plant-based food

No meat, no prob! Try vegan Pinoy barbecue by this Quezon City kitchen

Steph Arnaldo

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No meat, no prob! Try vegan Pinoy barbecue by this Quezon City kitchen

The Vegetarian Kitchen's Facebook page

This plant-based version of the Filipino party staple is sweet, savory, and smoky!

MANILA, Philippines – Planning a plant-based Filipino feast at home or for your next potluck? Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or trying out a more plant-based diet, here’s a worthy addition to the vegan party – The Vegetarian Kitchen’s (TVK) Vegan Pinoy-style Barbecue!

It looks just like the Filipino party staple – glistening in its signature brownish-red sauce, perfectly char-grilled. However, no meat is used here; TVK uses soy protein as a plant-based substitute. The texture is not like pork of course, but it’s got a chewy, firm, and malaman bite that easily absorbs the addictive marinade it’s generously coated in. The distinctive taste is just like your favorite Pinoy barbecue (maybe even better) – savory, sweet, a tad tangy, and smoky. Dip it into spicy vinegar for extra oomph! You’ll definitely be hankering for another cup of rice.

TVK uses its own blend of lime soda, soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, cane vinegar, dark brown sugar, banana ketchup, salt, and pepper for the marinade. The process includes rehydrating soy protein by boiling it to a firm consistency and washing it until the aftertaste is gone.

The soy protein is then marinated for two days, “so that the flavors will be fully absorbed,” TVK founder Tita Soliongco told Rappler. After this process, she skewers the plant-based meat in bamboo sticks and grills them normally, while glazing them with oil and the marinade reduction.

“We wanted to make a dish that was familiar to the Filipino taste, so it could be enjoyed not only by vegans but also non-vegans. First, we introduced the barbecue in our menu using gluten. We decided to use soy protein because the appearance and texture was closer to the meat version,” Tita said. The Pinoy-style Barbecue has been on the menu since the business’ reopening in 1990.

“The general feedback is that it ‘tastes like meat’ or ‘are you sure this isn’t pork?’ Most of our customers appreciate that they can eat as much as they want without worrying about the cholesterol. They say it goes well with rice as well as a pulutan,” Tita added, which is true!

The Vegetarian Kitchen’s Pinoy-Style Barbecue costs P80 per ala carte stick. It can also come as a meal, with ensaladang talong brown rice. A Half Party Tray costs P620 for 10 sticks, and a Whole Party Tray costs P1,180 for 20 sticks. You can also get a 300-gram frozen pack of six skewers.

The Vegetarian Kitchen is also known for serving a moist vegan fruitcake, as well as other “plant-based comfort food” using locally grown produce that aims to bring back memories of home through healthy dishes and baked goods. The restaurant is located along Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City, available only for pick-up and delivery orders as of now. To order, you can message The Vegetarian Kitchen on Facebook or via Viber at 09156434348. –

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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.