A S’porean meat-lover’s review: The Impossible Burger & its plant-based ‘beef’ patty
Definitely more than meats the eye.
[Editor’s note: The burger’s description has been updated for accuracy.]
The Impossible Burger, supposedly the answer to our planet’s self-destructing desire for greasy burgers and chunky meatballs, is finally in Singapore.
To clarify, “The Impossible Burger” actually refers to the patty itself, and there are two variations of burgers (reviewed below) made with the patty.
But before I start going on about it, let me first discuss the meat of the matter: Impossible Food’s meat-free meat.
What is it actually made of?
No, meat-free meat isn’t a sad attempt at a tongue twister, but rather, it is simply meat that is made from non-animal sources.
Since the beginning of time, people have attempted to substitute meat for a variety of foods such as soy, grains, nuts, tofu, tempeh, or a combination of them.
Some have turned out well, like the ones served by the good folks at Veganburg, and some made me feel like an idiot for ever thinking that a bunch of beans mixed with other stuff could replicate the taste of good ol’ Wagyu beef.
As for what exactly is in it, Impossible Burger lists heme as the primary ingredient that gives their patty its meaty taste.
Heme is a protein found in every living organism, including soy — which is where Impossible Burger gets its heme from.
In animals, the existing types of hemeprotein are hemoglobin and myoglobin.
However, scientists discovered that soybeans also produce a similar type of protein called leghemoglobin, which provides the same meaty taste.
If you’re curious, here’s the full ingredient list:
Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.
Ok enough science! What does it taste like??
Surprise: The Impossible Burger is very good.
It tastes very much like beef, although not a 100 per cent, but it is not lacking in any measure either.
It isn’t the best burger I’ve had *ahem Omakase*, but it is very, very close.
Instead, the patty tastes like a different kind of beef — one with a slight nutty flavour to it, which can be disguised depending on how you cook it.
The first thing I noticed when the chef was cooking the Impossible Burger (without any seasoning) was that it gave off a surprising earthy smell.
I was skeptical for about two minutes, until the chef flipped one of the patties over to reveal the sexy dark-brown char I was familiar with, thanks to watching countless YouTube videos of burgers being cooked.
Trying the plain patty was a mind-blowing experience.
The first thing I noticed, other than the fact that it tasted almost exactly like beef, was the thin layer of oil coating my mouth as I chewed.
The patty was extremely juicy, but at the same time lacked the greasiness usually found in burgers this moist. Pleasantly surprising.
The charred crust held the patty together fairly well, and broke into smaller chunks as I chewed.
Vegetarian burgers usually have a hard time replicating the texture of ground beef, but the Impossible Burger perfectly recreated the experience of breaking a patty down into smaller bits of meaty goodness with each bite.
How about the two burgers?
Out of the two burgers by Potato Head, I found that The Impossible Dream (S$27) wowed me the most, as the patty was well-complemented with a generous serving of onion marmalade and XO mayonnaise sauce.
Even though the patty was thicker than in any vegetarian burger I’ve ever had, it still retained that soft and delicate texture only found in the best medium-rare burgers.
I found the ratio of patty/topping to bun just right, and The Impossible Dream was gone before I could take an Insta Story of it. It was just that delicious.
The Impossible Chedda (S$23), on the other hand, was a subtler affair.
It didn’t have as many toppings as The Impossible Dream, which allowed more room for the patty to shine through.
That is not to say that the patty doesn’t taste good, but I just prefer my burgers with a little bit more flavours to it.
The Impossible Chedda tasted great, but it just felt a little incomplete when put next to The Impossible Dream.
As mentioned above, the Impossible Burger patty does have a very slight nutty/earthy undertone, and is only noticeable in both these burgers if you’re looking out for it.
In other words, the taste is almost indistinguishable from regular beef.
They used it to make meatball pasta, too
The Juicy Lucy Impossible Meatball Spaghetti by Privé was AMAZING.
The chefs really hit the nail on the head with this one because it might be better than any meatball I’ve ever tasted.
I could taste a lot more seasoning than the previous burgers when I bit into it, and instantly my mouth was awash with pure meaty flavours.
The meatballs were easy to chew, but yet still preserved a much appreciated crust that held everything together.
They were also big and coated generously with tomato ragout, and were probably the best thing I ate all week.
Up next was the Impossible Satay Sliders, which gave the Impossible Burger a local twist.
The satay sauce paired well with the thick patty, especially with the accompanying toppings of mango, cucumber and red onions.
It was a tasty burger, but wasn’t as resplendent as eating regular chicken/mutton satay with that familiar chunky peanut sauce.
Also, I generally don’t like sliders as they’re a bit too small for my hands.
The Impossible Burger is an excellent substitute for meat.
It doesn’t taste 100 per cent like beef just yet, but it simply registers as a different kind of meat, and a very tasty one at that.
There is no one standard beef taste, nor should there be one.
The Impossible Burger, in my opinion, is simply a meat substitute that tastes slightly different from what regular beef tastes like. Most people won’t even tell the difference.
Verdict: Have your mind blown. Try it out.
Where to go: