Back in the days when I was an omnivore, I had a love-hate relationship with fish.
Living in landlocked Charlotte, NC, most of the available fish was … well, not too fresh and definitely very fishy!
But at summer vacations at the beach … ah, the fish was completely different there. Fresh and flaky and not so fishy. It sounds cruel to say it now, but eating fresh seafood used to be a major highlight of going to the beach!
Last year I was lucky enough to go on two seaside vacations – one at Brighton Beach, United Kingdom and another at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I have to admit, I had not been to the beach for more than a few years and it felt rather strange not to participate in the fish & chips in England or the fried, fillet o’ flounder in Myrtle Beach!
So when I returned from my last beach trip I was ecstatic to see North Carolina’s largest grocery chain, Harris Teeter, was now carrying Gardein’s vegan Fishless Fillets. Of course I bought a package and happily made my own tartar sauce and spicy coleslaw for a meal of vegan fish ‘n chips.
I have to admit, I looove Gardein but sometimes their product is altogether a bit too realistic for me. Gardein’s Mandarin Crispy Chick’n, for example, originally freaked me out with its ultra-realistic dark meat texture.
Add Gardein’s Fishless Filets to the same category.
Did these taste like fish? Oh, yes, absolutely. And not just like fish, but fishy fish. Not just a mild kelp flavor. Think trout, not tilapia.
Did these have the texture of fish? Yes. And it wasn’t just the flakiness. These had a bit of an oily texture, like real fish, and the strong fish flavor seemed to be in the oil, like real fish.
These fishless fillets could fool anyone. Especially if you put them on a bun where it hides the weird triangular shape a bit.
I couldn’t eat them.
At this point you are probably saying, “Well, that’s very nice about your vacations and I’ve been reading your blog for awhile so I know you’re a picky eater. But will I like these fishless fillets?”
If, in your omnivore days, you were a big fan of fish – no, you will not like them. You will love them. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest grocery!
If, on the other hand, you were a bit picky about fish or you like your faux meats sorta realistic but not too realistic – you may not like these. These are extremely realistic with a strong fishy taste – quite different from, say, the “fish” sandwich at Zizi’s Awesome Vegan To Go.