SUBANG JAYA: An increasing number of Malaysians are opting for a plant-based diet whether for health, environmental or ethical issues.
Recognising this trend in eating habits, a famous kopitiam chain in Malaysia is offering this segment of their customers, particularly those switching for health reasons, plant-based alternatives to some of their favourite dishes.
During the recent media launch of OldTown White Coffee’s plant-based additions, FMT caught up with Brand and Marketing Head Eda Hayati Ariffin and OldTown Chief Development Officer Deric Yeo for some insights.
Eda explained that the chicken and eggs (named Chick’n and Only Eg) in the new dishes are all plant-based substitutes. She added that it was quite a task replicating the texture and taste of the originals.
“The Only Eg, for example, is made from fava beans and soybeans, so you’d get the same nutrition from a regular egg without the cholesterol,” she said.
The chain also worked with the Health Ministry to include the calorie count of each plant-based dish, as well as allergen indicators.
Yeo said the chain’s plant-based menu had been in development for quite a while, but the process was amped up with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After Covid, people started becoming more health-conscious, so with this new menu we can provide a healthier option for them to suit their dietary needs,” he said.
In fact, Yeo said he volunteered to eat only the new plant-based items for two weeks straight, with the BBQ Dry Curry Egg Noodles becoming his favourite.
FMT also sampled some of the plant-based dishes.
The BBQ Dry Egg Noodles were a pleasure to eat. The noodles were springy and tasty, whereas the chick’n was truly flavourful and served as a good accompaniment to the steamed Only Eg on the side. The ‘fish cake’ in particular tasted very much like the real thing.
The Hainanese Chick’n Chop Rice was superb. Fried to crispy perfection and drizzled with its signature sweet and sour sauce, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how close to the original this is!
Feel like a quick snack? The Chick’n Popcorn Bites will not disappoint. With three flavours – original, hot sauce and cheese sauce – these are less sinful than the meat-based popcorn chicken people love to snack on.
If you are lactose-intolerant, try this new oat milk beverage instead called Mocha Cookie Crumble. It is mildly sweet and chocolatey, and comes with cookie crumble in it. This is pure joy to savour especially on a hot day.
If you’re a milk tea lover, try the Gula Melaka Milk Tea. Despite its name implies, the gula Melaka doesn’t overpower the drink with sweetness, making it one of the not-to-be-missed items on the new menu.
Overall, the plant-based additions in this kopitiam are delicious but don’t expect it to be identical in terms of taste and texture to actual meat. It is, however, lower in calories.
Do bear in mind that these are new additions to the menu, and that the original meat versions are still available.