Food Future Summit 2019 Hong Kong: The Future Is Plant-Based


This year’s Food Future Summit in its third year was held at Asia Society – one of my favourite architectural spaces in Hong Kong. A former British military compound used in the production and storage of artillery and ammunition.

The future of food looks bright full of animal-free possibilities at Friday’s talks and innovative pop-ups. Chefs, investors, innovators and scientists weighed in on our current climate crisis and how feeding a growing global population will look like in 2030.

Food Tech

Singapore Food Tech start up Alchemy

Tackling diabetes has been a priority for the Singapore health care system and much funding has gone into finding solutions to this epidemic, I was so pleased to discover Alchemy Food Tech Startup that has discovered ways with their technology 5ibreplus to lower glycemic index of starch staples in our Asia diet of rice and noodles, without altering taste or texture.

Micro-tech Algae

Then we learn about fascinating alternatives where microbes can be used to grow food with natural gas and oxygen with Calysta, Hako Bakko professional fermenting chamber, China’s answer to Impossible Meats with Vince Lu’s Zhenrou (real meat 真肉)and James Chang of Deb Impact Technologies with micro-tech algae cultivation creating possibilities from bio-fuel to bio-plastics and nutritional proteins.

Hakko Bako fermentation chamber

Chefs Weigh In On Food Futures

Getting chefs’ perspective on the matter was also encouraging. Chef Shane Osborn of Arcane (a restaurant we love) wouldn’t deviate into produce that doesn’t have a story – real producers, farmers behind what he serves on the plate (so no lab grown meat from cells) and chef Brandon Jew wouldn’t serve anything he doesn’t believe in. Chef David Lai of Neighborhood (a restaurant we also love) has a wealth of knowledge and has been championing local produce and seafood for years, serving up deliciously rich pan-European hearty dishes.

While pastry chef-proprietor Belinda Leong of b. Patisserie in San Francisco and now Seoul doesn’t have plans to replace butter for vegan options – that is the whole point of indulgence, right? Processed vegetable oil isn’t necessarily the healthier option and definitely cannot replace the flavours and quality of full-fat dairy. However, her granola has been a hit and she has worked out a winning vegan granola recipe that she’s happy with.

I’m still in the camp of eating wholefoods and plants rather than lab made vegan produce with chemical composition names in the ingredients. I tried out the Alpha plantbased chicken nuggets and they were really good and bought a pack for naughty treats. Highly recommend it. I would however be as happy if it was tofu done the same way à la agedashi tofu.

Alpha vegan chicken nuggets

Similar to Quorn and Impossible Meats, the vegan chicken alternative by Spanish start up Heura has this extra salty finish to it, that of amino acids which for me, is an immediate giveaway in flavour profile that it isn’t real meat.

I’ve made lasagne and Bolognaise with Impossible Meats and Quorn and there’s the lingering salty amino acids flavours that doesn’t fit my palate, so I’m better off just making a vegetarian pasta without trying so hard to replacate the taste of meat.

I am aware all the invention of meat tasting vegan alternatives is to plug the middle gap of moving carnivores away from their eating habits, so it may not be for everyone and if you find the right recipes or restaurant, you might actually like the wholefoods vegan diet better than these alternatives. I love the Love and Lemons vegetarian cookbook.

It’s simple for myself as my diet is mostly plantbased from real plants, and I have little to no desire to have meat. I’ve had the Impossible and Beyond burgers from Beef and Liberty as well as Confusion Kitchen (one of my favourite Vegan places to go) in Hong Kong and they were both delish.

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