Vegan and plant-based menu (Burger King)
Vegan and plant-based menu (Burger King SA)

  • Burger King has launched its vegan and plant-based menu. 
  • The new offerings include the plant-based Whopper Burger, Vegan Royal, and Vegan nuggets.
  • The whopper tastes a little different, but the vegan Chicken Royale, and the Vegan Nuggets taste just like the real thing.   
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Burger King just launched its vegan and plant-based additions to its menu – making it the first fast-food chain to offer vegan-certified 'meat' in Africa – and it tastes mostly like the real thing.

The new vegan and plant-based items added to the South African menu are the plan-based Whopper Burger, a vegan chicken sandwich called the Vegan Royale, and Vegan Nuggets accompanied by two dip pots (fiery and BBQ), chips and a Pepsi for a 100% vegan meal.

Plant-based whopper, vegan royale and vegan nugget
Plant-based whopper, vegan royale and vegan nuggets (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)

"Our aim is to offer vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based alternatives that do not compromise on flavour or price. Why should it?" said Group Marketing Executive at Burger King South Africa Ezelna Jones.

"By working with partners such as The Vegetarian Butcher and securing endorsements from industry leaders like V-Label, which is administered by ProVeg international, we know we can create the industry's leading vegan and vegetarian recipes to truly bring BK to you your way," Jones added.

The vegan additions are said to contain 0% meat and 100% plant-based ingredients, and cost almost the same price as their meat counterparts.

What's on offer: 

Plant-based Whopper Burger

Plant-based Whopper Burger (Business Insider/ Phum
Plant-based Whopper Burger (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)

The plant-based Whopper burger, which retails at R62.90 for a medium meal, contains 0% beef and everything else a whopper has to offer.

It features a plant-based patty, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onion, pickles, mayo, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun.

The patty is made of vegan ingredients including soy protein, wheat protein, and wheat starch.  According to the fast-food joint, the patty contains no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives.

It might be worth noting that the plant-based Whopper is not fully vegan or vegetarian as Burger King uses its standard mayonnaise in the burger, and it contains eggs and dairy. The patty is also cooked on the same grill as the beef Whopper patty.

Burger King Plant-Based Whopper (Business Insider/
Burger King Plant-Based Whopper (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)
Plant-based Whopper patty (Business Insider/ Phumi
Plant-based Whopper patty (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)

What we think: 

It looks like beef, smells like beef and at first bite, it kind of tastes like beef. The combination of the plant-based patty and the other Whopper ingredients make it taste just like a normal beef Whopper burger.

But when you take away all the other ingredients and eat the patty alone, you can tell that it has a different after taste, and chews much softer than its beef counterpart.

"At first it tastes like a real beef burger, but the more you chew and swallow, the more you can tell that no man, there's something different here compared to the real thing," said one of our meat-loving tasters.

"It tastes like meat, but I'm not entirely convinced. It might pass with some more seasoning or something," she added.

Our eight-year-old taster, on the other hand, was completely sold. She said she loved it and would "get it again and again."

Vegan Royale

The vegan patty in the Vega Royale, which goes for R59.90 for a medium meal, is made of soy and wheat protein and a mix of spices. It also features shredded lettuce on a sesame seed bun and, guess what? Vegan mayonnaise!

Vegan Royal (Phumi Ramalepe)
Vegan Royal (Phumi Ramalepe)

With no trace of eggs or dairy it's just the perfect offering for vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians. To top it off, the patty is cooked in a dedicated fryer that contains no traces of animal products.

Vegan Royal patty (Phumi Ramalepe)
Vegan Royal patty (Phumi Ramalepe)

What we think: 

The Vegan Royal is just one of those vegan chicken sandwiches that taste just like the real thing.  

It looks like a chicken patty, smells like one and tastes just like one too. I, for one, couldn't tell the difference between the vegan mayo and a non-vegan one.  

"If you had not told me that it's vegan chicken, I honestly wouldn't have guessed," said one of our tasters who happens to be an enthusiastic food critic.

"It feels a bit rubbery when you are chewing it, but its tastes just like a normal chicken patty, no doubt," he said.

The mayo didn't work so much for him. He said it was "a little too tangy," before even finding out it was vegan mayo.  

Our youngest taster enjoyed the Vegan Royal quite a lot, but still prefers the plant-based Whopper over this one.  

Our youngest taster (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramal
Our youngest taster (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)

Vegan Nuggets

First of all, the vegan chicken nuggets, sold for R49 for 12 pieces, could totally be confused for real chicken nuggets. They provide a soft and meat-like texture with all the flavours that make a Burger King chicken nugget.

Burger King Vegan nuggets (Phumi Ramalepe)
Burger King Vegan Nuggets (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)
Insider the Vegan nuggets (Business Insider/ Phumi
Insider the Vegan nuggets (Business Insider/ Phumi Ramalepe)

They go with the fiery dip, but we wouldn’t know what the combination tastes like because the waiters forgot to give us any.

Crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, these nuggets are made of soy protein and wheat protein, with natural flavouring. They are also cooked in a dedicated fryer that contains no traces of animal products.

"If I didn't know they are vegan, I would've thought they are regular chicken nuggets," said our taster. "They smell a little different but taste just like the Vegan Royal. They're pretty good," he said.

The verdict

We would give the plant-based Whopper a six, since the patty tastes less like beef when eaten alone. Some more seasoning would go a long way.

The Vegan Royal gets an eight. It tastes just like chicken and we're happy that the mayo is vegan as well.

The nuggets deserve an eight too, mainly because our eight-year-old taster confused them for the chicken nuggets she normally gets from McDonald's – and they taste quite good.  

We probably would have scored the nuggets a little higher if we got the intended dip – otherwise, they were delicious.

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