In theory Huxtaburger now have two vegetarian burgers on offer, the Sondra and the Vege Denise. I ordered the Sondra, but with no luck – I was told they were sold out. So I went with the Vege Denise. “Lucky,” the lady behind the counter said. “We only have three left!” And this was before the lunchtime rush. There were going to be a few disappointed vegetarians at Huxtaburger today. Or maybe not? You see, Huxtaburger got themselves in trouble with vegetarians a while back, saying on Facebook:
What defines a burger? What if something looks like a burger and tastes like a burger but the menu doesn’t say it’s a burger? What if it’s from a bakery, not a burger restaurant? And you can’t get it with chips?
I knew someone a while back who ate almost exclusively at McDonalds and Hungry Jacks. He was a committed meat-eater. When Lord of the Fries opened their first store he started eating there too, and liked it. He didn’t realise the burgers were vegetarian – and for good reason – in their very early days there was nothing obvious on the menu saying that they were. Even I avoided the place for months thinking there was nothing there for me.
YOMG stands for Yo My Goodness, and it’s a busy restaurant in Glen Waverley which specialises in burgers, shakes and frozen yogurt. One glance at the menu and you see they are pretty serious about their burgers. There’s two options for vegetarians.
When I first went vegetarian, over 20 years ago, there weren’t many burger options around. Or maybe I just lived in the wrong suburb. I ate Veggie Whoppers at Hungry Jacks quite a bit, until one day I saw a cryptic sign next to the Veggie Whopper and chips meal deal: Please note, one or more of these items are not vegetarian. Odd, I thought. Upon enquiry I was told the burger had animal rennet in the cheese, and the chips were pre-cooked in beef fat. So close, and yet so far. What a pity that something that was ostensibly vegetarian was in fact not.
I’ve been vegetarian for ages but I really wish I could be vegan. It would be far more ethical. But it’s hard enough being vegetarian sometimes – someone serving me in a cafe recently was convinced that vegetarians could eat chicken. When asking a restaurant if their food is vegetarian or vegan you are always at the mercy of their understanding of these terms.