Fast Veg 08: Hesburger’s juusto-veke

POSTED: February 13, 2020

I realised over the weekend that I had completely forgotten that vegetarians exist.

Last week we found ourselves passing through Rautatientori, and we paused briefly for a juusto-veke or two at Hesburger. Priced at 1€, and apparently available for only a few weeks, they seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I wondered, while eating, whether the “juusto” consisted of real cheese or vegan cheese. And what about the mayonnaise? I worried about this apparent lack of attention to detail.

While walking on Saturday, it suddenly occurred to me the extent to which veganism has become the new normal. For years vegetarians struggled to avoid meat, without even considering not eating, butter, cheese, and eggs. Vegetarians presumably still exist, and continue to avoid eating meat while happily having butter, cheese and eggs. They just don’t make the news anymore.

Hesburger presumably intend this cheap but tasty snack for vegetarians. I should therefore probably stop worrying about the provenance of the cheese and just enjoy the lack of cow.

Today I stopped in the shops above Kaisaniemi metro for a quick juusto-veke, while on my way to a seminar that did not actually exist. The burger came in a standard Hesburger paper wrapping; this one in a dark brown and white.

I think I expected some sort of green.

The burger unwrapped

Once I have opened the paper the burger sits there looking like one of the bargain burgers available from all the chains. Visually it resembles a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

The bun steams slightly and gives off the smell you expect when you unwrap a burger: not meat exactly, or not meat at all.

The burger inside

Opening the burger as always, I notice the complete lack of salad. The tiny piece of lettuce I noticed when I opened the wrapper turns out to have little or nothing to do what I will shortly eat. It only appeared to peep out of the burger.

This really does resemble a McDonald’s cheeseburger in its design. It does, however, contain a slice of cheese, a generous helping of vegetarian mayonaise, some ketchup, and several slices of gherkin.

The verdict

The juusto-veke makes no attempt to act premium. It does not even aspire to the status of a McVegan. Nonetheless it does what it sets out to do: it gives you a cheap fill.

At 1€ you shouldn’t expect anything more, and if you think “cheeseburger” you will probably get a pleasant surprise. The patty contains no soya, but consists of peas and beans mashed together. It doesn’t taste much like meat but, spiced up with the crunchy pickles and mayonnaise, it tastes pleasant enough – and it maintains a burger patty consistency.

You can get the full meal for 4€ and personally I hope Hesburger keep it on the menu. I would certainly prefer it to a 1€ chocolate bar, every now and then.