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Chef Reina, the plant-based Filipino food concept headed by Filipina-American vegan chef and restaurateur Reina Montenegro, will be among one of eight restaurants in the U.S. to debut OmniPork products for the first time in the country. Partnering with Green Monday, the Hong Kong-based group behind the 100% vegan pork analogues, Chef Reina will be launching an exclusive menu featuring Filipino-inspired dishes made with OmniPork mince, strips and luncheon meat, before they hit the U.S. retail market in the second half of 2021.
Chef Reina, the online food delivery concept that has just expanded with its new brick-and-mortar storefront in Brisbane, California, will be serving new veganised Filipino comfort food dishes made with OmniPork, the plant-based pork alternative developed by Green Monday’s food tech arm OmniFoods.
The restaurant, the brainchild of Filipina-American vegan chef and restaurateur Reina Montenegro, will be one of just eight restaurants to be the first to debut the famous Asian vegan pork brand in the U.S. market, rolling out an entire OmniPork menu in honour of Earth Day (April 22) before the range is set to launch in U.S. retail in Q2 of this year.
Other restaurants that are set to launch OmniPork on Earth Day include Chifa, RiceBox, Little Fatty, ManEatingPlant and Ramen Hood in Los Angeles, Shizen in San Francisco, and Honolulu-based Tane Vegan Izakaya.
Her culinary creativity and passion will most certainly bring a whole new plant-based experience to vegans and meat-eaters alike.David Yeung, Founder & CEO, Green Monday
Some of the classic Filipino dishes that Chef Reina will be serving – featuring OmniPork mince, strips and luncheon made from non-GMO soy, peas, shiitake mushrooms and rice – include Luncheon Meat Silog, Lumpia Shanghai, Luncheon Meat Fried Rice and Longaniza. The menu will also feature Sweet & Sour Bola Bola, Luncheon Meat Musubi and Misua Soup.
Up until the arrival of OmniPork luncheon meat, an analogue for the beloved processed canned meat often known simply by its brand name Spam, many iconic Filipino and other Asian dishes lacked a realistic plant-based alternative for the ubiquitous meat ingredient. Across the Asian region, over 400 million units of Spam are sold each year, and the Philippines alone consumes an estimated 1.25 million kilograms annually.
Commenting on the partnership with Chef Reina, founder and CEO of Green Monday David Yeung said: “I’m just thrilled that her restaurant opening coincided with our U.S. launch. Her culinary creativity and passion will most certainly bring a whole new plant-based experience to vegans and meat-eaters alike.”
I can soar high and do what I am passionate about, which is ultimately to convince people to end suffering.Chef Reina Montenegro
Chef Montenegro, whose OmniPork menu will be served at her fresh physical California storefront, says that opening her own brick-and-mortar restaurant and serving veganised Filipino dishes to the community has been her passion all along.
“It feels so good to be on my own and doing what I absolutely love without anything or anyone holding me back,” said Chef Montenegro. “I feel that finally my life is aligned where I can soar high and do what I am passionate about, which is ultimately to convince people to end suffering, not only to the environment or to the animals, but also themselves.”
Her collaboration with Green Monday comes as part of the Hong Kong-based group’s aggressive global expansion, having recently partnered with London-based Royal China Club to launch a vegan OmniPork menu featuring a range of traditional Cantonese dishes and dim sum.
We have seen an incredible response to our product in Asia and the U.K., and we anticipate the same enthusiasm here in the U.S. as more Americans adopt a plant-based or flexitarian lifestyle.David Yeung, Founder & CEO, Green Monday
The food tech took a foodservice-first approach to launch in the British market, partnering with a number of restaurants in January before introducing OmniPork through U.K. retail channels – a move that it is replicating for OmniPork’s U.S. debut.
“We have seen an incredible response to our product in Asia and the U.K., and we anticipate the same enthusiasm here in the U.S. as more Americans adopt a plant-based or flexitarian lifestyle,” said Yeung. The latest figures show that plant-based food retail in the U.S. has surpassed US$7 billion, growing twice as fast as conventional animal-based product categories.
While Green Monday continues to extend its international footprint, having recently entered retail in Japan, Australia, and opened physical stores of its grocery concept Green Common in both Shanghai and Singapore, it has continued to double down its presence in its local market, forging partnerships with major food industry players, including McDonald’s and 7-Eleven.
All images courtesy of Chef Reina.