For the first time in my life I tried a meatless meat product. If you don’t know my story about how I became a vegetarian, then you just need to know one thing for this Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n review – I have not eaten chicken since I was very, very young. The thought of eating a chicken has always turned my stomach. The thought of eating fake chicken has always turned my stomach. But, then I saw that a lot of vegans were eating this mandarin chick’n thing, and my husband used to love orange chicken, so somehow I ended up buying it and agreed to try it with my husband.
Initial Impressions And The Cooking Process
We opened up the bag and my husband said it smelled like fried goodness. To me, it smelled like store-bought cheese sticks that had yet to be cooked.
Considering I used to love cheese sticks before I went vegan, I was a little more excited to try these things.
My husband added some vegetable oil to the pan and threw these suckers in. He always cooks with a lid on top when searing or frying, so that’s how he did these things. He cooks at high heat and things get intense in the kitchen, so much so that I was a little scared to get in close with the camera!
After about 5 minutes of cooking and flipping, they started to look like this. They still smelled like fried cheese sticks to me, so even though they were starting to look a little more meaty, they still smelled good.
We had some toasted sesame seeds and green onions waiting for the final dish.
When they were a dark enough color (after a total of about 10-15 minutes), my husband stirred the sauce into the pan he cooked them in and then we threw them on a bed of rice. Mine was a small bed with a small amount of vegan chicken because I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.
My first bite was hard. I still can’t believe I tried vegan meat. I’ve never had the desire to try anything that resembled meat before. But, I can’t say I hated it.
Since I’ve never really eaten chicken, I needed my husband to tell me how close it resembled the real thing. To me, it was a texture I’ve never felt before. Soft and almost flaky. It was like I didn’t have to chew. There was enough moisture in the nugget to make it almost melt in your mouth.
My husband said it reminded him of chicken. The inside texture was similar to chicken and the outside was seared in a way that made it crispy. He was actually hesitant to tell me how much it reminded him of chicken because he knows how gross the thought of eating real chicken is to me.
As far as the sauce, my husband said it wasn’t exactly like the mandarin chicken he used to eat, but it was good. I also really liked the sauce. There was sufficient sauce for the overall chick’n pieces, but I would have liked much more sauce to give the rice a coat. I guess it really depends on how much sauce you like.
After Eating The Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n…
I felt sick. I think the product was too much like chicken for me. I felt like I actually ate chicken. My husband had to reassure me a few times that it wasn’t chicken, although, because he thought it tasted so much like chicken, I’m not sure how he could guarantee me that. 🤔
My husband got really tired after eating, and he never gets tired after eating. We looked at the ingredients and realized that sugar is a main ingredient. So we figured this was what caused him to get so tired – he had a sugar crash!
Because of that, I would recommend eating this with some vegetables, lentils, or whole grains to help counteract the effects of the sugar.
I won’t eat these again because they are too much like chicken, and I just can’t stomach that. I’m not someone who has ever needed meat replacements. I used to order cheeseburgers without meat at McDonald’s, make hot dogs without a hot dog, and essentially just leave the meat out of any recipe that called for it.
My husband would eat them again, but he would eat them with something a little more substantial than white rice. Although, he did say that he doesn’t really need the vegan meat either.
But, we are going to make them again because my husband thinks my parents, who eat meat, will really like these. So, we are going to make it next time we have them over, along with some barbecue vegetables and potatoes. My friend, who loves chicken, will be trying these too at some point. It will be interesting to see what current meat eaters think about them. I will update this review as soon as they try them!
Update: We were going to try the Mandarin Orange with my parents, but we were having a BBQ and found Gardein’s Barbecue Chick’n Wings. So we tried that instead. They were cooked the same way, had a bit of a different shape, and had a different sauce with them.
Both of my parents said that they tasted exactly like chicken wings. My mom said that someone wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in taste and texture if they didn’t know. They said that only difference was that there were no bones.
My mom needs to know calories, fat, and protein, when it comes to all food, so when I told her the stats for 4 ‘wings’ she was impressed. And there is much less sugar in the wings then there is in the Mandarin chicken. She turned to my dad and said “We may need to pick these up and have them at home for ourselves.”
So there you go. I have a feeling that if they tried the Mandarin chicken, they would be saying the same thing since, to me, it was pretty much the same texture and taste on the inside.
Update: They tried the Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n and loved them too. Again, they said you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if you didn’t know.
If there is anything else you want to know about Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n, ask in the comments below!