Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the news about the world basically ending if we don’t get our act together to tackle the effects of climate change. And while we’ve all been trying to play our part by recycling and using bamboo or glass straws, according to the UN, the biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet is actually by avoiding meat and dairy products.
However, if the thought of giving up all your favourite meaty meals is making you feel a little queasy, allow us to introduce you to the new kids on the meat-free block, that promise to taste exactly like the real thing. From beefy tasting plant-based burgers to pan-fried faux-pork buns, here’s where you can get your fix of the latest delicious faux-meats in Hong Kong.
Impossible meat is probably one of the most famous substitutes out there. Found on many of the restaurant menus around town, Impossible meat recreates the flavour and texture of ground beef using only plant-based ingredients such as wheat protein, potato protein, coconut oil, and a molecule called ‘heme,’ which the company creates using a naturally occurring plant protein. The heme mimics iron and helps the Impossible patties become just as crave-worthy as beef. Plenty of restaurants around town are offering their own spin on the Impossible meat.
First up is Beef & Liberty‘s mouth-watering Impossible Thai Burger ($135). Made with chilli, coriander, mint, basil, spring onion, soya mayonnaise, crispy shallots, and garlic, this Impossible patty guarantees to be packed with flavour. If you’re looking for something with more of an Asian twist, then check out the newly opened Little Bao in Causeway Bay. The Impossible Bao ($98) pairs Impossible meat with its signature steamed buns, a black pepper glaze, konbu salted lemon coleslaw, and fermented tofu mayonnaise. Or perhaps Happy Paradise‘s Impossible patty with cumin, Chinese mustard greens, and egg yolk dip ($88) might take your fancy? To round things off, Cali-Mex is also offering the Impossible meat as an alternative filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, enchiladas, and Mexican lasagne, for an additional $20, though this is currently only available at the Lan Kwai Fong, Sai Ying Pun, and Tsim Sha Tsui branches.
Right Treat Omnipork
While you’ve probably heard plenty about beef and chicken substitutes, despite being one of the most widely consumed meats, it’s not often you hear about a substitute for pork. Launched by local plant-based pioneers Green Monday, the Right Treat project offers an all-purpose Omnipork that is a 100 percent plant-based recreation of pork, using a blend of peas, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushrooms, and rice. Given how often pork is used in Chinese cuisine, it’s no surprise that a slew of restaurants in Hong Kong have already started incorporating this new faux-meat into their menus.
Offering six different dishes all under $100, Kind Kitchen by Green Common serves the most affordable and diverse range of fusion Omnipork dishes, with the soy milk Omnipork Tan Tan Noodle ($98) proving particularly popular. Other affordable options include Food Expression‘s Singaporean White Pepper Soup With Slow-Cooked Omnipork Balls ($60) and Steamed Canton Style Omnipork Patty With Rice And Choi Sum ($55), as well as the popular local chain restaurant King of Sheng Jian’s vegetarian Omnipork version of its famous Shanghainese Pan-fried Pork Buns ($20).
First introduced roughly a year ago to Hong Kong, Beyond Meat produces vegetarian chicken and beef substitutes made from mixtures of pea protein isolates, yeast, and other ingredients. Its signature product The Beyond Burger, packs 20 grams of plant-based protein, along with a bundle of other nutritional goodness. The plant-based burger can pass as a real meaty burger, and with the addition of beet juice, it even “bleeds” like a real beef patty.
The Beyond Meat and Beyond Burger are available in dozens of restaurants around town. Green Common offers three different Beyond Burgers – the Beyond Burger Teriyaki ($88) with teriyaki sauce, eggplant, bean sprouts, and frisee lettuce, the Beyond Burger Plus ($108) with avocado, vegan cheese, and lettuce, as well as the basic Beyond Burger Classic ($78). Some other restaurants offering their own take on the Beyond Burger and Beyond Meat in Hong Kong include Ruby Tuesday, J’s Bar Bistro at The Royal Garden Hotel, The Butchers Club, and Grassroots Pantry.
JUST Scramble Eggless Egg
The mung bean-based ‘eggless egg’, Just Egg, offers a healthier alternative to normal chicken eggs. They’re packed with plant-based protein and contain absolutely no cholesterol. Going further than most egg alternatives, Just Eggs even scrambles like your everyday breakfast.
Green Common uses the Just Egg in four different dishes. The not-so-traditional all-day breakfast All Day Just Egg ($62) is a scrambled egg dish with black truffle sauce, tomato, green salad, mixed mushrooms, baked beans, avocado with balsamic sauce, and wholewheat toast or hash browns. The vegan Japanese Just Scramble Teriyaki Bowl ($82) serves mixed grains, cordyceps, eggplant, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, and Chinese mushroom topped with the scrambled Just Eggs and homemade teriyaki sauce. Just Unveil ($50) is a healthier take on western French Toast with Just Egg, peanut butter, vegan butter, wholewheat bread, and agave syrup, while Just Hongkie ($50) is a lighter version of the typical Hong Kong-style French Toasts, scrambled with minced Beyond Meat on wholewheat thick toast and green salad. If you’re more of pizza person, Pizza Express‘s latest JUST Egg pizza ($138) is a also must-try.