I’ve written frequently about the names of vegetarian and vegan substitutes for animal-based foods: the apostrophes (Turk’y, Chick’n), the negatives (Nada Moo, Beef-less), the kree8tiv misspellings (Mylk, Krab). For more, see this post and “Phood for Thought,” my 2011 Vocabulary.com column.
Here’s a recent entry in the Name That Phood sweepstakes: ChiQin Nuggets, a new product from Quorn (“Home of Meatless”).
The protein source is fermented Fusarium venenatum, a fungus found naturally in soil.
This isn’t Quorn’s first foray into not-chicken; you can still find Quorn Chik’n products on Amazon and elsewhere. I haven’t found an explanation for the new name—perhaps it’s a new recipe, or maybe Quorn is doubling down on the initial letter of its corporate name, which here is pronounced identically to the /ck/ in chicken (or Chick’n). A third possibility—that the spelling is a coded message about the QAnon conspiracy—is too unappetizing to consider.*
Lest you think “Only in America!”—well, think again. Around the world, producers of plant-based products are having phun with their phood.
Last week OrenH tweeted from Jerusalem about “kmozzarella.”
I admire the elegance of this name and also its candor: it’s not real mozzarella, it’s mozzarella-ish.
Oren also likes French “fauxmage,” a blend of faux and fromage.
A Dutch example also relies on rhyme.
Bofkip (lucky chicken), instead of Plofkip (chicken about to explode because they were forcefed) I quite like as well.— Marijn van Putten (@PhDniX) September 17, 2022
And some German brands employ the letter-substitution strategy we see in ChiQin: the v in Vleisch is pronounced identically to the f in fleisch (meat) while conveniently signaling “vegan.”
Similar things in other languages? In German you may find "Vleisch", "Vurst" or "GeVlügel" for vegetarian/vegan "meet" etc.— Harald Samuel (@HaraBenNemsi) September 16, 2022
(I think “meet” is a typo for “meat.”)
Have you seen any good vegan-product names, in any language?
* The nuggets themselves, I’m happy to report, are quite tasty.