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Fried chicken is the holy grail of all comfort foods. It’s the way the golden, crispy coating melts in your mouth after every bite. For people who have chosen to live a meat-free life, Temple of Seitan has answered their prayers. Behold, vegan fried ‘chicken’. Yes, you heard that right. Mouth-watering, crispy-crunchin’, cruelty-free fried ‘chicken’.
Whether you’re vegan or not, Temple of Seitan (also known as Temple of Hackney) has something for everyone to rave about. From tubs of mac n ‘cheez’, deli sandwiches and ‘chicken’ burgers, you’ll be peckish (pun intended) from just looking at their 100% vegan menu.
Drop what you’re doing and head over to Hackney, where Temple of Seitan resides. Being the ‘first vegan fried “chicken” shop in the world’, they’ve gained themselves a clan of loyal customers since they opened earlier this year. They run out of stock on most days, so don’t wing it – get there early if you want some deep-fried grub.
Everyone’s heard about meat substitutes like tofu and quorn, but it’s time to introduce you to seitan. It’s basically wheat-gluten, also commonly known as ‘wheat-meat’. It derives from the protein of wheat, so for vegan body-builders, it’s heaven sent. Seitan can be seasoned in different ways to imitate the flavours of chicken, pork or beef.
Does it look like fried chicken? Yes.
Does it smell like fried chicken? Yes.
Does it taste like fried chicken? Yes.
Temple of Seitan has perfected that crunchy, perfectly golden coating with their equally awesome wheat-protein. The ‘meat’ is seasoned perfectly with just the right garlic-to-paprika combination, and can fool avid chicken lovers into believing it’s the real thing. Save your pennies though as the two-piece chicken is being sold for £6 (US$8) – not entirely cheap, but it’s the price we pay for some good, guilt-free ‘meat’.
Another top pick is their Temple burger – their take on the classic chicken and bacon version. As if they didn’t treat us enough with vegan fried ‘chicken’, they threw in that vegan ‘bacon’ too! Complimented by their own vegan mayonnaise, this magnificent sandwich has everything going for it. KFC eat your heart out, there’s a new burger in town.
Let’s talk about the sides now. Would a fried chicken meal be complete without the authentic side dishes of mac n ‘cheez’, and coleslaw? Everyone’s childhood favourite has the right balance of creamy and tangy cheese, sprinkled with amazing bacon bits and topped with a generous helping of creamy cheese sauce. With their deep-fried seitan, it’s a match made in foodie heaven.
An honourable mention to their coleslaw, a modern (and healthier) twist to a classic southern side. They’ve substituted the creamy element of the classic recipe for a more vinegary one that contrasts with the gooeyness of the macaroni and cheese, for those looking for a fresher, punchier side dish.
So head to Hackney for the ultimate comfort food fiesta.