Plant-based meats: 6 meat substitutes to try in Singapore
Quorn might be relatively new to the Singaporean market, but this UK-born brand of meat substitute has been around since 1985. Made from mycoprotein (or microfungus) that’s grown in fermentation tanks, Quorn is high in protein and dietary fibre. The product comes in a multitude of forms – including mince, fillets, sausages, and one of the most convincing nuggets around. While the original Quorn formulation is vegetarian, there’s also a separate range that’s vegan.
Thanks to a yeast-derived compound called heme, Impossible meat has managed to create a meat analogue that mimics the rich, iron-y flavour of actual meat. While still distinguishable from the real thing, Impossible’s closeness to actual beef (even browns up just like it) means that it’s a popular choice for burgers – and can be found at many burger joints offering plant-based burgers. It’s mainly from soy and potato protein, as well as coconut and sunflower oil, heme, and binders. Impossible comes in mince form – and can be used just like ground beef to be made into meatballs or put into pasta.
One of the few meat alternatives created to cater to East Asian diets, Omnimeat provide an interesting alternative for a culture that already has a long history of producing plant-based meat substitutes, especially among the Buddhist communities. Created from shiitake mushrooms, pea, soy, and rice, Omnimeat somewhat looks and behaves like ground pork – making it suitable for stir-frys and dumplings. Also available in meat strips and luncheon meat.
Try Omnimeat at Green Common.
One of the rare options that is soy- and gluten-free, Beyond Meat is made from pea, mung bean, faba bean, and brown rice in addition to various plant-based binders, fats, and colouring. While lacking the heme-conferred meatiness of Impossible, Beyond doesn’t lack in flavour – and makes a great burger for those looking for a lighter flavour. Comes in multiple forms including burger, mince, sausage, and meatball.
Available in most major grocery stores. You can also try it in burger form at Mezza9.
Unlike many alternative meat products, chicken alternative Tindle is textured to mimic an actual piece of chicken muscle. Produced by Singapore-based company Next Gen Foods, Tindle is soy-based and boasts only 9 ingredients. While not yet available for retail customers, the brand has partnered with 11 local restaurants including ADDA, Love Handle Burgers, The Market Grill, 28 Hong Kong Street, and Levant.
(Related: Championing plant-based cuisine: Peggy Chan)
Another Singapore-based business, Karana, has entered the meat-substitute fray. While most companies offer some form of textured, legume-derived protein, Karana has embraced a fruit that’s long been used as a meat substitute by vegans – the jackfruit. Thanks to its striated texture, jackfruit has a texture resembling pulled pork when cooked. Karana comes in minced and shredded forms, and is currently only available at a few partner restaurants including Open Farm Community, Morsels and Candlenut.
The Vegetarian Butcher
The brand first started in 2010 in Holland as a butcher’s shop that sold only plant-based meats; and was acquired by Unilever in 2018. Now in Singapore, The Vegetarian Butcher has launched a plant-based meat concept restaurant in Jurong Bird Park. The brand also works with other restaurants – its products can be found across Tung Lok Group‘s restaurants, which are used in creations like a plant-based dongbo pork at Tunglok Heen