SOME WELL-KNOWN RESTAURANTS IN SINGAPORE ARE NOW SERVING PLANT-BASED PORK – HERE’S WHAT IT TASTES LIKE
By Sean Lim
Hong Konger David Yeung is on a mission to save the world – and it’s not by donning a superhero suit.
Instead, Yeung is trying to get you to stop eating meat.
According to the environmentalist, some of the world’s most pressing problems – climate change, food insecurity and public health – can be dealt with by dropping meat from our diets.
On Friday (Nov 16), Yeung, the CEO of Green Monday, officially launched the social venture group, which promotes plant-based diets and sustainability, in Singapore.
In August, Green Monday’s venture arm Green Common brought Beyond Meat’s plant-based meat to Singapore via the Grand Hyatt’s Mezza9.
At its launch at Grand Hyatt on Friday, the organisation introduced another sustainable food choice, a plant-based pork called Omnipork.
A plant-based option programme run by Green Monday already has about 20 restaurants and hospitality groups with over 80 outlets in Singapore signed on. Under the programme, these restaurants offer at least two plant-based dining options on their menus.
Some of the partners who have signed on include Grand Hyatt Singapore, The Fullerton Hotel, Cedele, SaladStop!, and even fast food joints such as Wolf Burgers.
But it’s not just restaurants that Green Monday has targeted. The group is also introducing plant-based retail products to Singapore. Beyond Meat will hit the shelves later this year, while Omnipork will be made available at retail points early next year.
At the launch event, we tried an Omnipork version of sweet and sour pork made by Mezza9 and the results were surprising.
Made from plant-based protein – soy, pea, shiitake mushroom and rice – the product by Hong Kong startup Right Treat does not contain added hormones, added antibiotics or any genetically modified organisms.
Compared to real meat, it has 70 per cent less saturated fat, 65 per cent less calories and zero cholesterol. Instead, it has more calcium, iron and fibre.
There is no denying – the dish looks exactly like the real deal.
It’s impressive how they managed to get the texture to look right, with little bumps and creases on the nuggets of Omnipork.
But here comes the vital bit. Does it taste like real pork?
After tasting it, I realised that the taste of Omnipork is almost an exact replica of real pork, but the texture is slightly different.
Real sweet and sour pork has many layers to its texture – a firm, sometimes even crunchy, exterior, paired with a softer interior that still has substantial bite to it. Some parts are fatty, while others are lean.
However, the Omnipork version had an interior and exterior texture which did not have a distinct difference. It was one mouthful of a softer and more squishy texture that lacked bite.
Still, I must say that Omnipork essentially tastes very much like meat, albeit a softer version. I would not have been able to tell that it was not meat had I not been told.
I can’t deny that real pork still tastes better, but this is an almost perfect substitute for those attempting to switch to a green diet.