5 Juicy Meat Alternatives to Beef Up Your Meals

5 Juicy Meat Alternatives to Beef Up Your Meals

Is fake meat the future? Take a closer look at these 5 sustainable mock meats brands that taste impossibly close to the real thing

Fake meat – one of the hottest food trends in US – is set to take over the Asian market this year and next. With a sizeable vegetarian population due to Buddhism (half of the world’s 628 million vegetarians come from India), the concept of mock meat is not new in the East. What’s the difference? The recent breakthrough in meat substitutes brings together a blend of plant proteins that look, taste and feel like actual meat or poultry. Its dense flavors and textures are a far cry from traditional meat substitutes like tofu skin, tempeh or lentils. More importantly, the fresh faces of mock meats pack similar amounts of protein compared to real meat, and contain the same vitamins and zinc found in animal products.

Here are five of the biggest meatless brands: 

1. Quorn

Photo: Quorn

Recipe ideas: Swedish Meatballs, Bolognese and Curries

Quorn is fast becoming a household name in Asia, with over 200 retail outlets carrying its products in Philippines, and popular food chains like Soup Spoon and Ichiban Bento serving up its meat-free alternatives in Singapore. Its line of mock meats feature the unique mycoprotein grown by the same traditional fermentation process used in bread and yogurt. Consumers love their famous meatballs for its likeness to actual meatballs, which pair well with herbs, spices and a tomato-based gravies. Their chicken pieces are another bestseller, which will soak your Laksa or Rendang gravy well and provide contrasting textures in your dish.

Unlike the Beyond and Impossible, Quorn’s supermarket choices are really affordable, with their meatless meatballs or crispy nuggets setting you back by only 6 SGD for 300 g. That’s even cheaper than normal meat! 

2. Impossible Foods

Photo: Impossible Foods

Recipe ideas: Burgers, Bangers and Mash

Low on environmental footprint but definitely on the food map in parts of Asia, Impossible Foods has been around since 2011 and was founded by Patrick O. Brown to end the use of animals to make food. It’s most renown for its Impossible Burger that has been lauded by fans for its remarkable similarity to a regular beef burger. Their signature patty derives its protein largely from soy and potato, and when stacked with melted cheddar cheese, crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes and pickles in between toasted brioche buns, its impossible to differentiate it from a typical finger-licking good burger experience.

Impossible Food’s burger pricing has become more pocket-friendly of late, with Mos Impossible Burger retailing at only SGD 6.50 and Fatburger’s version at SGD 10.90 in Singapore. Want to flip some vegan burgers this weekend? Their patties average around SGD 6 each and can be found on RedMart, Little Farms and Fairprice Finest.   

3. Beyond Meat

Photo: Beyond Meat

Recipe ideas: Burgers, Beef Bowl

Another heavyweight in the fake meat scene is Beyond Meat, and this close competitor is often found in the same kind of similar kind of food spaces as Impossible, from The Ritz-Carlton and The Butchers Club in Hong Kong to Wolf Burgers and Mezza 9 (Grand Hyatt) in Singapore. Beyond patties have been praised by fans for its crusty exterior and savory flavors, but when compared side by side to Impossible patties, it’s been edged out in terms of looks and texture. It doesn’t have the same meat bleed or juiciness of Impossible patties, and some food critics have been put off by the crunchiness of its interior. Despite its meat substitution shortcomings, vegans and vegetarians will be happy to know that their products possess those same delicious flavors as normal vegan patties.  

Pricing-wise, Beyond patties cost as much as Impossible ones, retailing between SGD 6 - 7 at Little Farms, Fairprice Finest and Eat Organic in Singapore. 

4. Hodo 

Photo: Hodo

Recipe ideas: Mixed Rice Bowls, Sandwiches and Salads

Hodo doesn’t even pretend to be a meat substitute. Instead, it takes the age-old tofu and gives it a yummy, healthy twist that even meat lovers are fond of, especially in burritos. Their tofu are jam-packed with 50% more protein than ordinary ones, and is firmer in texture, allowing you to add it to your Mushroom and Tempeh Rendang or One Pan Vegan Krapao Fried Rice without breaking up. This Californian company isn’t in Asia yet, but we can’t wait to try their well-reviewed tofu range.

Prices start at USD 6 per pack for 8 ounces (226 g) of ready-to-cook tofu cubes.

5. OmniMeat

Photo: OmniMeat

Recipe ideas: Stir-Fries, Dumplings and Spring Rolls

Move aside beef, Hong Kong’s OmniMeat is set to replace the most consumed meat in the world – pork. Over one-thirds of the world’s consumed meat is pork, and OmniMeat has ambitious plans to expand in China this year, after establishing its presence in Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Macau and Hong Kong. Chinese, Thai and Filipino cuisine feature pork meat frequently in their dishes, from classic Chicken and Pork Adobo, Pad Krapow to delicate Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao, so having a pork substitute is great news for vegetarians in those countries. According to some food critics, OmniMeat’s texture is slightly spongier than pork, and doesn’t have much flavor on its own. However, stir-fry it in some spicy savory Asian sauces or gravies, and you’ve got yourself a plant-based substitute that looks, taste and feels like real pork!

At SGD 7.50 per pack of 230 g, OmniMeat is pricier than normal minced meat, but if you’re watching your diet, this product has 68% less calories and 3 times more calcium than regular ground pork.

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