Sunday, December 27, 2020
In a brightly lit restaurant in downtown Hong Kong, the meaty smell of fried spam fills the air. As other staff prepare for the lunchtime rush, a cook is putting the finishing touches to a bowl of instant noodles, egg and spam, a dish so popular and iconic of local cuisine that it has its own shorthand in Cantonese (chaan daan mihn). But this bowl is different: despite being topped with two pink slabs of luncheon meat, it doesn't actually contain any animal products. The "spam" is vegan, a meat-free alternative developed by OmniFoods, a Hong Kong-based food producer and social enterprise.
[W]hile it has a less than stellar reputation in many Western countries, spam is beloved in much of Asia. According to recent market research, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for some 39% of luncheon meat sales, with China, South Korea and Japan among the top consumers.
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