It was only a matter of time that fast-food giant McDonald’s would jump on the green living wagon – after all, green is the new black in terms of trending food items and conscious living. McDonald’s joined forces with Hong Kong’s social venture group, Green Monday, to release the OmniPork Luncheon series, creating various breakfast and snack items with plant-based and vegan luncheon ‘meat’ which is made mostly from soy, wheat, beet, and coconut oil.
OmniFoods – the local vegan food trailblazers that brought OmniPork in the market – has debuted this plant-based version of luncheon meat last May and Green Monday’s Kind Kitchen offered them for their customers as Omni K-Ramen ($56) and Omni Luncheon and eggless toast ($49). The alternative luncheon meat, is said to be non-oil-fried, contains no cholesterol, added hormones, antibiotics, MSG or GMO (genetically modified organisms), and carries fewer calories, saturated fat, and sodium content.
If you’re a fan of McDonald’s hearty breakfasts, the OmniPork Luncheon jumbo set might be for you since it’s mostly served with scrambled eggs, sweet pancakes, muffins, and hash browns, but features the new ‘meat’. For more local tastes, the signature twisty pasta can now be topped with OmniPork Luncheon in vegetarian broth. The breakfast combo sets ($34) are available before 11am for a small complimentary cup of hot Italian white coffee or long black, and a medium one with your afternoon combo ($37) which is available after 11am.
In addition, McCafe is also offering a Go Green series featuring light bites which are available all day. Aside from the new OmniPork Luncheon and egg mayo ciabatta, you can try the OmniPork Luncheon, egg, and cheese toast which is made with half-melted buffalo cheese and crispy wheat bread.
As for our verdict on OmniPork Luncheon: it looks like luncheon meat, it feels like luncheon meat, but it doesn’t really taste like luncheon meat. To be fair, if you’re having it for breakfast, and you’re half-asleep, it might pass as the more porky stuff. But if you do focus, you’ll realise it is quite different. Not only is it not as salty – which is a good thing – it doesn’t have that aromatic taste that usually comes with grilling the meaty luncheon meat. In addition, while OmniPork Luncheon claims to be purely plant-based, it does have some additions of wheat (so it is not gluten-free) and thickeners including methylcellulose and maltodextrin, a chemical which can spike blood sugar.
That being said, the new OmniPork Luncheon at McDonald’s does seem to be a good first step in the right direction to drive green eating in the global sense. Note that the OmniPork Luncheon series at Mcdonald's is available for dining-in only while stocks last. Even if it is just a marketing ploy, the scheme is undoubtedly promoting more convenient and accessible green eating in Hong Kong. And finally, would we have it again? Sure, another curious bite, maybe. But as an eternal alternative to luncheon meat? We’re not sure we're ready. By Elaine Wong