Food Review: Vegan Royale (Burger King)

Vegan Royale (Burger King) Artwork

First off, a little about Burger King, they are an American multinational chain of fast food restaurants, originally founded in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, in Jacksonville, Florida. However after running into financial problems, its two Miami based franchisees, David Edgerton and James McLamore purchased the company and rebranded it as Burger King. Since then the company has changed hands several times, currently owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc, which is a Canadian-based multinational fast food holding company formed as a result of a 2014 merger between Burger King and Tim Hortons, which was later expanded to include Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc (formerly Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits).

Burger King is perhaps most well known for their dish, the Whopper, which has become their signature product, and has been around since 1957. Burger King has had its fair share of controversy though, such as their 1981 ‘attack ad’ which boasted how their products were better than those served at McDonalds, the ad in question which you can check out here starred a young Sarah Michelle Gellar, and enraged McDonald’s executives so much that they actually sued Burger King because of it.

Perhaps my favourite innovation of Burger King is not a dish, but their mascot, the titular ‘Burger King’ for which the franchise is nominally named. To be clear, I don’t mean the original mascot used between the 1950s to the 1980s who was a magical character who ruled over a magical burger kingdom, and sat atop a burger throne, and had a magic ring which could summon copious amounts of food. Instead I am a fan of the 2003 caricature of this mascot created by the advertising team, Crispin Porter + Bogusky (also known as CP+B). He was known simply as ‘The King’ and was considered off-putting by the media, touted as ‘The Creepy King’ he was the star of a series of memes that extrapolated on the upsetting nature of the mascot. In fact it led to the Chief Financial officer of Burger King, Josh Kobza saying that he ‘Scared away women and children’. This unfortunately led to them retiring the character in 2010. Personally I found the character to be hilarious, and was sad to see him being phased out. Strangely enough though, his story did not end there, in 2015 he appeared as part of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s entourage prior to the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. He has since been featured sporadically at events and in commercials. This implies to me that killing the king was not as easy as they thought, perhaps he cannot be killed. Long Live the King!

Okay moving away from the company and its mascot, let’s finally move on to the actual review. Today I will be talking about the Vegan Royale, which is Burger King’s plant-based chicken burger. It is composed of a crispy, plant-based patty, which is designed to simulate the taste and texture of chicken, while being vegan friendly, and kinder to plants and animals. Alongside the actual patty, we have iceberg lettuce, vegan mayo and a sesame seed bun.

Vegan Royale
Okay so first off, they succeeded in their attempt to make this as indistinguishable from a regular chicken burger, much like with the Vegan Steak Bake and Sausage Roll from Greggs, I would struggle in a blind taste test to pick up the vegan option. Both in terms of consistency and appearance it looks an awful lot like chicken, and taste wise it ticks the box as well. In fact at several points I kept thinking, did they maybe package a regular chicken in this box by mistake, it’s that close. It’s incredibly moist and flavourful, and the vegan mayonnaise (which I was also unable to distinguish from the original) when paired with the lettuce adds just the right combination of crunch and creaminess to really put this dish over the top. Going back to the flavour of the chicken for a moment, it’s super close to regular chicken, but I think it actually is a little better, there’s an almost imperceptible flavour note which adds to the whole dish, and for me at the very least was very appealing. I definitely think this will be something I will be having again.

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