Dinner and conversation with Marcellus at House of Vegetarian, a Chinatown restaurant with dishes that are substituted with mock meat. I’ve never been a fan of mock meat and don’t understand why you’d want to eat it outside of health & dietary reasons. It’s doesn’t taste as good as real meat and why would you eat something that is made to look and taste like something you are repulsed by? I can’t see myself eating Mock Human Honey-BBQ Ribs or Mock Fried Roach Legs. …Okay, maybe I’d try it, but I don’t think I’d like it.

Anyway, I went in thinking that I’d rather eat the vegetable only dishes (sans mock meat). But once we sat down and looked at the menu, I figured we’d better get mock meat. You don’t go to Peter Luger’s for the salad. We should live a little. We split Combination Triple Vegetable with Mock Roast Pork and a dish called “Wealth and Fortune.” No description on the menu. The waitress said it was mushrooms. I asked what the “Lucky Season” was. She said cabbage.

The dishes were Chinese stir-fried mixed vegetables with sauce. Both of them similar in context, but different in ingredients. Wealth and Fortune had tofu. Every piece of mock roast pork tasted different. One would be buttery, another salty. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I don’t think I would mistake this for pork, but it was a pretty good stab at it. It gets me wondering how these future lab-grown meats will taste. But if that does work out, maybe we could engineer Human Honey-BBQ Ribs without ethical or moral questions. What if it could taste like the race or ethnicity? It would give more meaning to eating Chinese, French or Mexican cuisine.

House of Vegetarian – 68 Mott St (btwn Bayard & Canal St) New York, NY 10013

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Jason Lam

Food blogger since 2008. Hair model since 2003.

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