I thought it was pretty cool that NYTimes did a story on May Wah "Where ‘Chicken’ Actually Tastes Like Chicken" and I thought I would sum up my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with their products.
They are very popular among New York City vegan and vegetarian restaurants. The NYTimes article says, "The market also supplies many of the city’s vegetarian restaurants, though she [the owner] preferred not to say which." But when you vist NYC-based vegan restaurants, you can tell which ones use May Wah. Some of their famous dishes use the meat substitute- Foodswings (famous for their drumsticks), Wild Ginger, Terri, Red Bamboo (famous for their chicken parm).
May Wah products are generally tasty, which is why many omnivores find it an "acceptable" substitution in their meaty dishes. I have personally had multiple experiences dining at May Wah heavy resturants where my omnivore friends say "If I could eat like this everyday, I would be vegan too". This makes me assume that the choice of May Wah as a meat substitute is what keeps omnivores going back to these restaurants. Of course, they've learned how to prepare May Wah in a tasty way but would they be as successful without May Wah? I would argue that they wouldn't. Conversely, some health conscious vegans steer clear of the products because like most meat substitutes, they are highly processed (which was not focused on in the article).
I've personally used their products a few times from Thanksgiving chicken pot pie, drum sticks and chicken nuggets to "pork" fried rice, you really can't beat May Wah taste. And I must say, their products fry incredibly well. What's great about visiting the May Wah retail store is that, as you can see from their website, their products are priced very low. You can buy them at an affordable price and make your own versions of the dishes your favorite restaurants make.
For example you can get 10 drumsticks for $10, so $1/drum stick, plus the cost of breading (maybe .50c each drumstick) something that would cost you $2.50 each at Foodswings + the cost of time and travel. Will it taste as good? Maybe! There are tons of vegan fried chicken recipes out there, start experimenting!
In general, when it comes to taste, there is no better meat substitute on the market than May Wah. Just don't go adding it as a staple to your diet, there are much healthier proteins out there (tempeh- which is fermented soy, beans, nuts, and seeds). It is much healthier to center dishes around non-processed foods. And for those wondering May Wah does have gluten free options and they ship all through the United States.
And thanks NYTimes for bringing some attention to NYC vegan options.