Impossible Foods launches its plant-based meat at three Hong Kong restaurants today: Beef & Liberty, Happy Paradise and Little Bao. They’re the first eateries outside the US to feature the artificial meet on their menus.
Introduced in 2011 by Stanford biochemistry professor and former pediatrician Dr Patrick Brown, Impossible Foods makes meat, fish and dairy products directly from plants. It uses science and technology to create wholesome food with the aim of restoring natural ecosystems while sustainably feeding a growing global population.
Hong Kong is the first place outside the US to have the Impossible Burger, which cooks, smells and tastes like ground beef but is made entirely from plants. It is served in more than 1400 outlets in the US from award-winning restaurants to diners to the nation’s original fast-food chain White Castle. In Hong Kong, diners can try the product as a traditional burger or as the central filling of savoury streetfood.
“We’re confident that Hong Kong – Asia’s crossroads of ideas and influences both modern and traditional – will be home to the most innovative Impossible recipes yet,” says Impossible Foods CEO/founder Brown.
Twist on tradition
Named Asia’s top female chef last year, chef May Chow heads Happy Paradise and Little Bao, which both present a 21st-century approach to traditional Cantonese dining. A Toronto native who trained and worked in Bangkok, Los Angeles and Boston, Chow gained fame in Hong Kong’s streetfood markets.
From today at Little Bao, Chow and her team are serving the Impossible Bao, a traditional sandwich made with Impossible meat, black-pepper teriyaki sauce, salted-lemon kombu salad, and fermented tofu sauce, between two house-made steamed buns. The Impossible XinJiang Hot Pocket, another Chinese street snack debuts at Happy Paradise, served with pickled daikon and XinJiang spices.
Another award-winning chef in Hong Kong, Uwe Opocensky, who worked in Spain’s El Bulli when it was voted best restaurant in the world, spent a decade as executive chef at Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental before joining Beef & Liberty as group executive chef in 2016. Beef & Liberty is serving the Impossible Thai Burger with chili, coriander, mint, basil, spring onion, soya mayonnaise, crispy shallots and garlic. The restaurant group is also featuring Impossible Chili Cheese Fries.
“We are obsessed, in a good way, with burgers and doing what we can for the environment,” says Opocensky. “We love the way the Impossible Burger has created new excitement in the global burger scene and opportunities to be more sustainable.”
Impossible products have been made available in Hong Kong on a limited and exclusive basis through importer/distributor Classic Fine Foods.
Ingredients of the Impossible Burger include water, wheat protein, potato protein and coconut oil, with special ingredient heme contributing the characteristic taste of meat. Heme is a molecule that is especially abundant in animal tissue. The burger is produced without abattoirs, hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol or artificial flavours. Its production uses about 75 per cent less water, generates about 87 per cent fewer greenhouse gases, and needs about 95 per cent less land than conventional ground beef.
Investors in Impossible Foods include Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Temasek, UBS and Open Philanthropy Project.