Mock Meat

Even though Raquel and I are still fine with eating poultry and seafood, we now avoid eating mammalian meat as much as possible. But once in a while, we would crave for red meat. Whenever we do, we have to resort to so-called mock meat.

Mock meat is a term used to describe meat that is not made out of real meat. It is typically based from wheat gluten, soy, grains, and mushrooms. It is “meat” that is supposed to have the same taste and texture of the meat it is trying to imitate.

For pork and beef, since we want to avoid eating it, we have no choice but to resort to mock meat when craving for them. For other types of meat such as poultry, we still enjoy eating the fake versions. The fake honey chicken dish still tastes like real honey chicken. The fake sweet and sour fish dish still tastes like real sweet and sour fish dish with the added bonus that the fake fish doesn’t have small bones you have to pick and it actually tasted a lot better than actual fish.

There are other reasons, too. With mock meat, no animal had to die or suffer. Mock meat should also be low in cholesterol, high in fibre and low fat. So even if you accidentally over-ate, though still bad, the health impact should be lower than if you over-ate the same amount of real meat. Click here for 10 reasons why meat alternatives could be better than real meat.

Last Sunday, we went out with a vegetarian friend of ours for lunch. We originally planned to have lunch at Enlightened Cuisine for some delicious sweet and sour fish or Chinese barbecue roast pork (chasao). However, while looking at their website Sunday morning, we discovered that they weren’t open that noon, only at dinner time on Sundays.

We had to find an alternative restaurant for our mock meat cravings. I went to the Vegetarian Network Victoria website to look at their Vegetarian Restaurants listing for Melbourne. After reading through the list for Chinese vegetarian restaurants opened for business for Sunday lunch-time, we decided to try this restaurant in Doncaster:

Natural & Healthy Vegetarian Restaurant
747 Doncaster Road, Doncaster VIC 3108
Ph: 03 9848 8092
Opening hours: Mon 5pm-10pm; Wed-Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 12noon-3pm & 5pm-11pm; Sun 12noon-3pm & 5pm-10pm
BYO/Licensed: BYO
Features: Chinese and Malaysian cuisine; yum cha for lunch from Friday to Sunday; vegetarian ‘meats’ made from gluten/soy protein; mostly vegan foods except those dishes that contain honey or egg; all dishes free of onion, garlic, chives and leek; seats 40 people.

It was a bit far from Werribee but the food was pretty good. The only problem I have was that the menu was a bit limited specially compared to Enlightened Cuisine’s. I had the barbecue roast pork with rice while Raquel had beef and sweet corn with rice and our friend had roast duck with rice. The roast pork was close to real Chinese roast pork. I also underestimated how full I was so I ordered their pork bun (siopao). It was great! It tasted like siopao asado back in the Philippines without having to eat any pig fat. I’ll definitely eat there again if we are ever in Doncaster.

That Sunday, it got me thinking that maybe we could cook some mock meat at home, too. And because it is Holy Week, it is just as well since we shouldn’t be eating any meat at all except for seafood until Easter. So at the grocery later that day, I picked up Sanitarium’s Vegie Delight Classic Soy Rashers which, according to Irar’s bacon-loving friend, looks, feels and tastes like real bacon. Well, if her friend says so.

Today, I cooked the rashers for breakfast along with some scrambled eggs and toasted multi-grain bread for a continental breakfast. It was delicious, just like I remembered it from when I was a child. I avoided eating bacon growing up because I found the fat on the bacon disgusting. But now with these soy rashers, I eat “bacon” whenever I want.

Then during lunch, we decided to try the Lord of the Fries stall at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Street in the city. It is primarily a take-away shop that sells French Fries (also called simply as chips here) that comes with your choice of sauces. We’ve tried Lord of the Fries before but found their chips to be on the salty side. The only reason we went there again was because it was also listed in the Vegetarian Restaurants listing on the Vegetarian Network Victoria site.

Lord of the Fries
Shop 9A, 26 Elizabeth Street (Cnr Flinders Street), Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: 03 9654 5673 or 0423 067 175
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-late
BYO/Licensed: No
Features: ‘Best fries you’ll ever try’. Hand cut French Fries topped with any variety of 10 internationally inspired sauces e.g. Belgian Mayonnaise, Mexican, Indian, Thai Satay. Mini and big fresh-made TVP burgers available in Original or Spicy flavours. Sunflower oil, sea salt and free-range eggs are used. Vegan topping options available and burgers are vegan if cheese is omitted. Gluten free and OGF (onion garlic free) diets catered for. Three meal deals available. Fast and friendly service. 3D viewer at front to keep you amused. Take away only.

I was surprised to discover on the listing that the “burgers” served at Lord of the Fries are actually made of mock meat! Raquel and I bought the spicy flavoured burgers. It was amazing. It tasted like burgers sold at Burger Machine in the Philippines. Okay, so Burger Machine burgers aren’t exactly the best tasting burgers around but since I haven’t been home for a long time now, I enjoy anything that reminded me of the Philippines. Anyway, the point was that it tasted like an actual burger and not some vegie patty pretending to be a burger.

The burgers were supposed to be made out of TVP. I should buy TVP (textured vegetable protein) mince one day and maybe Raquel can cook up some better tasting burgers with it. Supposedly, Sanitarium also sells TVP Vege-Mince but I have yet to see it at Coles or Safeway. Maybe we should try going to one of the Vegetarian shops in town. Maybe we’ll also find other mock meat products there.

Fake meat has come a long way. I remember my first encounter with it back in the early 90’s. My Mom bought something called “vegiemeat” in the shape of burger patties from a friend of hers. When cooked, it looked and tasted nothing like actual meat. But my latest encounters with mock meat has certainly changed my mind about eating it. I think it is a good alternative to actual meat even if you are not a vegetarian. I’ll definitely look for other places where I can get these products.

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Published in: on April 11, 2006 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment