Plant-based meat has become a growing favourite, not just for vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians, but also for us meat-lovers and for a good reason! It indeed does taste like real meat, and at the same time, it contains the right minerals and vitamins our body needs.
I’m sure frequent travellers (what’s that like again?) to China and Hong Kong would be familiar with the highly-celebrated concept store, Green Common – a one-stop culinary destination for all sorts of plant-based eating!
Well, I am pleased to tell you that Green Monday Group, the award-winning parent organisation of the well-known OmniFoods, has opened its first-ever Green Common branch right here in Singapore. Right here at VivoCity, just off of Harbourfront MRT station!
But what do we mean by ‘Concept Store’? Green Common is a restaurant and a retail store all rolled into one, hence, your one-stop destination for all things plant-based.
As you walk in, you will witness a vast selection of plant-based snacks, ranging from freezer snacks to shelf picks. Their proudest products include OmniEat and Unlimeat, with many other meatless alternatives, ranging from BeyondMeat to JUST Egg. You will also get to see two of Green Common’s home-brand series – Soup and Congee, and Instant Meal. These particular products are available only at Green Common at VivoCity, and nowhere else! Of course, many other vegan-friendly snacks and milk alternatives are available too, and you’ll just have to explore them on your own for the full experience.
Then as you continue walking in, you will notice some vivid green moss on the ceiling and at the tables, and yes, they are real. Call me dramatic, but I really did feel a breath of fresh air with the in-dining experience.
Now, let’s talk about the real deal – the menu. I was blown away when I saw it. There is a reason why Singapore is called a food paradise. It’s because of our culinary diversity and how we’re exposed to all sorts of cuisines, ranging from Indian to Vietnamese to Italian.
But of course, they all usually contain meat. So, all vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians can now try out these meatless meals from all around the world right here at Green Common!
They had many highlight dishes that I was lucky enough to try myself. Of course, when it comes to plant-based meat, the texture and appearance may seem strange. However, if they taste like real meat (which they do); that’s all we need!
First, I tried the Meatless Meatballs (S$10++), with hand-rolled OmniMeat and Beyond Meat with some fragrant spices and rich Marinara Sauce. Not the best meatballs I’ve had in my life, but for something that doesn’t even have meat, it’s pretty mind-blowing.
Then came the Alpha Nuggets (S$8++). These definitely tasted like real meat. Crunchy on the outside, but tender on the inside, I was pretty shocked at how much it resembled real chicken nuggets. You can also choose from four types of dips to have the Nuggets with – Truffle, Thai Chilli, BBQ or Honey Mustard.
Then, the Omni Luncheon Fries (S8++). Inspired by the concept of Spam Fries, these Luncheon Fries stole my heart. Again, they were crispy on the outside and so flavourful on the inside. These also come with four choices for your dips – Truffle, Thai Chilli, BBQ or Honey Mustard.
After which, I tried the Omni Musubi (S$9++). This was so good that I started craving sushi the next day. It is a very simple yet dynamic dish. I think the seaweed really put it all together, literally. It was so good, and the teriyaki sauce and pineapple chilli chutney add a new dimension to this dish.
The final appetiser was the Gardein Crab Cake (S$10++). It is served with some Starfruit Salsa. The strangest thing to me about this one was that it tasted exactly like crab cakes, and it was delicious. A definite must-try, indeed!
Remember what I said about tasting the whole world from your seat at Green Common? Well, welcome to Thailand. The salad at Green Common is a Thai Papaya & Mango Unlimited Salad (S$14++). It incorporates Unlimeat, which is a vegan-friendly beef alternative. Indeed a treat for your sense of sight and taste, the Thai Sweet Chilli Dressing stole the show. Make sure you give it all a good mix for the best experience.
This main that I tried might just be my favourite – concept-wise and taste-wise. The most staple Singaporean dish, Chicken Rice, was given a new form in the Hainanese Trick’en Rice (S$16++). The rice is served in the form of balls, and the Heura ‘chicken’ is laid beautifully beside it. Chicken Rice is incomplete without the ‘chilli’, so this masterpiece is served with homemade chilli sauce, ginger paste, and dark sauce.
Next off, your stop is Vietnam, with the next main dish being the Banh Mi Bowl (S$14++), cooked with Unlimeat, Nuoc Cham dressing, and so many other ingredients that make this dish feel so authentic. It wasn’t the best dish in my eyes, but it was still a punch of flavour.
Next, was the Omni Trio (S$13++), cooked with OmniMeat Strip, mushrooms and capsicums, and stir-fried Shanghainese noodles. It was pretty decent. Nothing seemed to jump out at me, but it was undoubtedly very flavourful, and it fills the stomach.
The final Main was also one of the best to me. The next stop is Italy, with the Meat Lovers Pizza (S$19++). I’ve never been a fan of vegetarian pizza, as I feel like the munch of proteins is the most important (after the cheese, of course). And when I took a bite out of this pizza, I was speechless. It was shockingly good, and the little bits of hotdog tasted so real! This pizza contains Moving Mountains Hot Dog, Daiya Mozzarella Cheese, and Beyond Sausage. A perfect sharing portion for 2 to 3 people (or of course, all to yourself!), this is another must-try.
Our final stop of the day, Hong Kong! Try this Hong Kong Style French Toast (S$13++) for the perfect wrap-up to your meal or a sweet tea-time treat! It is a typical tea-time snack in many ‘cha chaan teng’ (Hong Kong-style diners). Enjoy some crunchy vegan brûlée toast, with maple syrup and fresh fruits like berries and a slice of banana! Be sure to order this for a sweet farewell before you leave Green Common after your meal.
I loved how everything in the restaurant was eco-friendly. From the straws to the moss at our tables and on the ceiling, I was in awe. While I am still a little on the fence over how environmentally-friendly plant-based foods really are, it was so enriching to educate myself over this topic and learn more about others and their own experiences with veganism, and I am grateful.
There’s also so much more that I didn’t get to try, such as the Beyond Black Burger (S$15++), the Rendang Chicken Roti (S$13++), Laksa (S$13++), and the K-Dog (S$17++). I might have just to go back there and try these out for myself!
In fact, in celebration of its grand-opening, Green Common has exclusive rewards for you and your family!
From 19 January to 19 February, diners with children below 16 years old receive a free Luncheon Fries voucher on the house. During this same period, customers spending S$30 or above at the restaurant on weekdays from 12pm to 2pm will receive 20% off their entire bill! Of course, all of these while stocks last.
Are you excited, because I am! 2021 is indeed off to a good start, one promoting good health and wealth.
Photos by Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC Team.