Even in New York’s fickle food scene, David Chang has developed a staying power with his Momofuku outposts. His pork belly ramen, Sichuan sausage spicy noodles, and other specialties have generated a line out the door. Delicious, yes. But healthy—and vegan? Not so much.
But Chang announced today that he’ll be making a major menu change, adding the Impossible Burger, the vegan patty that sizzles, “bleeds,” and tastes like real beef.
“I was genuinely blown away when I tasted the burger,” Chang says. “The Impossible Foods team has discovered how to re-engineer what makes beef taste like beef. We’re always looking to support people who are making the best products in the best ways possible and to me, Impossible Burger is one more example. First and foremost, we think this makes a delicious burger.”
The Impossible Foods creation will be featured on Chang’s menu at Momofuku Nishi in New York City, where it will be served up on a potato roll and topped with romaine lettuce, beefsteak tomato, pickles, and a special sauce. Well+Good got a first taste of Chang’s burger and can say first hand that it truly does taste like just like beef.
Impossible Foods CEO Dr. Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D, credits the burger’s heme protein to giving it a bold flavor (and the bleeding factor) and coconut oil to enhance the taste (he says fat is a flavor carrier). The only other ingredients in the burger are water, wheat protein (for a chewy texture), potato protein (which makes it squishy, yet firm when cooked), natural flavors, and micronutrients.
The news is another example of how the food scene is moving toward serving healthy dishes, even at the risk of turning off customers who wouldn’t traditionally order something vegan or plant-based. For Chang, sustainability was a driving factor.
“Billions of people love to eat meat and the demand for it has sky rocketed. The challenge is finding a way to produce these foods that don’t do as much damage to the global ecosystem,” he says. To him, a plant-based product that tastes just like the real thing is a win because, as he says, “people aren’t going to give up eating the foods that they love.”
With the obvious success of restaurants like By Chloe, Butcher’s Daughter, and Brodo, serving up healthy fare has become a successful business strategy, and having another major player in the food scene acknowledge it is a big deal.
Wondering what the best frozen veggie burgers are you can make at home? We tried them all and these are the top five. And here are some delicious homemade recipes, if you have a little more time.