Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is it a bird? An animal? No, it's mock meat - Food Reviews - Food - Life - The Times of India


Hundred per cent vegetarian chicken, duck, pork and fish
    • It's a dream come true for those who love meat but don't want blood on their hands. Adventurous vegetarians, bored with run-of-the-mill greens, and health maniacs - who love the protein-rich, cholesterol-free simulation food - are freaking on it too. Little wonder then that faux meat or mock meat is gradually but certainly making its presence felt in restaurants and supermarts in the country's metros.

      Edward Wang's upmarket China Garden in Mumbai has an entire menu of mock meat - vegchick, vegduck, vegprawn and veglamb - that made its debut last year and has stayed on, spurred by loyalists such as Avanti Birla, Babita Kapoor and Mana Shetty. It was in China at a Buddhist restaurant that Wang first tasted vegetarian meat made from soya protein, yam, potatoes, seaweed and corn. Today, he imports kilos of canned mock meat from China that is sliced and made to look, smell and taste like the real thing in India. "The dishes are 15 per cent more expensive than vegetarian food but the health benefits are many," he says. Delhi's meat-loving population too seems more than happy to savour the new flavour. At the oriental restaurant The Yum Yum Tree, the faux Peking duck in hoisin sauce comes very close to what the real thing looks, feels and tastes like. Owner Varun Tuli says the demand for mock meat always surpasses the supply. "About 10 per cent of the vegetarian food sales belong to mock meat," he says giving the credit to "Delhi's changing gastronomy and evolved culinary knowledge".
    • One of these is Mumbai's Godrej Nature's Basket. The popularity of specific mock meat products is steadily growing at this food chain, the choices directly reflecting the popularity of certain meats in India. "Mock chicken is the most popular," says Mohit Khattar, MD, Godrej Nature's Basket, who points out that vegetarian chicken sausages and hot dogs are the fastest selling products in that range.
    • With inputs from Kanika Dhawan

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