Vegetable meat


It’s become a leitmotif of this site that the KFC around the corner from my house is possibly the worst-run franchise ever. Why continue to patronize them? Because when you’re playing just one more turn of Civilization IV, and then one turn more, and suddenly the stomach is rumbling, the grocery store is closed, and the cupboards are empty, little choice remains.

This time, while waiting for my order, I noticed a sign that read “Vegetable Chicken Burger.” I’m no vegetarian — I would hardly be at KFC if I were — but I was curious. Is this simply a vegetable burger that tastes like chicken? If so, can they call it a “Vegetable Chicken Burger” if there’s no actual chicken in it? Shouldn’t they be legally required to call it “Vegetable Burger That Tastes Like Chicken”? Or is it just a chicken burger that comes with vegetables on it, as seemed to be indicated by the photo of the golden-coloured breaded patty with the lettuce and tomato perched atop it? If so, how is this any different from KFC’s normal burgers that come with lettuce and tomato?

So I asked the employee behind the counter, “What’s in this ‘Vegetable Chicken Burger’ anyway?” It was the one who looks mentally handicapped and sounds kind of like a honking goose when she talks, so I didn’t expect much.

She turned and craned her head to look at the sign. After a pause, she answered, “Vegetable meat.”

Vegetable meat. This raises more questions than it answers: What cut of the vegetable is that from? Is it white or dark? Is it prime vegetable meat or a lower grade? Are these free-range vegetables or grown in cages? Are they slaughtered humanely or under protest by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables?

“So, is that soy, or what?” I asked. She shrugged. I wasn’t surprised she didn’t know. I guess I’ll just look it up on the corporate website.

5 Responses to “Vegetable meat”

  1. 1 Candace

    This sounds like the kind of conversation I’d have with service staff in HK. I’m glad there won’t be too big of an adjustment to make when I get back.

    Also, this made me LOL. Really.

  2. 2 Peter Lynn

    She was Asian, come to think of it.

    Incidentally, I mentioned this story to someone earlier, and he pointed out that perhaps it’s best not to know what it’s made out of. That’s probably true.

  3. 3 Matt

    Artichoke hearts, perhaps? Banana skins? Potato eyes?

  4. If they use bovine growth hormone on vegetables, could they classify them as meat?

    Kinda reminds me of a few years ago when McD’s announced they were going to START using all white meat in their nuggets. What in the hell was in there before?!

  5. 5 Teaflax

    I can’t decide whether a shoddy KFC is better than having none at all in your entire country. For some reason, fried chicken doesn’t work as a fast food in Sweden. Evidently they tried in the late 80s without any luck and British knockoff Southern Fried Chicken tried in the early 90s, but failed too. So any time I leave the country, it’s KFC PILGRIMAGE! But I’m not sure your particular Toronto location appeals…

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