From Feta Pasta to “Fake Chicken” – TikTok’s biggest food trends

YouTube: Mulberry Street/Sauce Stache

Culinary enthusiasts have really had their moment this February, as TikTok has been full of wannabe chefs giving their own spin on dishes such as feta pasta and a vegan chicken substitute: two incredibly simple viral recipes.

As most of the world continues to be some kind of lockdown, a lot of us have taken to the kitchen as a way to pass the time and maybe learn a few culinary skills in the process.

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Naturally, as we share every step of this process on TikTok, a few novice-friendly recipes like feta pasta and vegan chicken have taken the internet by storm, with popstar Lizzo even trying her hand at the viral pasta dish. As the foodies continue to dominate TikTok, here’s everything you need to know about the viral food sensations.

What is feta pasta?

If you’re active on TikTok, you are almost guaranteed to see dozens of variations of this popular dish popping up on your feed. With the tag ‘feta pasta’ having over 635 million views on the app, it is clear that everyone wants in on the trend.

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The specific recipe that has TikTok on tenterhooks comes from Finnish blogger Jenny Hayran. The recipe, which is called “Uunifetapasta” – the Finnish word for “oven-baked pasta” – was first posted 2019. At the time, the dish was so popular in Finland that grocery stores in the country faced a national feta cheese shortage.

It’s easy to see why the recipe is so popular among TikToker users: it’s incredibly simple. Cover a block of feta cheese and cherry tomatoes with olive oil, season them with salt and pepper and bake until the feta melts and tomato bursts. Then, just add your favorite pasta and throw in some seasonings like basil.

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Consequently, there are hundreds of users trying the recipe for themselves, wanting to see what the buzz is about while other more experienced cooks have taken to adding their own variations to the dish.

One especially divisive recipe, which was uploaded by TikTok account The Hunger Diaries, involved adding strawberries to the mix.

Users reacted with horror in the comments, with one TikTok account calling it a “crime”, while another said: “Y’all are getting too brave with this pasta mess.”

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Other variations to the dish, which went down a lot better with TikTok users include pesto, olives, and goat’s cheese.

What is “vegan chicken”?

Meat substitutes such as tofu are commonplace in any vegan diet, but a lot of TikTokers have become puzzled by a new chicken substitute, which TikTok user @fakelettuce demonstrated can be made with just flour and water.

In the video, he demonstrated how after mixing flour and water into a bowl, you knead it and then leave it to rest for an hour.

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Then, it’s just a matter of kneading it again with more water, draining it, adding herbs and spices, and then after leaving it to sit for a little bit, frying it in a pan with vegetable stock.

Since the video was uploaded on 20 February, it has received 1.8 million views and nearly 36k likes. Although a lot of TikTok users expressed confusion at how he could turn flour and water into “chicken” – with one commenter calling the user “magic man” – it has nonetheless soared in popularity on the app, with the tags “vegan chicken” and “fake chicken” having 5.3 million and 2 million views respectively.

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The interesting thing about this recipe is that it isn’t actually that new – it comes from a Chinese tradition called “seitan”, which involves turning wheat into protein.

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