In a brightly lit restaurant in downtown Hong Kong, the meaty smell of fried spam fills the air.
A cook is putting the finishing touches to a bowl of instant noodles, egg and spam, a dish so popular and iconic that it has its own shorthand in Cantonese.
But this bowl is different: despite being topped with two pink slabs of luncheon meat, it doesn’t actually contain any animal products. The “spam” is vegan, a meat-free alternative developed by OmniFoods, a Hong Kong-based food producer and social enterprise.
Like its US-based competitors Beyond Meat and Impossible, OmniFoods targets both vegetarians and meat-eaters with its plant-based foods, seeking to provide an ethical alternative that is less-environmentally damaging than meat.
While Beyond and Impossible started out focused on beef, “from the beginning, it was very obvious that in Asia, the most-consumed meat is pork,” said OmniFoods founder David Yeung.