Earlier this month, Burger King rolled out the Impossible Whopper nationwide. The burger, a vegan* version of its famous Whopper, has already become somewhat legendary… and will one day assuredly become a legend.
When I was young, I was a diehard Big Mac fan, and would defend my burger vehemently to anyone that ever crossed my path waving the Whopper flag. As time went by, I ate my words and became a fan of the Whopper over the Big Mac. To me it was more of a grownup burger, even though I always missed the McDonald’s fries. Burger King’s fries did not even compare.
After college, I stopped going to fast food chains for the most part, opting to support the local moms ‘n pops. Eventually, when I met my (now) wife, I became a vegetarian (she was on her way to becoming a vegetarian chef), and the thought of eating a burger from these two fast food giants (I never liked Wendy’s) was but a distant memory.
A few years back, my wife started cooking meat, because a shift in jobs required it. In order to prepare/season the meat to her liking, she needed to taste it. It was difficult to live in a household with only one vegetarian, I therefore started eating some meat again. There was even a time when I thought to myself, “I wonder what a Whopper would taste like,” but I never went and tried one.
So when I heard that the Impossible Whopper was being introduced, I immediately began counting down the days until I could try one. Earlier today, my buddy and I were heading to Hertel – I figured that this was the opportunity that I had been waiting for. We walked inside, up to the counter and I placed an order. We then walked back to the dining area, sat down, where I unwrapped the vegan burger (he opted out). To my surprise, it really did look exactly like the Whopper that I remembered from my past.
The first bite was also very reminiscent of the flavors, the smells, and the texture of a Whopper… but the plant-based meat was a tad drier. At the same time, I figured that Impossible Foods would not be able to 100% mimic the meat patties, which meant that I was going to cut them a little slack. It was close though! And I’ll tell you, as I bit into the Impossible Whopper, closer towards the middle where all of the rest of the ingredients were found, I could not tell the difference one bit – it was just how I remembered. The pickles, the flame broiled taste… the bun… all the same. Instead of calling it an Impossible Whopper, they should call it a Miracle Burger, because there’s nothing worse than a poorly done veggie burger.
Although I will stick to eating at my local mom ‘n pops, I will, on occasion, head back to Burger King to eat an Impossible Whopper. I will do this for a number of reasons, starting with the tasty meatless burger. I also don’t mind supporting the chain restaurant that has set a precedent for other fast food places to accommodate vegetarians and vegans, which will help to cut down on methane emissions from cattle stock (this is not about being healthy – it’s about limiting animal consumption). It will also encourage offshoot companies (like Impossible Foods) to strive to come up with the best vegan and vegetarian foods that they possibly can, which will lead to a shift in the entire food economy. Already, KFC is testing out a plant-based fried chicken made by Beyond Meat (“A Kentucky Fried Miracle”).
The Impossible Whopper is also cheaper at $5.59, instead of $7 for an original Whopper, so if you really can’t tell the difference, then you might as well save a couple of bucks. By putting your money where our collective mouth is, we are all able to affect positive change in an industry that went awry many moons ago.
*This is not a true vegan burger because it is cooked on the same grills as the animal-based meats.