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TONG CHONG STREET MARKET

Healthy Eating with top chefs May Chow and Saito Chau

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Check your newsfeed, read the paper – essentially, look anywhere – and it’s impossible to avoid: healthy, sustainable eating is one of the hottest trends in food, resulting in near-mainstream movements in veganism and campaigns like #MeatlessMonday. 

In Chinese cuisine, however, it’s been slower to catch on. But Hong Kong-based chefs May Chow of Little Bao and Saito Chau of John Anthony are hoping to change that.  

Both chefs place sustainability at the heart of their cuisine and have been experimenting with meat-free alternatives to give a healthy spin to traditional dishes. One meat-free alternative is Impossible Foods, a company that both Chow and Chau have been recently collaborating with. Its made headlines recently, becoming one of the most popular plant-based substitutes around. Why? Because it looks, cooks and even tastes like real meat, thanks to the dedicated efforts from a team of top scientists, chef, farmers and flavour experts behind the company. Their products, boosting a much lower environmental footprint than meat from animals, endeavour to address the urgent problem of climate change.

“We are so excited to use this ingredient,” says Chau. “Some of us meat lovers can’t even tell that it isn’t meat and now people who have never tasted meat before can try it.”

Chow shares Chau’s enthusiasm. “When I showcased it to my mum, who isn’t even that cool or into sustainability, she said, ‘oh maybe I will go home and make all of my wontons out of this meat now’,” she says. “It isn’t hard for her to understand, which is cool.”

Chow’s excitement for Impossible Foods first started when she catered co-working space Blueprint’s grand opening party creating meat-free versions of her signature baos, and she continues to regularly feature it on her restaurant menus. “I believe that they are doing something quite special and I like their story because they are not trying to be like the perfect vegan, it’s just taking an extra step towards eating less meat.”

At Tong Chong Street Market this January, both Chow and Chau are showcasing the possibilities of Impossible Foods with several exclusive dishes. Chau has created a beetroot puff pastry using beetroot puree, filled with Impossible meat and a house-secret black pepper sauce. The thinness of the light, airy pastry perfectly complements the richness of the stuffing. Chau’s second dish is a spin on the classic Mini Lion’s Head dish. He reinterprets traditional Chinese meatballs by substituting pork mince with Impossible meat to create tender, moist and light meatballs.

Chow, who actually launched Little Bao at an earlier iteration of Tong Chong Street Market, has appropriately developed a special edition bao for the occasion. “It’s a riff on a double cheeseburger but made with Impossible Foods. We are going to re-do the so-called ‘Big Mac sauce’ too and make our own bao version.” The crossover of Impossible Foods and Little Bao can also be seen at the lunchtime pop-up stall outside One Island East during weekdays from 14 -25 January.

While Chinese cuisine has been slow to join the healthy, sustainable movement, both chefs agree that the trend of meat-free alternatives is here to stay. “Healthy eating is going to continue to be a huge trend. There is momentum towards these more sustainable, animal-free products and it’s going to become much more accessible,” Chow says. “People in every country are seeking a healthy living standard and eating is the first step to living healthily in every way,” adds Chau.

Don’t miss the gourmet meat-free creations of the two chefs which will only be sold at Tong Chong Street Market in January.


Find out more about Tong Chong Street Market here.

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