FAUX / REAL

文化差異真假難分Fake meats have long catered to Buddhists, but with new food technologies, vegetarians eat better imitations than ever以往仿肉只為迎合佛教徒需求,但憑藉嶄新食品製造技術,素食者已可品嚐以假亂真的仿肉佳餚

SilkRoad - - CONVERSATION STARTERS - 楊大偉DAVID YEUNG WORDS 撰文

YOU MIGHT HAVE heard of and even tried products made by Beyond Meat, Just Eggs and Impossible Foods, all California-based companies that aim to use plants to mimic animal-derived foods – most prominently juicy hamburger patties. This new wave of food tech has been the biggest talk of the foodie scene in the past few months. At Green Monday, our Hong Kong start-up that focuses on sustainable living and includes Green Common shops, we’ve also developed Omnipork. Everyone who tries it is amazed by how real it seems.

In many Asian cultures, fake meats are a familiar concept, one associated with Buddhist practice. In Chinese, the word for vegetarian, or zhai, is associated with limiting what and when you eat for spiritual cleansing. But fake meats help people cheat; vegetarians who eat them are described as ‘ zhai in the mouth but not in the heart’. Dishes commonly imitated with plant-based ingredients include sweetand-sour pork, roast goose, sausage and chicken – you’ll easily find these at Hong Kong’s traditional Chinese vegetarian restaurants. They’re made with ingredients like soy, wheat gluten and shiitake mushroom stalks, and are designed to resemble meat in texture, form and taste. However, a lot of people do not consider this fake meat very appetising.

In recent years, more and more people around the world have been eschewing animal products, not for religious reasons but out of care for the environment, living creatures and their own health. But giving up our favourite foods is difficult. It’s not just about taste; eating is social, and foods are connected to our memories, emotions and cultural traditions.

Enter the new, hyper-realistic plantbased burger patties. These alternatives have made vegetarianism and veganism a less monastic choice. I’m a fan because these products can alleviate some of the difficulties people have in achieving their dietary goals. The new, trendy products even have more quality protein and iron than real meat, plus there’s no antibiotics, no cholesterol, no cruelty. It’s great for both vegetarians and omnivores.

People who take the plunge to go vegetarian or vegan need encouragement. It’s important to help them see how easy it is to adopt this lifestyle while getting enough nutrients. In this way, vegetarianism is about being kind to the planet and animals, while also being kind to people and building a community.

David Yeung is founder of Green Monday, a social enterprise that promotes sustainable living. greenmonday.org

你或許曾聽說、甚至品嚐過Beyond Meat、Just Eggs和Impossible Foods,這些美國加州公司製作的食品。它們旨在使用植物來模仿肉類食物,當中最出名的得數多汁的漢堡肉餅。過去數個月,這股食物 技術新浪潮是美食界最熱門的話題。我們Green Monday是香港初創社企公司,專注推動可持續生活,不但擁有旗下商店Green Common,還研發了植物豬肉Omnipork,嚐過的人都對其仿真度嘖嘖稱奇。

不少亞洲文化對「仿葷」並不陌生,這跟佛教習俗不無關係,而「齋」更有戒潔的意思。不過素肉通常都被視為作弊,因為素食者吃素肉容易被批評「齋口不齋心」。其實甜酸齋、素鵝、素扎肉和素雞等,都是香港傳統中式齋鋪常見的素肉。它們主要用大豆、麵筋及冬菇腳,再加入調味及色素來模仿肉的質感、外形及味道,不過對很多人而言,這類素肉未算太吸引。

近年愈來愈多人茹素不再單純為宗教原因,反而是想為地球、動物和自身健康出一分力。不過要放棄最喜歡的食品確實非常困難,畢竟美食不只是味道如此簡單,共享佳餚更是社交活動,而食物往往都能讓人聯繫著回憶、情感及文化傳統。

現在這個嶄新又以假亂真的植物漢堡肉餅,讓素食主義變得不再淡泊單調,它能有效幫助人實踐飲食目標(我自己也是其擁躉);再者,這些流行新食品營養價值高,比真肉擁有更多優質蛋白質和鈣質,而且無激素、零膽固醇及零殘忍,除了適合素食者之餘,對肉食者更是百利而無一害!

踏出茹素第一步的朋友需要鼓勵,我們應該從旁協助,讓他們明白恆常茹素並攝取足夠營養並不困難。畢竟,素食主義是善待地球和生靈的事情,同時也是與人為善,建立素食社群。

楊大偉是社企GreenMonday的創辦人,提倡可持續生活方式。greenmonday.org

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