Impossible meat tasted even beefier than beef

The Sunday Times did a blind taste test, comparing the plant-based meats with the real stuff. Judges were (from left) Mr Michel Lu, executive chairman of Revolver Asia, which specialises in mergers and acquisitions in the food and beverage industry; Food
The Sunday Times did a blind taste test, comparing the plant-based meats with the real stuff. Judges were (from left) Mr Michel Lu, executive chairman of Revolver Asia, which specialises in mergers and acquisitions in the food and beverage industry; Food Correspondent Eunice Quek; and STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Cooked Omnipork (left side) versus real pork.
Cooked Omnipork (left side) versus real pork.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Cooked patties made of (from left) Beyond Meat; Impossible meat; and real beef.
Cooked patties made of (from left) Beyond Meat; Impossible meat; and real beef.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The introduction of plant-based meats by eateries has not only piqued the curiosity of many diners, but has also led diners to do their own taste tests.

Mrs Teo Bee Heong, 53, who runs a charity, tried both the plant-based and real beef options of the beef Wellington at Bread Street Kitchen in Marina Bay Sands with her family of six.

She said: "To our surprise, we preferred the plant-based Wellington as it is tastier."

Other plant-based dishes that Mrs Teo has tried include gyoza and pancakes at modern Chinese restaurant Empress at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

She said: "I believe in eating everything in moderation. Plant-based meat provides meat-lovers like me an option to balance our diet."

Netizens and various news portals have also done taste tests for these meats.

Most pit burgers with different patties against one another while one tested dumplings made with the mystery meats.

The Sunday Times also did its own taste test to see how the plant-based meats would fare against the real McCoy in a blind tasting.

The blind tasting compared fresh supermarket-bought beef with Impossible meat and Beyond Meat, as well as fresh pork with Omnipork.

 

The raw patties were pan-fried with no added seasoning, and judged based on flavour, texture and appearance.

Judges for the tasting were Mr Michel Lu, executive chairman of Revolver Asia, which specialises in mergers and acquisitions in the food and beverage industry; STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo; and this reporter.

All three judges were able to identify the real meat during the blind taste test, as it was chewier than the plant-based versions.

But the plant-based patty from Impossible Foods was the unanimous winner in all three categories.

The judges agreed that the patty was tasty and juicy, had enough bite to satisfy meat-lovers and looked appetising.

Real beef, the saltiest and firmest of the three meats, came in second. In last place was the Beyond Meat patty which took the longest time to cook and retained a reddish hue even after cooking.

Mr Lu said: "Appearance is important. For Beyond Meat, it was almost the same colour as when it was raw."

While the beef tasting yielded fairly close results, there was a stark contrast between real pork and Omnipork when it came to flavour.

The judges were impressed by how similar Omnipork looked to real pork when raw. However, it lacked a pork flavour and had a strong taste of soy.

Ms Khoo said: "The Omnipork tastes like vegetarian mock meat."

Grabbing a piece of the real pork, she added: "It's a relief to eat a meat that tastes like what it should taste like."

The panel also discussed the future of these meat alternatives.

Mr Lu, who had tried the plant-based options from Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Omnipork and Quorn prior to this taste test, said: "People are trying these meats now because it's cool, but alternate meats do have a place in society today and I believe they will be more prevalent in the not-too-distant future.

"I find that Impossible meat is possibly beefier than beef. If it can have different levels of beef flavour, for example, or increase levels of vitamins or protein to cater to malnourished communities, imagine the tremendous impact it could make.

"Sure, you can argue that the meat is processed, but most people already eat processed food."

• Follow Eunice Quek on Twitter @STEuniceQ

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 12, 2019, with the headline 'Impossible meat tasted even beefier than beef '. Print Edition | Subscribe