Hong Kong chef says vegan Impossible Burger is 'not a replacement -- it's just another meat'

30 April 2018

It has been over a week since the vegan Impossible Burger made its international debut in Hong Kong and chefs already believe in its potential to change our food system.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, chefs Uwe Opocensky and May Chow, who each developed menu items for their restaurants using Impossible meat, are approaching the new ingredient with an open mind. At a press event, Opocensky spoke about the potential of the plant-based meat: "We need to change the way we eat. With Impossible Foods, I think we can get there."

"For us as chefs," he continued, "it's our job to make it even more delicious and make sure people don't think 'I have a non-meat burger', but 'I'm having a burger' regardless of what it is. If we can achieve that, we are on to a real winner. It's not a meat replacement – it's just another meat, another dish, another new ingredient that has never been there before."

Chow agreed with Opocensky, but noted that she is still experimenting with using Cantonese cooking techniques on Impossible meat. Frying, searing, and deep-frying do work, but she finds steaming, which is used to create a steamed minced pork dish, to be more difficult. However, she is excited by the challenge of learning to cook with a new ingredient. "That's something even in the US you can't do, but can explore in Asia," Chow said.

The vegan Hong Kong movement is growing. Green Monday, which shares the premise of going meat-free for 'Meatless Mondays', recently emerged in order to support the growing plant-based food movement in Asia. However, Hong Kong still ranks among the highest in the world in its consumption of meat, which played a part in Impossible Foods' decision to debut there. "[P]eople love new foods in Hong Kong, and they love meat," said Pat Brown, Impossible Foods CEO and Founder."That's our target consumer, there's loads of meat eaters in Hong Kong."

While the Impossible Burger has just recently arrived in Hong Kong, the company aspires to create a globally sustainable food system. A recent $114 million investment will allow the company to continue its expansion across the United States and eventually, other countries around the globe. Earlier this year, Impossible Foods Chief Financial Officer David Lee said that the ultimate goal is to create vegan meat and dairy products for"every cultural region of the world."

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