Is Vegetarian Shrimp an Oxymoron?

Will the real shrimp please stand up?

Can you spot the real shrimp on this plate?

If you think the phrase “jumbo shrimp” is an oxymoron, what about “vegetarian meat”?

I’ve never been a big fan of the various vegetarian “faux” meat products.  First, if you’ve decided not to eat meat, why go out of your way to eat something designed to taste like meat? Second, most of the fake meat products wouldn’t fool a two-year-old.

That said, I do get a kick out of the line of mock meats and seafoods that the May Wah Vegetarian Market imports from Asia. They have a booth at the annual Boston Vegetarian Festival every fall, and it’s always mobbed. This year, I eagerly took home a package of their “Veg. Prawns.”

Faux shrimp

Now that’s what I’d call jumbo-size “shrimp!”

As you can see from the photo, these “shrimp” truly are jumbo sized, but–sadly–they don’t taste anything like the real thing. They actually reminded me a little of the fake crabmeat that they sell at the supermarket counters.  Although they have a bit of a chew that is vaguely reminiscent of shrimp, I’m afraid this is not going to convince any seafood eaters to give up the real thing.

May Wah does have dozens of other products, however, that I think are quite tasty.  Some of them just sound like typical meat and seafood products—Veggie Hot Dog, Veggie Tuna, Veggie Chicken Nuggets—while others have intriguing names like Veggie Belt Fish, Vegan Bacon Sliced Ham, and Veggie Monkeyhead Mushroom.

The company is based in Manhattan, where they have a store on Hester Street, but you can order their products online at In Boston, Ming’s Supermarket on Washington Street in the South End carries some of the products, and they’re available at other stores in the Northeast.

According to their web site, May Wah’s mission is “to serve health and happiness to customers with the best of vegetarian foods in terms of nutrition and taste.” While there’s a bit of an oxymoronic quality to that statement, I’d say the world could use more businesses that are dedicated to serving health and happiness.


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One Response to Is Vegetarian Shrimp an Oxymoron?

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