Fast Veg: Burger King
Last Autumn I walked into a McDonalds for the first time in months, and I decided to have the vegetable burger: a Vegetable McFeast, as it happened. I thought about how little difference the lack of fresh prime beef made to the experience since, by and large, the particular variety of garnish and sauce made it a McFeast in the first place, rather than, say, a Big Mac. Last week Mikko brought a vegan pizza from a line of cheap supermarket pizzas into a Pixelache meeting and I had a similar reaction.
I have therefore decided to explore this hypothesis: that taking the meat out of takeaway food need do nothing much to the taste or the experience. Today I found myself walking through Itis without having eaten lunch and I decided to perform the first test. Since I had had a McFeast a few months ago I opted to start with Burger King. I went up to the counter and ordered a Veggie Burger meal. I got this:
The burger unwrapped
With the paper wrapper opened the burger looked like an average burger in a sesame bun.
The burger inside
Here lay the problem. The salad and sauce seemed quite meagre, and I immediately recalled that I used to eat Vegetable Whoppers in London in the nineties. They had all the trimmings of a meat Whopper with the meat patty replaced by one made from crushed corn, pepper, potato and carrots. They felt big in your hands, whereas this feels more like a standard cheeseburger.
The meal cost 6.45€. It consisted of the burger, fries, and a soda water.
The burger contains 390 calories and includes 22g of protein, 42g of carbohydrates, 9g of sugar and 15g of fat. I contains just over 1g of salt.
The vegetable patty tasted noticeably different from a meat patty when I started eating. However as I sat and ate while reading the overall experience converged with my memories of eating “normal” burgers. In other words, when I didn’t pay much attention to what I put in my mouth I noticed nothing especially better or worse about the vegetable burger. If I stopped to think I could definitely taste a difference and feel a difference in the texture. By the end I felt as though I had eaten in Burger King: I felt I had had the genuine experience, not a substitute. As a side note, the fries surprised me. They had some actual substance and taste.
I decided that next time I came to Burger King I would definitely choose a Veggie Burger rather than a standard burger; but I would much prefer a Vegetable Whopper if I had the option.
Finally I found one additional advantage to ordering the Veggie Burger. They didn’t have one on the serving hatch and they had to make it freshly. I had a hot burger in the best possible condition. This, of course, will only work as long as I remain in a small minority.