Get ready for an epic battle. Two contestants in the ring to decide which one is the best burger. Best as in tastiest burger, juicy, yummy and all the other words that you would use to describe the best burger in the world. Oh, and both burgers are plant-based!
No meat, no cows, no animal products at all. The burgers I'm talking about are vegetarian burgers (even vegan) aka plant-based. And if you think it'll be boring, tasteless and dry because “nothing can replace real meat” please continue reading. You'll be surprised.
I have to admit, New Zealand is behind in tasty plant-based food (meat replacements). The meat-free alternatives that are “100% Pure New Zealand” are what meat eaters would expect from “fake meat”: tasteless and boring.
Luckily several countries in the Northern Hemisphere are ahead of New Zealand. Actually, there are a lot of South Africanm, Dutch, Canadian or American brands that have created tasty meat replacement (“fake meat”) products. For now, we're just going to focus on the Golden Boys of fake meat: Beyond Meat vs the Impossible Burger.
Or as the NZ Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) calls them: “Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods seek to disrupt the US beef sector… are attracting significant capital for investment when compared to other global companies attempting to achieve plant-based replacement products.”
Taste always wins
But let's be honest… It shouldn't matter what your burger is made of. As long as it:
- tastes great
- doesn't have a big, negative impact on the environment.
Flavour comes first. Tasty food always wins. Let's bite into these two popular plant-based burgers.
You can't buy the Impossible Burgers in any shop as they're sold via food outlets, like Fatburger, in the USA. They cannot be found in New Zealand. On my recent road trip, I popped into a Fatburger in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can't play blackjack all the time. 🙂 You need to refuel every once in a while.
At US$15 (vegan version) or US$16, if you add real cheese, it is more expensive than the average beef burger on the Fatburger menu.
When the burger arrives it looks and smells just like a regular burger. The patty is just as thin as a regular beef patty from the average fast-food joint. However, as soon as you bite into the Impossible Burger magic happens. It tastes exactly like a burger with a meat patty (trust me, I know what real meat tastes like as I haven't been a vegetarian all my life).
Is this real? Did someone switch the patty for a real one? Tasting just the patty, it's tasteful, juicy and a bit crumbly like a real meat patty. Yes, it really isn't meat it's fake meat, but it comes so close. The Impossible Burger is one hell of a burger. The average meat-eater won't know the difference if they accidentally go for this one. Wow. Impressive.
It is soooo good that I went back to Fat Burger a few days later to have another Impossible Burger.
On the other hand, there is Beyond Meat. Their plant-based patties (and other meat-like products) are available in New Zealand, also in shops. Lord of the Fries (meat-free fast-food place) has added 'em to their already tasty vegetarian burger menu.
You can upgrade any of the original or spicy burgers to a Beyond Meat patty. Replacing the regular vegetarian patty with a Beyond Meat patty costs NZ$4. As I went for the original burger (a simple burger to be able to taste more of the patty) the costs were $NZ11 + NZ$4 upgrade which came to a total of NZ$15.
The burger itself looked more or less the same as the one from Fat Burger, as a regular burger. The patty is twice as thick as the Impossible patty. The taste is softer than you would expect from such a thick patty. It is juicy, great texture (you can see the “fibres”) and just plain tasty. Another very tasty plant-based burger. Perfect for the vegetarian geek looking for a quick and tasty snack.
And the winner is….
Well, there are simply no losers here… Both the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat burger are super tasty. Definitely a better alternative than the tofu stuff or New Zealand / Aussie plant-based brands that are on the market. Personally, I prefer the Impossible Burger as that one tastes amazing. And it will be able to convince meat-eaters to try something different (aka plant-based) for a change.
But I won't say no to a Beyond Meat burger. It tastes extremely good and it is available in shops here in New Zealand.