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In 2018, climate researchers published a study that showed that a vegan diet is by far the best way to reduce our impact on the earth. However, as public awareness of climate change has evolved, so have the ideas of what’s best. Instead of going completely zero-waste or giving up meat altogether, we’re now encouraged to make multiple smaller or gradual changes. So, if you want to participate in #MeatlessMonday without sacrificing the gustatory pleasures of meat, fear not! Whether you’re craving a burger or bolognese, chances are there’s a meatless match for you out there. 

What’s Your Beef?

The first company to garner headlines for meatless meat was California-based Beyond Meat. In 2014, videos of their Beyond Burger went viral after demonstrating how the plant-based patty mimics the juiciness of beef using beet juice. Soon after, Impossible Foods released their version with flecks of coconut oil and plant flour compounds to recreate the coveted marble of high-quality beef. And both not only approximate the texture and taste of meat, but also its nutritional profile. Beyond Burger patties contain 20 grams of protein per serving, slightly more than the average 100-gram beef patty. Both the Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods beef alternatives use more than 80 per cent less water, more than 90 per cent percent less land and produce around 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, making them easy choices for a guilt-free cookout.

Tastes Like Chicken

Fried chicken is truly a borderless dish; Japanese people eat it for Christmas, Koreans upgrade theirs with indulgent sauces, and KFC is the most popular fast food chain in China. When Los Angeles-based Alpha Foods added plant-based chicken nuggets to their vegan roster of burritos, pizzas and pot pies, Green Common saw a perfect match for Asian palates and brought the products to Hong Kong. The nuggets are made from naturally flavoured non-GMO soy and wheat proteins, and presented in familiar kid-friendly shapes. Parents of picky eaters can rejoice — just four nuggets pack 20 per cent of the daily recommended dose of protein.

The Other White Meat

It’s no secret that East Asians lead the world in pork consumption, choosing it from up to ten times as often as any other meat. Hong Kong-based environmental advocate David Yeung saw the opportunity to steer this market towards more sustainable food systems. In 2012 he founded Green Monday, an advocacy group for plant-based living that includes plant-based grocery Green Common and food technology company Right Treat. Right Treat’s first product was OmniPork, which offers 86 per cent less saturated fat, 260 per cent more calcium and 127 per cent more iron than ground pork. Discerning eaters and chefs, including executive Chinese chef Jayson Tang Ka Ho of JW Marriott Hong Kong, have given it their stamp of approval.

The Case for Insects

If your appetites are more adventurous, look no further than entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects. For Hong Kong-based designer Katharina Unger, transforming perceptions around entomophagy may be the key to more connected and sustainable food systems After all, insects are already on most menus. ‘Eighty per cent of the world actually eats them already in some fashion,’ she told TEDxVienna, ‘so it is the food of today and the food of the future.’ After exploring insect farming in her product design studies, Unger founded LIVIN Farms to produce sleek insect farming technology for domestic and commercial use. Her Hive model can fit on a desk, and uses household food waste to raise enough mealworms for a 200-500 gram harvest each week. Insects, said Unger in a 2019 interview, ‘can take waste materials and make high-quality protein and fertiliser’ — a powerful panacea for the pollution of traditional agriculture. Described as having a pleasing nutty flavour and crispy texture, mealworms contain a similar amount of protein to beef while packing fibre, essential vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin A. Unger suggests putting them in a patty, adding them to fried rice or baking with insect-based flours.

Where to Get It

Good news! Great Food Hall now boasts a wide selection of meatless future foods courtesy of plant-based food experts Green Common. Head to their VEGOOD fridge for Beyond Meat burgers and sausages, OmniPork, Alpha Nuggets and other meatless offerings. And if you’re looking for something ready-to-eat, premium burger joint Triple O’s, also located in Great, is now serving the Impossible Burger.