The only time where "tastes like chicken" is as high a compliment you could hope to receive.
As an on-and-off vegetarian for the past three years, I've tried my fair share of fake meat. I'm already very familiar with A&W Canada and their meat alternatives after they introduced their Beyond Meat burgers in 2018.
So when I heard that the fast-food chain was offering a new plant-based chicken nugget option, I knew I had to get my hands on the nuggets and give them a go.
A&W had previously offered plant-based chicken nuggets back in 2019, but had decided to bring them back to stores across the country in 2021. Had they improved their recipe in two years? I had to find out.
What do A&W's fake chicken nuggets look like?
The nuggets arrived in a pretty typical A&W bag, though I was clearly favoured with a special bottled root beer (which was quickly handed over to my partner).
Inside, however, I was presented with the actual goods — six beyond meat chicken nuggets and four A&W sauces, along with packets of ketchup, mayonnaise and honey (not pictured).
Oh, and the plants weren't part of the nuggets deal, unfortunately.
I got packets of Jalapeño Ranch, Barbecue, Sweet & Sour and Honey Mustard, along with six of the plant-based nuggets. They looked like proper nuggets, maybe a little darker and smaller than the popular McDonald's nuggets but still exactly like you'd expect they'd look!
I was a little disappointed to only see six nuggets — if you're going to eat chicken nuggets, you want at least 10 or 12 — but I pressed on bravely.
What do A&W's fake chicken nuggets taste like?
My partner and I cracked open the sauces, each grabbed a nugget, and went to town, alternating between the four A&W sauces and then pure, unaltered nugget as well.
The batter was a great texture, very crispy without feeling too overcooked or burnt. The nuggets were a little small, which meant you were only really getting one and a half bites out of them, and there was definitely way too much sauce for just six nuggets.
Inside the nugget, the filling tasted like chicken, but didn't really taste like great chicken. There wasn't much of a flavour to speak of, and it had the same quality the burgers have (and that a lot of meat alternatives share), in which it tastes just adjacent to the meat it's emulating. You can definitely tell it's meant to be chicken, but it doesn't taste exactly like chicken either.
The super lovely and crispy batter definitely did a lot for my enjoyment of the nuggets, as did the sauces — the Ranch was nice with the nuggets and the Honey Mustard was *chef's kiss* but I'd skip the Barbecue sauce and the Sweet & Sour if I were you.
All in all, if you're craving chicken nuggets but want to stay vegan or vegetarian, you can't go wrong with this offering. They'll be offered at all A&W stores in Canada for a limited time while supplies last, in packs of six or 10 nuggets. Without knowing how much they'll cost, I'd recommend the 10 — six nuggets is never enough.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.