plant-based food

Try vegan ‘garlic pepper beef’ by this Manila shop if you’re going plant-based

Steph Arnaldo
Try vegan ‘garlic pepper beef’ by this Manila shop if you’re going plant-based

Shirley's Just Vegan's Facebook page

This tasty plant-based dish is made of "beaf," gravy, mushrooms, and fried garlic – a good #MeatlessMonday ulam option!

MANILA, Philippines – If you’re inching your way towards a plant-based diet, are already vegan, or just want to consume less meat during the week, how about some “Garlic Pepper Beaf” (yes, that’s how it’s spelled!) for your next meat-free ulam?

Manila-based shop Shirley’s Just Vegan launched its newest vegan item – the Garlic Pepper Beaf – in July, and since then, has seen sold-out orders and customers waiting for the next restock. The humble vegan business made its own plant-based take on Jollibee’s famous (but unfortunately, phased out) dish of garlic pepper beef – just without any meat, but still packed with lots of flavor!

It almost uncannily looks like the filling meat dish – strips of “beaf” covered in a thick, housemade gravy with sliced mushrooms and crunchy garlic bits for the full effect. Taste-wise, it’s addicting, savory, and has just the right amount of umami to keep you going for another spoonful of rice and ulam. The gravy is on-point and the “beaf” is seasoned enough, while the mushrooms add a nice bite.

Texture-wise, the “beaf” is obviously not the same as the real thing – it’s chewier and stretchier, just like most plant-based meat substitutes, but it has a satisfying bite. It’s not mushy at all.

GARLIC PEPPER BEAF. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Shirley’s makes its own “beaf” using textured vegetable protein, garlic pepper, vegan butter made from sunflower oil, and spices. The gravy is made with flour, water, butter, and spices. The ingredients sound very minimal, but the flavor is far from it!

Shirley’s Garlic Pepper Beaf costs P185 for an ala carte, ready-to-eat order. Warm it up before enjoying so the gravy gets extra smooth. I only wish that there were more crunchy garlic bits on top!

Among Shirley’s other items worth trying out is the creamy and tasty Vegan Sisig, which is made from tofu, shitake mushrooms, vegan mayo, vegnet, and spices. Shirley’s housemade vegnet represents sisig’s crunchy bits, and is made from cassava starch flour, textured vegetable protein, and spices. The cassava starch flour helps to mimic the “fatty, chewy” portion of bagnet, minus any meat.

It’s a solid vegan sisig option that’s got creaminess, crunch, and the savory “meaty” flavor of the famed pulutan. It even comes with a tofu-based “sunny-side-up egg!” It costs P220 for a solo meal, and can be ordered ready-to-eat or frozen.

Shirley’s Just Vegan is also known for its vegan inihaw na liempo and crunchy plant-based chicharon – also both good items to have stocked at home whenever it’s time to go meatless.

Shirley’s Just Vegan is based in San Andres, Manila. You can place your orders for delivery via SMS at 0999 518 9680 or Facebook. – Rappler.com

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.