Impossible Burger 2.0 now in Hong Kong: We give it a taste
In April last year, Impossible Foods made its Asia debut in Hong Kong with CEO and founder Dr Pat Brown presenting its plant-based Impossible Burger patty, cooked in various ways by chefs Uwe Opocensky of burger chain Beef & Liberty and May Chow of Little Bao.
Since then the product has been put on the menus of 150 restaurants around Hong Kong and some 180,000 have been sold, mostly as vegan or vegetarian burgers.
Now, less than a year later, Impossible Foods is back with version 2.0 of the plant-based patty. Perhaps ironically, it was presented at a restaurant called Wagyu on Wyndham Street in the city’s Central business district on Wednesday.
Impossible Foods claims the new version is juicier and tastes more like beef than the first version. It has also switched to using soybeans; the previous one was made of wheat and some consumers had concerns about gluten. It still contains heme, an iron-rich molecule that is also found in meat. It also contains 30 per cent less sodium and 40 per cent less saturated fat than the first version.
At Wagyu, the Impossible Burger 2.0 was fried and placed in a toasted sesame bun which we could customise with butter lettuce, slices of tomato and beets, guacamole, and mayonnaise mixed with sriracha sauce.
On first bite, the medium-rare patty had the texture of a beef patty, and held together much better than the first version. However, tastewise it seemed bland and needed more sauce to give it flavour.
Still, when we finished the burger there was none of the richness or that lump in the stomach you can get from eating meat, and several hours later we still weren’t hungry.
While Impossible Foods executives based in Hong Kong are pleased with how the brand has taken off here, it is mostly Western restaurants that serve it. They include Green at Hotel Icon, Cali-Mex, Urban Bakery Works, Porterhouse, PDT in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, and Namo Avant Thai.
The company hopes that, with more education about sustainability, more locals will try the company’s burger and integrate it more into their diet.
The Impossible Burger 2.0 can also be used as a replacement for minced beef, and the company is encouraging Hong Kong restaurants to use it in stir fries and lo mein – a dish of noodles mixed in a sauce that usually includes ground meat. We really liked pizzas topped with minced plant protein and melted cheese made by Castelo Concepts, the group behind restaurants including Oolaa, Jaspas and Wagyu.
We’ve been told the patty can be eaten raw, in dishes such as a plant-based “beef” tartare, and we’re curious to see how that tastes. Stay tuned.