When it comes to food, we’d say we’re pretty adventurous folks. We’re always keen to explore and willing to try something new.
But admittedly, we tend to exercise caution and scepticism around hyped-up food trends.
Having said that, the idea of plant-based meat has always fascinated us. As such, we had no hesitation in saying yes when offered to try out some plant-based meat products from PHUTURE.
In case y’all have not heard, PHUTUREis a plant-based meat company that aims “to connect the science of technology to the art of Asian cooking.”
Besides Malaysia, their products have also made their way on the store shelves in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. PHUTURE’s lineup of products also serves to address global issues that revolve around food sustainability and environmental concerns.
We also got our hands on PHUTURE’s Crispy Popcorn Bites but we’ll get to that later.
PHUTURE states that their plant-based products are developed without compromising the important nutrients and taste. Well, we’re not really in the position to test out the nutrition bit but we could most certainly form opinions on the sensation of flavour delivered.
This time around, we had the chance to try the HFC Hot & Spicy Chick'n Burger Combo, starring PHUTURE’s Crispy Breast Chop as the burger patty. We opted for the spicy version instead of the original. The combo set comes with potato waffle fries and a drink.
PHUTURE’s Crispy Breast Chop is comprehensively created from PHUTURE’s 4-fibre blend — oat fibre, apple fibre, methylcellulose and gluten-free wheat fibre — to replicate the taste and texture of meat, with the biggest health benefit being the high-fibre content of the plant-based meats to help Malaysians overcome fibre deficiency.
Fun fact: The recommended fibre intake for adults stands at 28 grams to 35 grams per day. However, the average Malaysian adult only consumes 15 grams daily.
One serving, which is about 115 grams to 130 grams of PHUTURE’s High-Fibre Chick’n products, contains 13 grams of fibre. This would help Malaysians increase their daily fibre intake to the recommended amount through only one serving, hence their tagline: “One Is Enough.”
The combination of PHUTURE’s Crispy Breast Chop with some buns, lettuce and mayonnaise supposedly tastes just like an actual chicken burger.
That is a pretty bold statement considering the fact that the patty is not just meatless but also free of preservatives, has no added sugar and no added MSG either. Having fallen victim to plenty of big claims, we couldn’t help that our scepticism intensified. But we kept an open mind through it all.
PHUTURE’s High Fibre Chick’n Crispy Breast Chop
Upon receiving the burger from the pickup point, we were not able to immediately devour it as we had to make our trip back home.
Along the ride, we got pretty impressed with the ‘chickeny’ aroma that lingered in the car. It wasn’t a strong scent but it was enough for us to notice. For a plant-based patty, we were definitely not expecting that.
Once we settled in, we got a better view of the burger with the crispy patty. Our first impression is that the burger could easily pass off as a regular crispy chicken burger.It doesn’t look like a sad burger — a trait often associated with plant-based meals.
This burger actually looks appetising!
We also did a little dissecting to see how the content of the patty looks like.
The golden brown colour of the patty is pleasing. The soft buns sandwich the patty beautifully. And the patty appears to possess the formation of those precious crusts.
It got our hopes up for the crispy and crunchy sensation that we’re big fans of.
To us, it’s an acceptable sight.
For its appearance, we reward this burger with some well-deserved points. If we didn’t know any better, it would be quite tough for us to tell that this is no regular chicken burger from just casually looking at it.
But no matter how great the external disguise is, it all boils down to the taste.
How does it taste?
If we had to describe that first bite in one word, the word would be: wonderful!
For a moment, it just felt like we were in a typical commercial where the moment we sink our teeth into the burger, the heavenly choir sound effect was in play and a backdrop of the sun shining, the birds singing and the flowers blooming emerged behind us.
Please excuse us for that dramatic expression. We were pleasantly surprised!
It also got us wondering how they managed to pull it off. It’s not bland and there was no weird or funky flavour either. The latter has always been a major turnoff for us when it comes to these healthy substitutes.
The whole package provided a comforting taste. The Crispy Breast Chop was well-seasoned. We could clearly taste the spiciness which in our opinion, contributed to the overall delight. Flavour-wise, we’d say it hit the right notes.
We wouldn’t mind having an extra spicy version too.
As we continued chomping down on the burger, we were eventually reminded of a specific type of burger that’s offered by one of the world’s largest fast-food chains.
It isn’t 100 per cent similar in taste, of course. But with the HFC Hot & Spicy Chick'n Burger being a much healthier option, it is a brilliant execution. All the elements of the burger were in harmony.
We also cut off a part of the patty and had it on its own to really make out its taste. We’d say there was a faint hint of a savoury beany quality which we equate to the ‘healthy taste’ but you’d only get that if you channelled all your concentration to identify that flavour character. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t even realise it.
The patty also delivered on the crispy part that we had looked forward to. Impressively, it stayed crispy even though a couple of hours had passed between the time the burger was prepared and the time we were able to consume it.
If there was one aspect where the burger — well, the patty in particular — fell short, it would be concerning its succulence. It wasn’t juicy enough for us. Some might even feel that it’s a tad dry.
But then again, we didn’t get to eat it immediately after the patty was fried and the burger was assembled. That may have led to this result. It’s not a deal-breaker for us though.
We are delighted to note that post-meal, we did not experience that sickening feeling that we’d usually get after gobbling up such a treat. It was also filling. But it did leave us wanting more, so we’re not too sure if one is enough for us in this sense.
In short, the HFC Hot & Spicy Chick'n Burger was just splendid. [Insert chef’s kiss]
The pretty steep price, on the other hand, had us assuring ourselves that one is indeed enough.
The HFC Hot & Spicy Chick'n Burger Combo costs RM24.90 — which puts it on the premium end when compared to various fast food chains’ equivalent of a crispy chicken burger.
But understanding and respecting the value of the effort that went into creating this tasty and healthy dish, we feel that it is a price worth paying.
PHUTURE’s Crispy Popcorn BitesA little later during the day, we sampled PHUTURE’s Crispy Popcorn Bites that we received in frozen form.
While the ingredients for both the Crispy Breast Chop and the Crispy Popcorn bites are similar, the way the ingredients are being processed differs.
The cooking instruction on the box suggested three different cooking methods — deep fry, oven bakes and air fry.
We opted to prepare by deep frying and air frying.
Again, we were impressed by it. They were some yummy bite-sized ‘chickeny’ goodness!
Our small sample group preferred the air fried version over the deep-fried version. But we think that could be because of our poor deep-frying judgement.
The colour tells us that we had left it over the heat a little too long. But it’s still a win because the taste for both versions did not disappoint. They just hit the spot. We had no issue eating them as they are without any condiments.
However, we did notice that the ‘healthy’ taste is a bit stronger with this one when the pieces cool down. We reckon that’s it’s also probably because this is the original flavour, so it doesn’t have that extra aid from the spices to mask that taste more. It wasn’t bad at all though.
We also conducted the ultimate test with this product. We shared some of the Crispy Popcorn Bites without saying a word about its unique quality.
The response was all in favour of the not-chicken-pieces. Not only did nobody suspect a thing, but there were also praises for its savoury taste. Even the most hardcore carnivore (read: those who would pick out the tiniest bit of any type of vegetable from their plate) was stuffing their face with one Crispy Popcorn Bites after another.
We still haven’t told them.
Our verdictWe are happy to have been proven wrong in this gastronomic quest. We absolutely enjoyed the HFC Hot & Spicy Chick'n Burger that’s fitted with the Crispy Breast Chop as well as the standalone Crispy Popcorn Bites. Both products blew us away with their convincing chicken taste.
We are also excited over the plus points that these plant-based products have to offer. With that, we simply must recommend it.
You can order the HFC Hot & Spicy Chick'n Burger Combo via their website. Concerning the buns and mayonnaise, they provide both vegan and non-vegan options which customers can decide upon checkout.
At the time of writing, they offer three different sets on the website) is limited to 150 orders daily. We were also informed that their delivery is currently available only for locations within the 12-kilometre radius from Subang SS18.
We know we’ll be keeping an eye out for the whole range!