Soy Chicken Review: Friend or Foul Fowl?

Gentle Readers, lean in close, it’s confession time. For many many years, I was a vegetarian but not a particularly good one. I was more of a cheesetarian, with a side of veggie burgers. Now that TPCs Jr have declared themselves to be vegetarians, I feel far more invested in expanding their diet.

Bubbling Hot Tofu Soup from Vit Goal

Bubbling Hot Tofu Soup from Vit Goal

All of that said, it boils down to a simple conundrum: I like tofu, they do not. The Youngest could write an ode to her dislike of the stuff, but I have not yet thrown in the tofu-water soaked towel. So while I’m not crazy over the idea of “meat substitutes,” I use them. I would much prefer each meal to be a lovingly prepared and balanced variety of veggies, legumes, and more, but let’s keep it real people.

Gardein Teriyaki Chick'n Strips

Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips

Enter Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips. I typically find soy chicken one of the more noxious offerings, but TPCs Jr loved it at a local Chinese place. So I bought a package as an experiment. OMG. They probably lace the sauce package with fairy dust, but this stuff is actually good.

I can't believe it's not chick'n!

I can’t believe it’s not chick’n!

First, it is chicken strip shaped, but the texture is way better than typically found. Second, the sauce is nicely balanced. It has umami. It’s a blend of salt, tang, and sugar that works. Cook some rice or noodles, steam some broccoli, pan-steam a few veggie dumplings, boil some edamame. Dinner is served.

Full fake Chinese meal!

Full fake Chinese meal!

And it is served at 1/4 of the price of getting the exact same thing at the local Chinese place. I still consider this cheating, and file it as “vegetarian junk food,” but it is incredibly good. The three of us can plow through a package, so for a large appetite group or more people, you may want to double down.

I won't lie, this soy chicken is tasty.

I won’t lie, this soy chicken is tasty.

Highly recommended for anyone who has to work and feed gourmands. I still hold out hope they’ll fall in love with tofu (they eat edamame by the bushel), but until then, to the Gardein I go.

What’s your stance on meat substitutes? Post a comment below or Tweet my way. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Coming up Sunday, it’s Weekly Menu Time! or How to Cook in Chaos.

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