2022 was the year of alternative meats. Vegan innovations became so mainstream that even the indulgent Kim Kardashian became a spokesperson for the healthier lifestyle.
While countries like Singapore have already passed laws to turn cultivated meat commercial, Manila’s vegan options, while on the rise, are still rare. There are some grocery options, and some restaurants offering vegetarian and vegan options like the trendy Crosta or Poblacion’s veggie stalwart Cosmic, but alternative meat is not yet mainstream on our shores.
Enter The Vegetarian Butcher, Unilever Food Solution’s answer to the trend, which hopes to make vegan options readily-available.
Tons of research and taste tests later, they’ve developed products that are restaurant-ready, and pack the most flavor into alternative meat we’ve seen yet. Engineered by a traditional cattle farmer turned vegan, their no-beef mince and no-chicken chunks bring unique texture and taste to the meatless meat table.
While not yet available for retail, we got a chance to sample The Vegetarian Butcher at Poblacion’s Mijo, where they were married with Latin-Filipino flavors. The best dish was the Chorizo Flammekeuche, which used Vegan Chorizo, an incredibly well-spiced mince that had the crispness of its meat-based original. Everything else was vegan too–a great surprise. Cashew mozzarella, soy aioli, and a deeply roasted garlic concasse were all great foils to the rich and salty chorizo.
There were also Argentinian Empanaditas full of soy NoMince Meat, that was hearty, full of stewed tomato, and enrobed in crunchy little purses. Paired with an intense chimichurri, the meat really was the star. Lastly, a Chicken Tajine made with NoChicken Chicken Chunks had a unique, soft and spongy texture, and when paired with the harissa couscous, made for a very interesting bite.
While you can’t get these flavors at home just yet, enjoy them while you can at Mijo, Cosmic, Mexicali, House of Lasagna, Crying Tiger, Sushi Nori, Ikomai, El Chupacabra, Burger King, Pancake House, and Army Navy. The Vegetarian Butcher is definitely the most capable contender in Manila’s vegan food scene.