Everybody loves a tasty snack that's quick and easy to prepare. Whether it's a small bite to satisfy those daily afternoon cravings, a hot treat to enjoy while relaxing in front of the TV or a healthy staple for the kids' lunchbox, Fry's Vegetarian has the answer.
Fry's Pops are a delicious, crispy 'chicken-style' snack that is 100% vegan and 100% tasty. Simply pop them in the oven or microwave, shake over the flavoursome fruit chutney sprinkles and enjoy!
I'm a carnivore, proud and true... so vegetarian 'meat replacement' foods are hardly ever on my menu. However, you never know what's around the corner unless you stick your head out and have a look now and then, so when I was offered these to try, I was hesitant, but willing to give it a go.
Preparation was simple enough - heat up a frying pan with a bit of oil and carefully drop these, still frozen, into the pan and keep them moving. After about 5 minutes I was still a bit unsure about them - a personal preference only - so I gave them another 2 minutes of careful attention. They can also be prepared in the microwave and oven if those are preferred. Afterwards, I tipped them on to a stack of paper towels and patted them dry of the majority of oil, and then decanted them into a bowl. Tearing open the 'fruit chutney sprinkle' packet proved a little dodgy to do with slightly oily fingers, but I managed to get most of the contents sprinkled onto the 'pops'.
Now the name, as you may have guessed, is a play on 'popcorn' because of the small bite-sized portions. And because these are marketed as a meat-free vegetarian 'chicken substitute' the pun is doubly apt. I thought they would have been mainly myco-proteins (processed mushroom and other edible fungi) but no, the protein in this case comes from Soy. Combined with wheat flour, vegetable oils, sea salt and celery and it sounds pretty good actually... and then the hammer dropped. Palm kernel oil and un-named flavourings. Two BIG warning flags in the NZ market. After reading this, I was tempted to biff them in the bin and call it quits. However... as a reviewer my word is my bond, and I did say I would try them, so here goes...
Texture: Soft and slightly chewy... pretty close to 'tender chicken' actually, if a little dry and pasty if you really pay attention to it. Flavour: Sadly, almost none. The chutney sprinkle didn't really impress me, but at least it did add flavour. I really was hoping these would raise themselves above their controversial ingredients and be so amazing you couldn't help but want more, but alas, they fell short of such a lofty goal. In the end, I resorted to drowning them in a chili-tomato relish and wolfing them down simply so I didn't feel guilty by throwing them out.
Overall... not my thing. I couldn't get past the lack of flavour and the palm kernel oil. Maybe a true vegetarian would have better results, or at least preferences and expectations more in line with results, but those happy to eat meat should be aware this will be more akin to "potato pompoms" than "popcorn chicken" in terms of meal usage, and on that front they may be a tad pricey.
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