Stepping into the Kind Kitchen at Green Common’s Central location, the aroma of hamburgers wafts through the air. The chargrilled scent of juicy ground beef is so enticing, I find myself longing for a Protein Style burger with Animal Style fries from In-N-Out. I shake my head to clear the hamburger haze; my mind is clearly confused because I know the cruelty-free Kind Kitchen cooks up everything but meat. So what gives?!
I am here to try The Beyond Burger. Made by Beyond Meat, the Beyond Burger is world’s first plant-based burger with a big mission: to revolutionize the future of food. Already, I’m dubious. The seemingly innocuous pink round ‘meat’ patty in front of me looks like a typical beef patty. When Dennis, our #saltbae chef of the night, removes the thin film and places the patty on the skillet, the sizzle and distinctive scent of browned beef immediately permeates the room – it smells like he’s cooking a burger. After adding a slice of vegan Daiya cheddar cheese (which is incredible, btw), tomatoes and avocados, Green Common’s Beyond Burger Plus is presented to me on a wooden handle board in all its hamburger glory. I take a bite and notice the pink middles of the patty looks exactly like meat. And the taste…the taste is that of umami! Savory, yummy deliciousness with a beefy taste that completely fooled this carnivore. I arrived a skeptic and I am fully gobsmacked. The Beyond Burger is no ordinary veggie burger. It is definitely beyond.
Made mainly from pea protein, beet juice and coconut oil, the 100% vegan patty is packed with 20 grams of plant protein and contains zero cholesterol, no hormones, no antibiotics and even has a higher protein content than that of a traditional beef patty. Committed to using nothing artificial or genetically modified, the creative geniuses at Beyond Meat, helmed by longtime vegan Ethan Brown, went on a seven-year journey to develop the miracle “meat” from concept to retail. “Our goal was to create a burger that could be enjoyed by meat lovers,” said Brown. “We took the essential element of meat, readily available in the plant kingdom, and arranged them in the architecture of meat. We believe that is the future of protein: fulfilling a growing global taste for meat with plant-based options that offer health, environmental, and animal welfare.”
Named one of Fast Company’s ‘Top 10 Most Innovative Food Companies 2017’, the eight-year-old company is backed by big names like Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, and even a traditional meat company, Tyson Foods. The Beyond Burger launched in the US market to big fanfare last year with many Whole Foods Market stores selling out within an hour of the product hitting the shelves. Today, Beyond Burger has made its way across international waters to Hong Kong’s very own plant-based concept grocery store, Green Common.
Social enterprise Green Monday is a pioneer of Hong Kong’s sustainable living movement. With a mission to educate the public about reducing our carbon footprint, the organization promotes healthy initiatives, like opting out of meat on Mondays. In the past couple of years, they have expanded their footprint by launching a retail arm, Green Common. The chain now has four locations that offer an extensive selection of vegan-friendly healthy snacks, fresh produce, dry goods, body care and household products. Plant-based devotee and Green Monday founder David Yeung is proud to be the official distributor of Beyond Meat and their revolutionary plant-based burger: “Hong Kong is one of the top meat consumption capitals in the world,” notes Yeung. “The launch of the Beyond Burger will not only blow everyone away with its amazing taste and nutrition profile, it will also mark the official beginning of the food, health and sustainability revolution in Asia.”
If the entire world were to skip meat on Mondays, an abundance of research has analyzed the beneficial impact it would reverberate worldwide. For starters, livestock farming is one of the biggest contributors to global warming, water pollution, and human obesity. It emits more greenhouse gases than all our cars, trucks, trains and planes put together – yikes! What’s more, we would save millions of animals from being factory-farmed, create way less waste and reduce pollution. We already know that eating too much red meat can have health repercussions. Ergo, consuming more meat-free meals can help prevent heart disease, cancer and stroke. For die-hard carnivores out-there, the Beyond Meat Burger is the game-changer that will satisfy palates and square away consciences.
The burgers are available to enjoy at Green Common’s Landmark and Harbour City cafes. And vegans rejoice: the hamburgers are served on freshly baked vegan buns (they have no onions or garlic either so they are Buddhist friendly) and you can add slice avo and vegan cheese as extras. Starting April 21, a two-patty pack can be purchased from any Green Common location so you can cook them at home! We can’t think of a more perfect way to honor Earth Day (April 22). For the earth’s sake, it’s time to take a good hard look at our eating habits. As Green Common’s mantra goes, the future is plant-based. And it begins with Beyond Burger.
Order the Beyond Burger (HKD 78) and the Beyond Burger Plus (HKD 108) from 11AM to 8PM at Green Common Central (Shop B2, Basement 1, Alexandra House) and Green Common Tsim Sha Tsui (Shop OT G61, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City).
Want to make your own burger at Green Common? The Beyond Burger Lab Workshop will run April 15th and 16th from 12PM – 1:30PM and 2PM – 3:30PM at Kind Kitchen, Green Common Central. 1/F, Shop 1, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road, Central. Enroll here.
Images courtesy of Green Queen (lead photo) and Green Queen.