Karana, Asia's First Whole-Plant Based Meat Brand Launches In Hong Kong
After a successful unveiling of its first product—whole-plant pork made from young jackfruit in Singapore earlier this year—Karana, Asia's first whole-plant based meat brand is launching in Hong Kong. Karana champions not only its natural and sustainable base ingredient, jackfruit, but also how it's grown. They work with smallholder farms in Sri Lanka and help turn this food that's often under-utilised and wasted into a valued food and income source. The jackfruit is transformed into a "pork" alternative that comes in either shredded or minced form.
Compared to other meat alternatives such as OmniPork, Karana is minimally processed using only four ingredients: young jackfruit, canola oil, sea salt and natural flavours. Thanks to this, there are no protein textures, isolates or concentrates on the product. The fully plant-based product is also free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours.
On choosing jackfruit as the main ingredient, co-founder and Gen.T honouree Blair Crichton says, "It's a massively under-utilised resource, with an excellent sustainability profile and great potential in a wide variety of dishes. There were jackfruit products on the market but we knew we could make them taste even better and bring out jackfruit’s potential for a strikingly meat-like texture so we got to work on researching and developing Karana’s first products".
Hot N' Meen (Photo: Courtesy of Karana)
Beef & Liberty (Photo: Courtesy of Karana)
Emerald (Photo: Courtesy of Karana)
Sip Song (Photo: Courtesy of Karana)
Fellow Gen.T honouree and co-founder, Dan Riegler adds that jackfruit was chosen with sustainability in mind as "Jackfruit is an extremely efficient crop with high yields and low water usage making it friendly to smallholder farmers. It's typically grown intercropped, promoting biodiversity. 60 per cent of jackfruit is currently being wasted, a contributor to global warming, so with Karana we’ll be reducing that wastage while working with farmers to support the local economy".
Karana made its first appearance in Hong Kong during Earth Day, at a pop-up by chef Michael Smith and Peggy Chan at Shane Osborn's Arcane, where it was presented as a jackfruit mapo tofu. Now, Karana is partnering with six leading Hong Kong restaurants and one delivery brand across a variety of cuisines including Chaat at Rosewood, Sip Song by Maximal Concepts, Emerald in Central, all Beef & Liberty outlets, all Elephant Grounds outlets, Cantonese restaurant Cheung Kung Koon in Causeway Bay and Deliveroo brand, Hot N' Meen.
Karana is also working with Classic Fine Foods, a gourmet food and ingredient distributor to bring the product to Hong Kong. They have plans to launch its retail offer of ready-to-cook dim sum products in Asia in the second half of the year.
Chef Manav Tuli of Chaat, who is using Karana in his baked samosa, one of his signature dishes inspired by the famous street food from Hyderabad says, "I have always been in favour of plant-based meat substitutes and I think Karana delivers this particularly well. Also, I grew up eating jackfruit and it has always been one of my favourite vegetables, so we hope to deliver something great with the Karana-based baked samosa".
On using Karana, Kevin Poon, co-founder of Elephant Grounds says, "We have always liked the idea of eating clean and the plant-based life is one that caters to us and the next generation. Featuring a whole-plant product such as Karana on our menus is a delicious and innovative way for us to continue to make the move towards this lifestyle".
For more information on Karana, please visit the official website.