I don’t really understand the current cultural obsession with bacon. I didn’t grow up eating it and while I enjoyed it occasionally when I’d go out for Sunday brunch (I’ve never cooked it myself, even when I ate meat), I certainly don’t miss it.
But I couldn’t help be curious about this veggie ham from Vantastic Foods that looked to me exactly like strips of raw bacon. Although it’s labeled as “schinken” and “aufschnitt” (which if I’m not mistaken translate to “ham” and “cold cut”), it didn’t even occur to me to try this cold out of the package. But this morning, I was in the mood for a bit of Sunday brunch, so I made me a tofu scramble and threw a few strips of these in the pan on the side.
I really didn’t expect this, but they fry up almost exactly like real bacon. Some of the thinner strips crisped up and curled, and the wider ones got crispy on the edges but stayed “meaty” in the middle. They don’t taste exactly like the bacon I remember having in restaurants, but they do have a salty, chewy authenticity and a bite that is more like meat than any vegan bacon alternatives I’ve ever tried. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE tempeh bacon in its own right, but it’s not going to fool anybody who craves the real deal.) I’m looking forward to trying them in a BLT.
Like the chicken pieces from the Vegetarische Slager, if you’re easily turned off by meat analogues that come too close to the real thing, these may not be for you. But if you miss the taste and texture of real bacon, these are the closest I’ve found since I stopped eating meat.
I got these at VegAnne’s Shop in Brussels. So far, it’s the only place I’ve ever seen this particular product, but Vantastic Foods products are generally available at many vegan specialty stores, both bricks and mortar stores and online.