Success! Realistic Fake Chicken Has Arrived, but Will Vegetarians Rejoice?

Apparently, vegetarians who have been enjoying their soy-based meatless chicken are about to get a flavor and texture wake-up call. Researchers have only now cracked the code to realistic-tasting fake chicken with the first soy product that acts like fowl flesh in the mouth.

According to a Time article, the fake meat breakthrough has "the vegetarian world ... buzzing." Tofurky inventor Seth Tibbot is quoted as saying, "Along with ham, chicken has always been the holy grail." Most of the comments on the story fall into the "Fake meat is gross!" category -- be it from vegetarians who cringe at the thought of consuming something that so closely resembles meat or meat eaters who don't understand why everyone can't just enjoy eating animals. Indeed, the question of fake meat is confounding: Why would anyone who wishes to not eat meat eat something that mimics eating meat? And if you can make soy taste like anything, why make it taste like chicken? Why not something better than chicken?

The Time piece paints the discovery as something that, for vegetarians, will be the best thing since sliced Tofurky. But if anything, it's the final sentence that sounds most promising: "Maybe one day you'll order a chicken fajita at Chili's that is made with soy." Fake chicken replacing mass-marketed industrially farmed meat? Now there's a thought. One that self-proclaimed herbivores and true carnivores alike can agree on.

Have a restaurant tip or other food-related news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.


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