Who knew soy meat could be so good?!

These days it isn’t hard to find meatless food options in Tokyo, and, even better, you no longer have to settle for a subpar flavor experience. Soy meat is booming in Japan, and the options are surprisingly delicious!

We found one such delicious option at Komeda Coffee, which is consistently voted as the most satisfying coffee shop in Japan. Once you try their newest menu item, you’ll understand why. The “Soy Ham Katsu Burger” is so unbelievably good you won’t even notice it’s not meat!

Our taste-tester for today was our Japanese-language reporter K. Masami. She was drawn by the advertising for the sandwich, which boasts that “this isn’t ham, but it’s equally delicious”. It’s made with soy meat sliced thick and deep-fried like a ham katsu, or a deep-fried ham cutlet.

To be honest, Masami didn’t expect it to truly blow her away, having never been truly surprised by soy products. Though plant-based meat has gotten surprisingly more meat-like in recent years, making soy taste like ham sounded like a tall ask. Without even talking about the texture, how can you replicate the unique flavor of ham?

So she went to Komeda Coffee vastly underestimating this meatless sandwich. But from the very moment it arrived at her table, she began to realize what a mistake she’d made. Just look at the size of the sandwich, for starters.

Komeda Coffee is infamous for making the food in their ads have deceptively big portions, but there was no false advertising when it came to this sandwich. It was almost as big as the 16-centimeter (6.3-inch) plate! After Masami saw it, she understood why the waitstaff asked if she wanted them to cut it into pieces for her when she ordered it.

It was also pretty heavy, and if she didn’t hold it carefully, all of the toppings looked like they would fall out. When Masami peeked under the top bun, she found tons of cabbage and a few green peppers inside, as well as a beautifully crisp-looking, thick, soy ham cutlet.

Worried about cracking her jaw, she took a bite, but she couldn’t even get a taste of the soy ham katsu, so monstrous was this sandwich. All she got was vegetables!

After tidying up the wayward strands of cabbage, she finally managed to get a bite of the ham katsu. The soy meat was a nice pink color, similar to the color of ham, if a little lighter. And the flavor was…

Shockingly ham-like! She honestly could not believe it was soy. It had just the right amount of saltiness and had somehow had a similar flavor to ham.

It did lack a little bit of the juiciness you might find in real meat, but it was still really difficult to believe it wasn’t real ham. Perhaps the fact that it was deep-fried and dressed with a special mustard-flavored burger sauce helped up the ham-like flavor of it. Either way, Masami was a fan.

They likely tried all kinds of things to come up with this recipe, but it still had no right to be that good. With a soy-meat patty as ham-like as this one, Masami would be happy never eating real ham again.

She was completely and utterly surprised. Truly, this is not an exaggeration. She’d underestimated this meatless ham katsu, and after eating it she wanted to kick herself. She felt like she had to apologize to the makers of this delicious concoction.

By the way, Masami got this huge soy ham cutlet sandwich for just 580 yen (US$5.12). With such a huge portion, she thought that was a pretty good deal! Sadly, it’s only available for a limited time at Komeda Coffee, so if you want to try it, make sure you go before the end of November. And if you miss it, don’t worry. Komeda Coffee also operates a completely plant-based restaurant called Komeda Is, which offers delicious vegan and vegetarian fare year-round.

Photos © SoraNews24
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