PHONY FISH: fake fish meat

So far, the fish we eat is, still, fish.  But there are those who hope to change that fact soon.  A number of companies are investing in new machinery and technology with the hopes of coming up with imitation tuna, salmon, shrimp – and to have those phony fish products appear and smell like fish.

Most of the fake fish of the past used soy or wheat gluten that didn’t produce the flakiness of fish or the crispness of shrimp.  Today, there are efforts that have used tomatoes to produce a substitute for tuna.  The product is Ahimi, produced by Ocean Hugger Foods and launched last year.  Its meaty texture is said to be the result of a proprietary manufacturing process that enhances the savory quality of the tomato with five ingredients including soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil.  Ahimi is sold to chefs for use in raw fish dishes like sushi and comes in stacks of frozen, marinated half-tomato filets that can be cut similarly to raw tuna.  The company is now working on an eggplant-based eel called Unami, to be launched next month, and, in 2019, a carrot-based salmon will be available.  Well, one can be thankful for a variety of things, among them, that real fish and seafood are still available, and that one doesn’t eat sushi.  But I have a burning question:  What company is at work to produce a phony version of tomatoes, eggplant and carrots – it’s certain that we’ll run out of those soon and need fake substitutes.

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