I'm a sucker for weird veggie-friendly foods! I especially love discovering what other countries and cultures do to replicate their meaty dishes in veggie friendly formats.
So I was delighted to find a local store to me selling all manner of Chinese meat-substitutes - including these amazing looking "Chicken" Drumsticks!
I ordered a bunch and cooked them up.
The "bone" sticking out of the end is bamboo. Chewable and sweet - but probably not for swallowing unless you really need extra roughage in your system!
The processed "meat" around it is delicious. A perfectly spiced mix of protein, mushroom, veggies and miscellaneous stuff. As with lots of foods, it is the seasoning and texture which makes the meal.
What should we call this product?
The Chinese word for chicken is 鸡. But this product is sold as 鳳 - "phoenix" in traditional script. I love that.
There's a slightly silly discussion going on at the moment - "Veggie discs to replace veggie burgers in EU crackdown on food labels". Should veggie things be allowed to name themselves after meaty things?
Is a disc of mushed veggies, or mushroom, or mycoprotein, a burger? Yes. I don't know any normal part of a healthy animal which is shaped like a burger. And the bits of animals shaped like hotdogs are rarely eaten.
I've eaten vegetarian food around the world and, yes, it can be confusing going to a restaurant in a foreign country and not knowing if the "Gemüse Lasagne" is actually vegetarian or merely served with vegetables.
It is weird going to a veggie restaurant and being served "mock duck" and "mock beef" and all manner of things which aren't-really-meat-but-we-need-to-pretend-they-are-for-some-reason. I get that we often refer to new things by comparing them to the things we already know.
I don't really care if the stuff I'm eating is called "Fakon" or fake bacon or textured soya strips in paprika or Dragon Flank. As long as that Ⓥ symbol is prominent, I think we can all enjoy the foods we want.