Hooters recently launched meatless "Unreal Wings" at 318 restaurants across the U.S. The plant-based product is meant to mimic boneless wings and is made with Quorn, a fermented fungus-based meat alternative. That sounds gross, but we promise you these chickenless wings are not. They're good, and we're just as surprised as you are.
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Hooters' Unreal Wings come fried and tossed in any of the chain's 14 sauces and dry rubs including classic Buffalo, BBQ and honey Thai chili pepper. Thanks to our friends at the chain, we were able to test them on the date of their launch. Ours came in classic Buffalo with a side of ranch and blue cheese.
The majority of our team was taken aback. If we hadn't known ahead of time that these weren't made from real chicken, we probably wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. The plant-based protein, sauce and dressing tasted just like regular boneless wings.
"It had a really good nugget to breading ratio, and when I looked at the inside it looked just like chicken," an editor said.
On the contrary, one staffer didn't quite agree.
"I thought they just tasted like vegetarian chicken nuggets dipped in Buffalo sauce," she said. "So, they are what they say they are, though they're nothing remarkable. It's great that vegetarians have options at a sports bar, but the texture isn't anything like a normal chicken nugget. The buffalo sauce on our order was delicious though, very mild, but super flavorful."
As for The Daily Meal's resident vegetarian, she was over the moon.
"The one food I miss beyond words is chicken wings, so I'm happy that it's getting easier to eat things slathered in Buffalo sauce again," she said, although she wished the wings were saucier. To be fair, the nearest Hooters is in Midtown and our office is in Lower Manhattan, so travel time likely affected the quality to a certain degree.
We have to give it to you, Hooters. Meatless chicken wings came out of left field, but you knocked it out of the park (for most of us, at least). Unreal Wings are available now for $9.99 per six-piece and $14.99 per 10-piece. If you prefer the real deal, grab some Wet-Naps and head to these restaurants with the best bone-in Buffalo wings in America.