October 28, 2011

Yves Veggie Shrimp

Okay, it's finally time to write about this new product. It's Yves Veggie Shrimp. I'd love to give you a link to their website with more information about it, but it appears that they've given up on their http://www.yvesveggie.com/ address, as far as updates. The same "new products" have been up there since I started writing my blog, and I know they've introduced more new products than those. For now, they're on Facebook, which seems to be where they're rolling out new product announcements. So I guess you can go here and scroll through all their posts. Unfortunately, there isn't much information other than what you can already see in the top left corner of this page. If you can't tell, I'm not exactly thrilled at this development.

Anyway… moving on. Their new packaging… I'm just going to lay it out there, because I'm a little cranky today. The new box shape is stupid. You see how there's a curve at the top? That's actually the shape of the box. I picked up three or four of these, trying to find one that wasn't all smushed, before I realized they were shaped like that on purpose. Why would you want a box shaped that way? In looking at some of the other pictures on their Facebook page, some of them have the smushed bits on the sides rather than the top. Also dumb. What the heck are they doing?

Before I get to the actual contents of the box, I'd like to share a story. The day I bought these, I was apparently very nervous about tasting them, so that night I had a nightmare about eating them. Not even kidding. This actually happened. In the dream, I was eating a piece of fake shrimp, and at first, it was very shrimp-like. However, the longer I chewed it, the stringier it got. But stringier isn't quite the word. Imagine taking a huge bite of celery and just chewing on it for a long time. Kind of a cellulose gum, where you know that more chewing isn't going to help, but you don't want to spit it out. Anyway, that was my dream.

Reality time… I took the box out of the fridge, read the instructions (three cooking methods listed), and decided to try all of them. First test: cold. This was the one that frightened me the most. I'm not the biggest real-shrimp fan, so I had no idea what would happen with these. It smelled distressingly shrimpy. Distressing in an accurately-shrimpy way. Like, why would this combination of ingredients smell like seafood? I took a deep breath, steeled myself for the worst, and took a bite. It tasted also fairly fishy, I guess one could convince oneself it was shrimp, maybe with cocktail sauce or something. The texture, while not my nightmarish cellulose experience, was still pretty odd. Kinda chewy, but in the way that actual shrimp is kinda chewy. It was totally weird.

Next test - heating in the skillet with a little oil. First warning, and the directions say nothing about this, pat the shrimp dry before dumping in the hot oil. Seriously. Right out of the package, there was a fair amount of moisture on them, and this splattered hot oil all over my kitchen and continued popping for a long time. It was pretty intense. So, be careful. After I finished dodging hot splattering oil and cooked the shrimp a bit, until it got slightly browned on both sides, I gave them another taste. With this method, they were actually pretty good. They were less chewy (in that slightly weird way) and the flavor changed. It's hard to explain how it changed, but I'm going to go with "just better". So things were looking up for this veggie shrimp.

And then I tried the third method. The microwave. I put it in for the prescribed amount of time, removed it from the microwave, and took a bite. Or rather, I tried to take a bite. These things came out super tough and nearly impossible to eat. Sort of like my dream-veggie-shrimp. Do not do this to your veggie shrimp. You paid good money for this stuff - do not ruin it by putting it into the microwave. You've been warned.

The experience:
Texture - cold, weirdly chewy; skillet, nicely chewy; microwave, do not do this
Flavor - surprisingly shrimpy, or at least vaguely seafood-y - not too bad

Final grade for this attempt: B+ (in the skillet)

20 comments:

  1. Oh my God... I've never seen or heard of fake meat seafood but it sounds horrifying. Does it smell shrimpy and oceanic?

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  2. Shrimpy/fishy, yes. Oceanic? No. It's very weird.

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  3. I found on another website that these are not vegan- the protein source includes whey protein. I can't wait to try these things out, I miss seafood since going vegetarian!

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  4. Meg - thanks for settling that! Good luck finding them!

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  5. Been a vegetarian for about 18 years, but was kinda scared to try these. Finally did so today (product found at a Safeway in Maryland)--was happy w/choice. Had about five with a good cocktail sauce and have been thinking about them ever since.

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  6. I tried these in the microwave...terrible! Super tough, and made the house smell like bad fish.

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  7. I've been hooked on these since I found them last month. As a veggie for almost 30yrs, I've only vague memories of seafood from my teens, but my omnivore husband agrees that they taste great. The main ingredient is glucomannon , fiber from the konjac root, which is often marketed for weight loss and cholesterol lowering, so the nutrition content looks like this (per box): 100 cal, 3g fat, (2g sat/0 trans), 0 chol, 480mg sodium, 16g carbs, 4g protein and 10grams of fiber, so they're essentially roughage! Regarding the previous post, I'm not sure why anyone would microwave these on their first go-round, as that's usually the least tasty way to go w/meat subs, so if Jeff wants to give them a 2nd try, I suggest trying my route: saute them in a little bit of sesame oil, and throw in some seasonings, asian noodles & veggies. Another added bonus: no mud vein!

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  8. Thank you Ms. Negative. you managed to prep us all with your horribly negative build only to top the story with a negative cherry on top. Amazing how the negativity just flows from beginning to end. Good job.

    Btw,..they're Delicious!

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    1. Actually, I did say that in the skillet, these came out pretty good - it was just the other cooking methods that I found to be terrible, hence the B+.

      I'm glad you tried them anyway, despite my criticisms, and that you liked them.

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  9. There is an ingredient called Cordlan listed on the package. Any clue what that might be?

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  10. I think they are FABULOUS! I THOUGHT they were Vegan, though. I didn't see Whey protein as an ingredient on my box. So..I will research further. Anyway...I melted a bit of Earth Balance in the skillet with garlic and salt. Put the shrimp in, cut in two pieces. Browned a bit....put some green peas in there and then basmati (brown) rice. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! The shrimp even fooled MY CAT!!! That is his ALL TIME FAVORITE FOOD EVER!! He munched away, too. There is sauce that came with my shrimp (labelled "shrimp scampi"). It was hideous and I am glad I tasted it first. The only complaint here is that it is a VERY small amount and a VERY HUGE PRICE. I wait until they go on sale at my local Kroger Supermarket. Then, I buy away and freeze them. LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. OH..by the way...I believe Cordlan is an ingredient made from mushrooms. That is what I found on the net. :)

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  12. Vegetarian for forty years, I too was skeptical. Bought one box at Grocery Outlet for .99...yes ninety-nine cents and tried first "raw", then sauteed in olive and sesame oil, the latter being pretty good dunked in Thai chili sauce. Tempura fried will be next, since I've decided to back to G/O and buy the lot for the freezer.

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  13. I'm not vegetarian, but I ordered "vegetarian shrimp and asparagus" from my local Chinese place and was surprised to see that a real effort had been made to make them shrimpy. They're not bad, but I think of them as more like "vegetarian fake crab" (my head exploded!) than "vegetarian shrimp." They taste a bit more fake crabby to me.

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    1. "Fake crab" still has real crab juice, so it is not really fake...

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  14. I tried these veggie shrimp oncce. While visiting in Albany. Georgia, I found them in Publix grocery store. I brought some back to Ca. with me, and my husband loved them. They are NOT fish. But they have a texture and taste of their own. Great in salads, with shrimp sauce as an appetizer, in a stir fry.
    My problem is, there is none around here, even if the store sells Yves products. The Yves web site does not even show them. Question is, where can I buy more??? I would even purchase on line, if you can tell me where to find them?

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  15. shrimp was what i missed most when i went vegetarian. just tried my first pack of these, cooked them in olive oil with some garlic, pepper and lime juice.. they came out great! they matched really well with fettucini alfredo with broccoli and spinach.
    ate one raw, just to taste, didnt have any cocktail sauce, but the texture and the seafood-y aroma were nice, like to try dipping them, and maybe at a colder temp than refrigeration..
    and they fooled my cat too.. shrimp is his favorite food ever and he came into the kitchen with his 'i know youre cooking shrimp and its for ME cause you dont eat it!'

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  16. I think the best way to do this is to prepare them like you would real shrimp. I put them in a buttermilk wash and dredged them in Old Bay Seasoned flour for the breading. Then we deep fried the hell out of them! My boyfriend is 100% vegetarian and he found them disturbing that it tasted like real shrimp. We both found them incredibly tasty after we double checked the ingredients to make sure there was no real shrimp in them.

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  17. Is it REALLY just vegetarians who post here? What about people allergic to shellfish??? I want to know if they have tried it....

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