OmniPork's Ultimate Versatility Test - SOBORO bento from Saido (Tokyo)
As one of the winners of the OmniFriends campaign, I was invited to collect a bento lunchbox at Vegan restaurant Saido in Tokyo. As a frequent user of the OmniPork Vegan meat, AND having recently visited Saido, where one of the dishes was made with OmniPork ground meat, I was excited to see if I would experience a new flavor…
That's a Lot of "Omni"
You may have read my blog on OmniPork – Asia’s first “bleeding burger” meat from Hong Kong that has taken the Vegan market by storm. The highly versatile and exceptionally flavored plant meat, with high nutritional values, is an increasingly popular choice for Vegan restaurants as well as home cooks. As one of the products under brand OMNIMEAT, which also launched Asian noodle, Jasmin rice and buns products – unfortunately not available in Japan yet, the meat alternative is making its way to more and more Vegan establishments. To promote the meat alternative under home users, OMNIMEAT JAPAN launched the “OmniFriends” campaign, selecting 30 lucky winners to pick up a free bento lunchbox made from OmniPork meat by SAIDO – you know, the best Vegan restaurant in the world.
Having visited Saido only two weeks back, I have tasted one of their dishes with OmniPork and giant mushrooms – which was absolutely delicious and already an indicator that the meat can turn into something incredible in the hands of a skilled chef like Mr. Kusumoto.
Would a bento lunchbox really be that different?
Excited to be selected as one of the winners, there was one downside – having to collect the bento on a specific date in Tokyo. A 130km drive, as we’re still avoiding the trains, with hefty toll road fees. Oh, what we do in the name of science…
So after work (both of us more often than not work six days a week. And are fun at parties too), we started our long journey to the all-deciding, holy lunchbox.
Finally arriving at Saido, after a hellish journey with Google Maps changing its mind, unnecessary toll road use (every mistake easily costs you another ￥2000) and more than 40 minutes after our reserved pick-up time, we were finally greeted by the lovely staff, whom not only recognized us from our previous visit – but even remembered our names, which with my gaijin name I found quite impressive.
As always, the place was fully booked (as far as social distancing allows!) – be sure to reserve if you are planning to visit- but the chef came out himself to hand over the bento, and apologize for serving me wheatgrass last time! (about which I had jokingly complained on Instagram). Making our way back with our “prize”, we stopped at the nearest parking to finally dig in…
"More importantly... how does it taste?"
HOW. Really, How!
Did I really expect high quality Vegan meat, cooked by a 100% Vegan restaurant owner that won title of the best Vegan restaurant in the world, to be boring or tasteless? No. But had I anticipated this amazing flavor combination? NO!
How this man mentioned to get these complex flavors in a bento, and got it to taste this amazing, even served cold, late at night on a parking lot, is beyond me.
I have been Vegan for over 6 years and have lived with several host families in Japan before that time. I have always loved Japanese cuisine and home cooking and we have so far managed to ve-ganize a lot of dishes at home. This bento was inspired by SOBORO: usually a ground chicken rice bowl with scrambled egg and some kind of green veggie. Not only was it mind-blowingly delicious; it also had a flavor I have not once eaten since going Vegan, but I immediately recognized from the foods I had living with my Japanese families. We tried to identify the flavor or ingredient behind this, which we couldn’t – even less so what was used to make the scrambled egg, which was not vert strong in flavor (presumably to balance out the very strong flavor of the meat), but had an extremely realistic, soft, juicy scrambled egg texture that I have never seen before (most Vegan scrambled eggs are a lot dryer). This was all topped with a slice of ginger and a few slicer of Okra (green veggies).
All in all, it was probably the most expensive bento we’ve ever “bought”, but it was a real experience and has us super excited to see how far the Vegan movement has come and how much more we have to learn at home.
After trying the SOBORO bento with OmniPork Vegan meat as part of the OmniFriends campaign, prepared by Vegan restaurant Saido in Tokyo, I am very happy to once again strongly recommend both Saido – chosen as the best Vegan restaurant in the world (Happycow, 2019) as well as OmniPork; the Vegan “pork” meat, which is more and more available, easy to cook, delicious and extremely versatile (Examples of our dishes here).
Verdict: Impressed once again by both Saido and OmniPork. Excited to try more dishes from Saido and to experiment even more with OmniPork and hopefully other Omnimeat products in the future!
Saido ( Full Blog post Here )
Address: Meguro-ku, Jiyūgaoka, 2 Chome−15-10, Tokyo, Japan, 152-0035
Food: Creative, vegetable-based Japanese and fusion foods without chemical additives, alcohol, refined sugar or the 5 pungent roots.
➡️ Read more about OMNIPORK, find their recipes, drool on their new line up and find out where to travel to to get them, here.
➡️ Japanese based online retailers of OMNIPORK, here.