Fake bacon, or, facon

As a cut of “fake-able” meat, bacon’s an interesting one. It’s got a few things going for it—for one, it’s usually crisped in a lot of fat under high heat, and that charred flavor and crispy texture is something relatively easy to achieve by frying your favorite material. On the other hand, perhaps bacon’s dominant feature is all the gross, delicious fat, and mimicking animal fat (solid, saturated fats) is one of the foundational challenges for plant-based meat.

Anyway, we were at the supermarket when May showed me the pack of plant-based bacon below (left of picture). She couldn’t believe it was for sale because it looked so disgusting, and after laughing over it she put it back on the shelf, and after she put it back on the shelf I stealthily slipped it into our cart.

I also grabbed some Lightlife smoky tempeh bacon, which, along with another product we’d bought before that resembled miniature brick slabs more than bacon, was about the only other meatless bacon I could see in the quick window before May got suspicious.

Anyway, here’s how they look out-of-the-box:

Honestly, the tempeh one looks like tree bark, but the Hooray bacon—which looked more like rancid skin strips in the package—isn’t so far off! A bit more artistry on the coloring might’ve done the trick. Maybe.

Both brands also taste decent, which is far more than I can say of the first bacon product we tried (the brick one, which I swear was just a vegan hot dog sliced lengthwise). I think the appearance of the products influenced our perceptions, as the “smoky tempeh bacon” was a pretty low-effort bacon mimic and we didn’t expect much from it. (It tasted like tempeh, and it wasn’t smoky.) But the one with red ink spilt over it was going for a bona fide bacon look, and it mostly tastes like a crisped, unsalted potato chip of some sort. Maybe I overcooked it. Not the furthest flavor from bacon, but, you know, eh.

Anyway, see our fully vegan breakfast, complete with JUST omelette fresh from the toaster! (JUST egg tastes okay, like bad-quality mass-produced real eggs, but I’ve definitely had worse real eggs from cafeterias before.)

Overall enjoymentMeat similarityPrice per poundFrozen?Date tried
Hooray foods5/103/10$23.97NoFeb ’21
Lightlife tempeh6/100/10$11.71NoFeb ’21

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