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Which chain store has the best vegan meat option? - THE BIG REVIEW

As the vegan meat brands (Beyond Meat, OmniPork, Impossible etc) get into the eyes of consumers in Hong Kong, food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC, race to join the party. Vegan options are no longer like playing “Where's Wally?” on the menu. Here, we give an unprofessional review on some grab-and-go vegan meat options on the menu of Hong Kong chain stores, from cafes to fast food and more!


Let’s start with setting up the bars here. (I am no professional food critic but I know my Maccies burgers and chicken nuggets.) There are three main categories: Western fast food, Chinese food and coffee shop. Everything will be rated on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best! And the following aspects are considered:


Disclaimer: This is a very subjective review, everything is just based on my feelings on the food item, not the brands. And not all food items are covered.


Price

Is the item economic? Since price is often a factor that turning people away from trying a vegan product.


Appearance

We will compare the outlook of the actual product to the one in the commercial.


Accessibility

Is it really easy to buy the item in any of the branches?


“Meaty-ness”

Does it taste like “real” meat? Taste-wise and texture-wise


Taste

Last but not least is taste. We will be focusing on whether the “meat” is in good harmony with the other ingredients in the item


Western Fast-food

McDonald’s (including McCafe)

  1. OmniPork Luncheon and Scrambled Egg Burger

Price: From HKD 20.5 (for a burger) Comment: An acceptable and affordable price as a vegan option in maccies!

Score: 4.5/5


Appearance



Comment: As usual, the actual product doesn’t look as pretty as it is in the commercial. However, I appreciate the authenticity of the thickness of the Luncheon (as Mcdonald’s emphasized it in their advertisement) and the amount of scramble given was out of expectation.

Score: 3/5


Accessibility

The item is available in all the branches in Hong Kong. However, it is only served as a breakfast item which is a bit of a downside.

Score: 4.5/5


“Meaty-ness”

Texture-wise and taste-wise luncheon is “cooperating” quite well with the egg here. The sensation from the egg and the bun kind of covers the lack of “flaky-ness” that you usually get from spam here; and maybe also because of this combination, I would be surprised if someone told me that I was in fact having vegan meat.

Score:3.5/5



Taste

I like the combination of luncheon and scrambled egg. As the “meat” has relatively strong seasoning compared to the egg, the two make a good balance. And it is a very satisfying and protein-packed meal for the morning. But I will have it without mayo next time as it was a bit greasy for me as breakfast.

One thing to notice for strict vegans, the burger contains non-vegan mayo. But it can be removed during the order process.

Score: 4.5/5


Overall score: 20/25


2. OmniPork Luncheon & Egg Cheesy Toast

Price: From HKD 28.5 (for a burger); HKD 34 (for a set) Comment: A little bit pricey considering the portion, but still in an acceptable range

Score: 3.5/5


Appearance




Comment: Nice grill marks but the filling, especially the cheese, was oozing out when I unwrapped the package. It was a bit unappetising even without comparing it with the advertisement.

Score: 2.5/5


Accessibility

The item is available in all the branches in Hong Kong. However, it is also only served as a breakfast item.

Score: 4.5/5


“Meaty-ness”

Not so great compared to the breakfast burger. The weird taste of some vegan meat has really stood out in this case. And because there isn’t another ingredient apart from cheese (which tbh doesn’t contribute to texture), and the toast which is quite thin; the typical “bad” vegan meat image is definitely emphasized here.

Score: 2/5


Taste

Melty cheese and the crispy toast sound amazing. But the cheese and luncheon combo, in this case, doesn’t work out for me. The cheese kind of brought out a funky flavour of the luncheon which made it quite unpleasant to finish the whole sandwich.

Score: 2.5/5


Overall score: 15/25


Chinese Food

Tong Kee Bao Dim and Tong Bao Dim

  1. Vegetable Bun

Price: HKD 7.5 (for the bun) Comment: By far the best deal I have come across regarding vegan meat items!

Score: 4/5


Appearance

Comment: Apart from the filling being less green than that in the commercial, the bun is like the other steamed buns from chain, light and fluffy.

Score: 4/5


Accessibility

The item is available in all the branches in Hong Kong. However, it’s often sold out quickly.

Score: 4.5/5


“Meaty-ness”

With the chopped veggie and season and the fact that it is in "minced pork” form, I will say Tong Bao Dim did a fantastic job here. However, since the proportion of the “meat” isn’t that high in this case, it would be unfair to give a high score.

Score: 4/5

Taste

The “meat” goes really well with the veggie filling, however, it will be better with some chilli oil or chilli flakes.

Score: 3.5/5

Overall score: 20/25


2

Coffee Shops

Starbucks

  1. Spiced Impossible Puff

Price: HKD 35 Comment: A reasonable price for a pastry of its size and the fact that you are having it in Starbucks

Score: 4/5


Appearance



Comment: The actual puff looks 80% like the one in the advertisement, which is quite rare nowadays (excuse my photography skills). The shiny surface caught my eyes before knowing it was the vegan option.

Score: 4.5/5


Accessibility

Though Starbucks said it is available in all the branches in Hong Kong, it seems like only the bigger branches offer them (It took me three shops to finally find one) or they have limited numbers for each shop.

Unlike Mcdonald’s, the puff is served at any time of the day which is a great news for people who want some vegan food during tea time.

Score: 3.5/5


“Meaty-ness”

With 90% of the filling being vegan meat, I would say Impossible did an amazing job here. The texture just hit the spot, with all juice and bounciness of the filling; and there was not even the slightest hint that I was in fact having vegan meat.

Score: 4.5/5


Taste

The filling absolutely amazed me! It is well seasoned and the hint of spiciness just brings the puff up to a next level. Whatsmore, It isn’t dry at all! I don’t know how they do it but there was some juice coming out from the filling. I also like the fact that it is served with some ketchup. The sourness from the sauce takes away the greasiness of the puff pastry. Also, reheating at home is quite easy. I was in a rush so I had to bring the puff along with me. However, even after 2 hours and some reheating in the microwave, the puff still tastes good.

Score: 4.5/5


Overall score: 21/25


Final Thought:

Overall, I am happy with having these options available on the market! Hopefully, more companies and small restaurants will be on board soon.

Even though the scores are similar, I would recommend the Spice Impossible Puff from Starbucks! Apart from the fact that it surprised me most, it is the most successful item in terms of combining vegan meat into daily food. I hope you guys find this review useful!


Other vegan options:

McDonald's (McCafe) - OmniPork Luncheon & Egg Mayo Ciabatta


Tong Kee Bao Dim and Tong Bao Dim - Steamed Rice with OmniPork Strip & Preserved Vegetable



Tong Kee Bao Dim and Tong Bao Dim - OmniPork in Tomato Sauce with Rice





Starbucks - Maize Impossible™ Sandwich



Written by Wing Ki Leung

Edited by Chandni Sacheti

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