In Singapore, vegetarian food is characterized by the variety of mock meat products available. The most common mock meat products are usually made from soya beans and mushroom. There is also seafood mock meat products available too.
I’ve loved trying mock meat dishes since a young age, especially if they really look and taste like the “real” thing. Of course, mock meat is best consumed in moderation!
When I met Justin whose family owns a mock meat factory in Johor Bahru (JB), I decided to jump at the chance of finally being able to witness how mock meat is produced in a factory. I even brought along my friend, a Star Blogger on Stomp.
Have you been to a supermarket in Singapore and noticed the brand OKK on the mock meat products?
Well, OKK is produced by Growth Well Industry Sdn Bhd which is located in JB:
Now, a common misconception that Singaporeans have is that eating at a vegetarian/vegan place that is not certified halal means that the food is not halal. Thus, mock meat products is not halal too.
Let me try to clarify this point: Mock meat products are halal. No meat is used in the production, only plants and so there is no slaughtering involved. If you are still curious about it, I would advise you to do a search on the actual definition of halal.
Thankfully, to ease the minds of their Malay consumers, OKK decided to get the Certificate of Authentication for their wide range of mock meat products:
And, of course, this is the prize cabinet for OKK products developed so far:
We had to be properly attired (no hair sticking out for hygiene purposes, mask and boots) for our factory visit – here’s Grace, Justin and myself:
Even before we entered the production line, we had to wash our hands and trawl our white boots through a specially prepared antibacterial solution. Much care was taken during the design of the factory as after walking through the antibacterial solution, the floor is anti-slip and absorbs the water efficiently.
Due to the sensitive business information, no photos are allowed of the production line. Not even if we are friends, haha!
The factory was divided into different sections, for different purposes – production, freezing, packing and storage etc. Thus, the room temperature differs at the different sections.
I especially loved the storage room as the temperature of the room was really cold and filled with the yummy smell of mock meat products.
At the end of the factory tour, I was simply taken aback and filled with wonder at the way mock meat products are made. Especially for the pieces of chicken chunks and cuttlefish. Being in a food factory, the smell of the m0ck meats were so delicious, it made all of us hungry.
However, although me and Grace would have loved to eat in JB, Justin said it was not safe. So we traveled back to Singapore to have lunch at his mother’s restaurant – Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant located at Quality Hotel, Balestier Road.
The cabbage appetizer really whets my appetite even though I was already hungry. It did not taste sour but has a sweet taste, which is what I like.
We started off our lunch with a Veg Shark’s Fin Soup, made mainly of mushrooms and crab strips:
Veg Shark’s Fin Soup $28/$20/$15
Herbal Chicken in Claypot $22/$18/$12
Fried Tofu with Seaweed $16/$12/$8
I highly recommend you get this dish if you love brinjal a.k.a. eggplant like me:
Brinjal with Bean Sauce $16/$12/$8
For a very unique dish to Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, do try their Veg Snow Fish in Hot Plate. It is made from wheat and served on a sizzling hot plate. It requires great skill on the part of the server to cut the aluminium foil containing the yummy snow fish as shown:
Some lime juice will be squeezed onto the chilli snow fish:
Veg Snow Fish in Hot Plate $12/piece
It was a really fruitful day spent observing the production of mock meat and enjoying the really delicious vegan meal.
All these would not have been possible without the great kindness of Justin who made all the necessary arrangements for us to travel to his family’s mock meat factory and providing us with the opportunity to taste the wide range of mock meat produced by the factory at his mum’s vegetarian restaurant.
Do head down to Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant at Quality Hotel, 201 Balestier Road, #02-00 to enjoy the wide range of healthy delicious mock meat dishes. And, made sure to inquire about which dishes contain dairy to avoid those for a vegan option!
Lastly, if you are interested to read about this similar visit through the eyes of a non-vegetarian, do click here!