VeganMoFo 29: De Nieuwe U & Vegetarian Chicken Steak

De Nieuwe U - Tea/Vegetarian Store in Rotterdam

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.

Vegetarian Chicken Steak

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:

Vegan chicken steak with peanut sauce

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.

5 thoughts on “VeganMoFo 29: De Nieuwe U & Vegetarian Chicken Steak

  1. I love to find new little veggie havens; it’s so fun to explore. I’m with you, anything too meat-like puts me off completely. Have a good weekend.

  2. I agree with you on the too real mock meats! Once I got malay satay (‘meat’ skewers) made from mushrooms and was really really creeped out by the texture. It even had that fibrous ‘meat’ strands. gross. I didn’t dare to have another stick…

  3. A quick word of caution: if these mock meats are foreign-made, bear in mind that your national food safety guidelines that you rely upon do not exist in the origin country. The ones that exist in the origin country will be different, and in many cases may not be as strict. For example, rules may not be as strict regarding the manufacturing process, which ingredients go into the product, and which ingredients are listed on the label. Even here in the US the government allows food products containing dairy ingredients to be labeled as “non-dairy.” This is crazy, and indicates that the government has bowed to pressure from industry. This happens many places. Testing of mock meats manufactured in countries such as Taiwan and China have repeatedly found meat and meat byproducts in them. This is disappointing, because Taiwan and China are common origin countries for mock meats. Lesson learned: eat mock meats that are produced locally.

  4. Thank you for your comment.
    Have they really found meat in products such as these? That would be horrible… and gross, mostly. I was a little suspicious of the mock chicken at first, because the packaging looks so different from the things I’m used to buying, and I feel like I have absolutely no idea about who manufactures these products and whether or not someone makes sure their labels are actually correct… but then again, it felt stupid not to trust something just because it’s foreign. I had also seen posts about similar food items online, and the texture seems to resemble the seitan they sell at a local Chinese restaurant.
    Still, it did taste a little funny to me. Other people seemed to love it, though.
    Not sure if I’ll buy it again. Thanks for the heads up, in any case! I think I’ll try a google search on “Gourmet’s Vegi” now…

  5. @Knowthankyou (or anybody else who knows an answer to this question): do you have any more information about real meat in mock meat products?
    Do they find little pieces of real meat in it, or is the whole thing made out of real meat? Or do they find only meat molecules or something like that?
    And do you know what brands have real meat in their mock meat?
    Websites with more information are very welcome!

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