Impossible Foods & Plant-Based Substitutes: Do They Taste Like The Real Deal?
Crabless crab cake? Vegan cheese? Here's the verdict.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably have heard of Impossible Foods, which has partnered with numerous restaurants in Singapore to offer plant-based substitutes for dishes traditionally made with meat.
Today, you can get your hands on burgers, meatballs, pizzas, dumplings, and even satay made with Impossible Foods’ plant-based substitutes.
But here’s the question… is it obvious that these dishes are, in fact, vegetarian? Or do they taste like the real deal?
We recently had the chance to try several plant-based dishes as Meat: The Alternative, hosted by Shangri-La, AgFunder and Makana Ventures. One particular dish – the trio of “meatballs” with sgagliozze, truffle plant-based mayonnaise and vegan cheese – stood out as being particularly impressive, with everyone agreeing unanimously that it tasted no different from meat.
Meatballs aside, we were also pleasantly surprised by the vegan cheese, which mimicked the texture and taste of real cheese perfectly. This was made with cassava, a root vegetable and tuber crop that’s essential to Latin America cooking.
Another dish that won us over was the crabless crab cake with green kale and sesame and plant-based mayonnaise.
Again, we wouldn’t have been able to tell that this wasn’t made out of real crab; we see this as a great canape option if you’re entertaining a large crowd, and want to have vegetarian options for your guests who don’t eat meat.
That said, the other dishes we tried were less convincing than the meatballs and crab cake. First up, there was the arepas with mushroom “meat”, aubergine, lemongrass and cress.
Here, the texture of the mushroom was a pretty obvious tell. This tastes like the standard mock meat that you get at vegetarian cai png (read: economic rice) stalls.
There was also the avocado roll with confit young jackfruit marinated with seaweed and lemon:
This sounded like one of the more intriguing dishes on the menu, but it didn’t turn out to be one of our favourites. Our two main gripes: the lemon was too overpowering, and the textures and flavours of the avocado and jackfruit meshed too well together, making it hard for us to taste the different components. Like the mushroom arepas, you wouldn’t confuse this with actual meat.
Our final dish of the evening was the cricket flour cocoa rocher, served with 64% Caraibe mousse and chocolate chips. Yes, you read that right – we said cricket flour.’
For the uninitiated, cricket flour is touted as the next big thing in sustainable protein. Cricket protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a “complete” or “whole” protein. As an added bonus, it takes significantly less resources to farm crickets than livestock, so you’re doing your part to save the environment when you consume cricket powder in place of meat.
While cricket powder isn’t plant-based, it does fall into the category of alternative meats and protein. Our verdict: We felt that the cocoa rocher had a slightly gritty texture and a somewhat funky aftertaste, but all in all, it wasn’t too offensive.
Have you tried Impossible Foods (or other plant-based substitutes and alternative meats)? Can you tell the difference between these and traditional meat? Let us know in the comments below!
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