I think it goes without saying that M&S are absolutely killing it with their vegan range. It seems every time I go in, there is a new product for me to try. And being the kind vegan that I am, I just have to try it all.
These were a pleasant find, mainly because you don’t find many meat substitutes in M&S. At least not on their own. They do a few vegan ready meals but I haven’t really seen any stand alone vegan meats: Like chicken or ham or mince. Those sort of things. So finding these southern fried strips was very exciting.
These are, again, very good. M&S is quite consistently high standard, so honestly it is hard to find anything in there that won’t be good. These chicken strips are…meaty. They are definitely thick and they do have that very meaty texture to them. Personally, I don’t overly mind the texture – it has been so long since I actually ate meat (I think i’m coming up to about 12 years meat free!) that I don’t actually remember what animal meat tastes like. So make of the texture what you will.
The downside to them is that they do not hold together very well. The ‘skin’ is really nice and crispy, and the inside ‘meat’ is thick and flaky, but no matter how we cook them the skin will always fall off of the meat. I am not sure if that is a deal breaker or not, as both parts taste great anyway. But when you compare it to the other options out there (Such as the Linda McCartney chicken strips) it does seem a bit lazy that the coating can’t even stay on. Especially when you only cook them in the oven. No frying or movement at all short of going on and off the baking tray.
They also do not taste of much. You don’t really get that ‘southern fried’ flavour of them. They just sort of taste like fried chicken…but minus the actual chicken flavour. I have found that these are actually very nice to add to meals: salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes. Because it doesn’t taste of much it doesn’t add any overpowering flavours, while still adding a nice texture and a load of protein to any meal.