Impossible Foods take a big bite out of Singapore with its very convincing meat alternatives

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

A little before 6pm yesterday, hundreds of people showed up in the heart of the central business district, creating long lines that snaked around the iconic tourist trap Lau Pa Sat hawker center.

Queues are business as usual here when it comes to the new Hype Thing In Town. This one, however, proved to be the hype-st one this year — Impossible Foods finally making landfall in Singapore.

Since launching in 2011 by a Stanford biochemistry professor, the brand has made waves across the scientific and culinary community worldwide for its meat analog product that actually tastes like the real thing. Completely plant-based (as well as being Kosher and Halal), the fake meat behaves exactly like real meat. It’s made of meat-free ingredients including wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and vitamins — but what makes Impossible the best mimic: heme.

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

It’s the plant extract that gives the meat analog product the distinctive metallic taste in real meat, and Impossible even managed to figure out how to make its (fake) meat bleed. Specific proteins and nutrients extracted from plants and other scientific shenanigans give it that meaty taste and smell.

Photo: Coconuts Media
Yeap, tastes pretty convincing. Photo: Coconuts Media

The result is an indistinguishable alternative that even carnivores can be fooled with. Engineering fake meat has its ecological benefits as well — it’s supposed to use up 87 percent less water, 96 percent less land and create 89 percent fewer carbon emissions than what it would take when consuming real beef.

The Singaporean sustenance

Impossible Foods’ entrance into the Singapore market wasn’t too surprising, considering that state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings dropped some serious money into the company. In 2017, Temasek led a US$75 million investment round in Impossible Foods, placing the Singaporean holding company next to the likes of Google Ventures, Bill Gates, and more as the company’s funders.

Photo: Kyle Malinda-White / Coconuts Media
Photo: Kyle Malinda-White / Coconuts Media

The elaborate and very extra event yesterday at Lau Pa Sat proved to be a huge hit. An hour or so after the event opened to the public, the long queue had to be cut off at the 500th person mark due to everything being sold out. The brand was quick to remind people that Impossible Foods is supplying its goods to eight restaurants in town, including Three Buns, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Bread Street Kitchen.

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

Impossible Foods wanted to show off that its meat alternatives would fit perfectly into local cuisine and roped in the likes of Park Bench Deli, Empress, and Lai Heng Fried Kway Teow to provide culinary vehicles. While vegetarians were more than happy with finally trying a guilt-less meaty burger, the vegan crowd were less than pleased. Mainly because there was cheese on Park Bench Deli’s burgers and the char kway teow had egg in it.

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