Fast Veg: Hesburger
Apparently I don’t eat burgers very often, even for research purposes. I posted my first report in this series from Burger King on February 23rd, and the second one, from McDonalds, on May 18th . The purpose of doing this, as I explained in the first note, involves testing the hypothesis that “taking the meat out of fast foods need do nothing much to either the taste or the subjective experience”.
Today I have entered Hesburger, the Finnish owned fast food chain, to eat their vegetarian burger. I anticipate something interesting because, in the past, their vegetarian burgers have differed considerably from the other chains. For the last couple of years they offered a falafel burger which I never got round to tasting before they replaced it with something newer and, possibly, trendier.
I go to the counter and order a kaurahärkäpapuhampurilainen ateria.
According to Hesburger’s website
Tämä trendiherkku sisältää härkäpapu-kaura-porkkanapihvin lisäksi tomaattia, jäävuorisalaattia, maustekurkkua ja sipulia. Majoneeseina Hesburgerin paprika- ja kurkkumajoneesi.
Hyvää kasviproteiinia tarjolla!
According to my approximate translation we learn here that
this trendy delicacy consists of a steak made from broad bean, oats and carrot, accompanied by tomato, iceberg lettuce, pickled gherkin and onion. It includes Hesburger’s paprika and cucumber mayonnaise.
Good vegetable protein on offer!
How can I possibly resist an offer like that?
The burger unwrapped
With the paper wrapper opened the burger looked like a usual Hesburger burger in a defiantly sesame-free bun. It came in a cardboard tube to stop it falling apart in the wrapper. I removed this before taking the photograph.
The burger inside
The cardboard tube that housed the burger came off covered in sauce. I soon realised the reason for this: the burger itself contained a very generous, perhaps over-generous, serving of Hesburger’s secret sauce (available in bottles in Finnish supermarkets), some of it hidden out of sight below the lettuce. The burger looked solid, in a good way, the sauce seemed satisfactory, and I certainly couldn’t fault either the tomato or the lettuce.
When I started eating, the burger felt and tasted quite different from the previous two. It did not feel at all soggy or sloppy and had a distinctive crunchy texture somewhere inside it. I don’t mean that the burger itself felt crunchy, although it did feel pleasantly solid. Rather it felt as though it housed crunchy bits in the way that some chocolate bars do; and this noticeably added to the mouth feel.
It also had an interesting and pleasant after-taste which lingered for some time.
The meal cost 7.60€. It consisted of the burger, fries, and a Coke Zero Sugar.
The burger contains 616 calories and includes 14.6g of protein, 59.9g of carbohydrates, 9.1g of sugar and 37.4g of fat. It also contains 1.8g of salt.
When I looked up the figures afterwards I found that I had guessed correctly. I had not imagined the differences I noticed. This burger had a very different composition to the other two. At Burger King the vegetarian option weighed in at 390 calories with 22g of protein and 42 grams of carbohydrates. At MacDonalds the Vegetable Feast weighed in at 494 calories and included 13 grams of protein and 49 grams of carbohydrates.
Hesburger, then, gave me lots more calories, a middling amount of protein and a load more carbohydrates than the others. Maybe that explains why it had a distinct taste rather than just acting as filling for the bun, and why it simply tasted so good!
It might also explain why I still felt full several hours later, an experience I did not have on either of the previous occasions.
As on the previous occasions they had to make the vegetarian burger to order, and so it arrived as fresh and hot as it could possibly get.
I had found it difficult to really distinguish between the offerings from Burger King and McDonalds. I had no difficulty distinguishing Hesburger’s burger from the previous two.
Did I enjoy it more than the other two? Very definitely.
Would I eat one again? Absolutely.