There’s a little vegetarian store near Rijnhaven that I always see when I look out the window while travelling through Rotterdam in the metro. It’s called De Nieuwe U and I passed the store many times before I finally decided to go have a look. I found a couple of things that I had been trying to find for a while, such as tamarind paste (yay!). I also discovered a big freezer full of vegetarian mock meat products. As you can see on their website, those products include vegetarian fish, ham, chicken, meat balls, oysters, shrimp, duck, sausages, different kinds of steak… So many things! I was a little creeped out because all these veggie meats seem to resemble the real animal products so much, but I wanted to try something anyway.
After double-checking the ingredients to make sure I didn’t accidentally end up with real chicken (silly, I know), I decided on the Vegetarian Chicken Steak. At first, I wasn’t sure how to prepare it (The package suggests having it “fried with soy oil, microwave, oven, sliced then scramble with vegetable”), but eventually I just cut one into slices and added it to a stir-fry. In order to taste the steaks more properly, I also tried them in a sandwich:
I fried the steaks in a little olive oil and served them on a multigrain bread roll with peanut sauce (because I think that’s how some people eat real chicken meat?).
I have to say… I’m still a little creeped out by the flavour. It does really taste like chicken, apparently, because my boyfriend even asked if I was sure this meal was vegetarian. He says it not only tastes like a real chicken burger, but like a good quality chicken burger, too. It’s not that I don’t like the steaks (and I will probably buy something similar again), it’s just that I prefer other things that don’t resemble chicken so much. I’d rather have an Alpro filet or a chickpea cutlet or a bean burger, to be honest.
Still, I don’t want to sound too negative about the products (or the vegetarian shop)! I think it’s great that people are able to make vegan dishes that look and taste so close to non-vegan foods. I’d like to know more about how meat eaters like all these vegan chicken/fish/beef analogues! It would be great if all those products made it easier for some people to eat more vegetarian dishes.
I really liked De Nieuwe U, too. It’s a rather small store and the man who was working there at the time didn’t speak a lot of Dutch, but I’d love to go back sometime and try out a few more of the vegetarian items! Apparently they sell many different kinds of tea, too, but I haven’t looked at those yet.