), and my girlfriend before that was a vego as well, and it’s not an anti-vegie thing in my mind.. but, why try and fool people into thinking they’re eating meat? i could go on forever.. but i guess i’ll leave that for another day. and on my own damn blog too. i’ve now read other people’s comments, and i see what larry’s pointing out. i’ll agree with that. it’s still a stupid idea though. reminds me of that episode of everybody loves raymond where his mom cooks that turkey..

    *hides is fear of shauny*

  23. ahoy. i never understand why some of my fellow veggie companions deliberately go for the “just like meat!” products.

    though, i do like my man meat. bwahahaha.

  24. I love vegie food. I love meat. But I will kill any chef who tries to tell me that vegies taste like meat. Not even mushrooms taste like meat. I love hommus, falafel and all that good shit, but just leave it in a ball or a pattie and stop sticking paddlepop sticks in it and calling it Lamb or Chicken.

  25. Just lay of kingsland shauna! I am actually very very fond of the assam fish!!!! and besides the point is not for the food to taste like actual carcass, its for variety, and so that places like this can actually attract good aussie carcass lovers to try something different!!!, anyway how r u going?

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