We’re celebrating the veganning of the country’s plant-based revolution.
By Nafisa Singhsachathet
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent documentary features like Seaspiracy that shines a light on the unsustainable practices associated with farming our food, the world has seen a rise in veganism, with more and more people opting to embracing ethicality. As a result of this shift, there is now a plethora of cutting-edge vegan innovations available in Thailand. Here are a few that truly impressed us.
Beluga Caviar, considered some of the most premium caviar in the world, is actually extremely harmful to the now endangered beluga sturgeon fish species. Due to the need to harvest the eggs of the fish, the majority of beluga are killed for the sole purpose of caviar. Luckily, Canes Bangkok has dedicated their time to crafting a viable alternative for regular caviar. Seven chefs and two food scientists have developed the country’s first vegan caviar made entirely from algae and it has no toxic chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, and PCBs.
For many, honey is not considered vegan because of the harm it brings to bees in the beekeeping process, as oftentimes the honey (a bee’s food source) must be taken from the hive and replaced with a substitute sugar syrup that is considered detrimental to a bee’s health. Enter local bake shop, Whisked Away, who specialise in allergen-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan goods, have recently put out a new and delicious vegan, Bee-Free Honee that’s made from apples!
Thailand is one of the largest contributors to the global plastic pollution problem. In a bid to tackle this issue, SiamLeaf has launched a range of biodegradable takeaway containers and plates made from leaves, which they hope will become the preferred alternative to single-use plastic. No chemicals are used in creating the packaging and it’s sterilised with UVC. Moreover, unlike plastic, once left in soil, the packaging will degrade into soil or fertiliser within six weeks. The range of products mean the packaging can be used for everything from baked goods to hot meals and soups.
Luxury fashion brand Hermès has joined forces with MycoWorks to create a mushroom leather bag that is
up to par with its real leather counterparts. Both brands have been collaborating for over three years to develop a new fabric made with fi ne mycelium, also known as mushrooms. The new technology is called Sylvania and involves a process of tanning the mushrooms, which are then shaped in workshops by trained Hermès craftspeople.
Thailand is home to many kuay tiew stalls but hardly any vegan ones, as traditionally noodles are made with meaty bone broths. If you’re a noodle fan, Kaek Kao Kua are based in Asok and offer homemade vegan noodles available on delivery platforms like Foodpanda and Grab. The restaurant now has several noodle types and allows you to choose your kind of protein. One of their bestsellers, the Ba mee moo daeng (THB 99), is made from textured soy protein and features egg-free bamee seasoned with their special aromatic sauce.
VEGAN EGG YOLK
Vegan eatery Bangkok City Diner has developed Thailand’s first vegan egg yolk that’s made in-house. The vegan yolk has the same texture as a typical chicken’s egg yolk and is a component of their popular ramen dishes. With a range of different ones to choose from, the diner’s signature and fan favourite dish is their spicy Tan tan ramen (THB 240).
VEGAN MARIJUANA PIZZA
Goodsouls Kitchen, a vegan restaurant chain with branches in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, have announced that they’ll soon be introducing vegan dishes crafted using marijuana on their menu. Items are expected to include vegetarian burgers, steaks, salads, pastas, pizzas all infused with cannabis leaves.
Alt-Creamery, a vegan, plant-based ice cream brand stirred up by Chef Anjie of our ‘Home Kitchen’ section (page 62) have launched their vegan kulfi! The kulfi is made from almond and sunflower seed milk, fresh green cardamom from India, coconut sugar, erythritol and almond chunks. The inspiration behind this innovation came from the fact that Chef Anjie’s father went full vegan two years ago, and seeing him miss out on his favourite treats was heartbreaking. It led Chef Anjie to realise that, “Many people in the community have to give up sweet treats because of health issues, whether it’s diabetes or high blood pressure. Food selection can become boring, and as a chef you can’t let that happen.”
One of the world’s largest producers of seafood, Thai Union, have announced their plans to release a vegan shrimp product this year. Thai Union’s vegan shrimp will be a tempura-style product and the company is taking part in a vegan ingredients initiative backed by the European Commission that’s worth USD 11 million. Group Director, Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, claims that the product tastes exactly like shrimp tempura and will be a great alternative. In terms of vegan seafood, another brand specialising in minced shrimp products is Mantra, with their goods now available via The Vegan Basket. Moreover, several restaurants
across Bangkok including Golden State Vegan Café now offer innovative seafood alternatives such as crab cakes, tuna steaks, and more.
VEGAN DIM SUM
Now available in select supermarkets, Krop specialises in frozen plant-based dim sums that you can defrost in the microwave or steam over your stove. Developed by SeaTech Intertrade, the brand boasts several types of dim sum made using minced meat alternatives, including vegan shumai, ha kao, kraphao buns, curry buns, cuts of pork belly, and more!