I'm trying to remember the name of a short story, I think by Ken Liu, but could have been someone else. The plot was a woman who was an expert at making cultured steaks that looked exactly like the real thing. A man was blackmailing her into creating a bunch of steaks for a fancy dinner he was hosting, and to get her revenge, she etched something into the bones so that everyone would know they were fake.

Any leads? Thanks.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Where and when did you read this? Online, an anthology or a magazine?
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 18:55
  • I believe it was a published collection of short stories - they may have all been the same author, or it may have been in an anthology. Sorry I can't provide more exact info, I really only remember the plot.
    – user146347
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 19:07
  • 2
    Thank you for pointing me to this story. That was very entertaining.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


"A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad

From this review:

In this near-future SF novelette, 3-D printing has become so advanced that a “bioprinter” can mass-produce copies of food. In any criminal forgery case, the best forgeries are the ones that never get noticed, and Helena Li Yuanhui of Splendid Beef Enterprises, a one-woman business in Nanjing, China, is an expert at it. She keeps her business small and the quality of her gray market meat forgeries high, hoping to gradually earn enough to start a new life and make a complete break with her past.

Unfortunately for Helena, but not for our story, her past is discovered by a businessman, who blackmails her into secretly mass-producing 200 T-bone steaks ― a job far beyond Helena’s current capabilities. Among other complications, the 200 steaks need to be individualized with marbling, etc., so that they don’t look like carbon copies of each other. In desperation, she hires a perky but suspiciously capable assistant, Lily Yonezawa. Helena’s luck begins to turn as she and Lily become closer while working on this massive project, despite her anonymous blackmailer’s increasingly creepy threats.

From the story:

All known forgeries are failures, but sometimes that’s on purpose. Sometimes a forger decides to get revenge by planting obvious flaws in their work, then waiting for them to be revealed, making a fool of everyone who initially claimed the work was authentic. These flaws can take many forms—deliberate anachronisms, misspelled signatures, rude messages hidden beneath thick coats of paint—or a picture of a happy cow, surrounded by little hearts, etched into the T-bone of two hundred perfectly-printed steaks.

Found with a search for site:goodreads.com counterfeit steak


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.