Yes, Vegan Liempo Does Exist

Attention! Curious peeps and meat-craving vegetarians!

IMAGE Majoy Siason

There are plenty of reasons for people to quit eating pork: religion, ethics, health, or environmentalism. Still, once you've enjoyed pork, it's hard to get rid of that craving altogether. That's why there are meat substitutes you can buy at the market that just want to make it easier for those who are struggling. If you're considering quitting pork, you may also want to get to know a few meat substitutes to know if they might help ease you into the lifestyle. Vegan liempo is one such meat substitute you might want to try.

Where to buy vegan liempo?

We found vegan liempo at Real Food specialty grocery stores at P770/700 grams, or through The Good Choices online shop here for P600/700 grams plus shipping. Alongside vegan liempo, you can also find other Filipino favorites such as adobo, bagoong, lechon kawali, bistek Tagalog, tocino, longganisa, burger patties, and sisig.

What is vegan liempo made of?

Vegan liempo is purely plant-based. Instead of animal protein, its protein strands come from soy protein. The rest of the ingredients, wheat flour, cassava flour, garlic, cornflour, vinegar, salt, pepper, vegetable oil, soy sauce, ketchup, calamansi extract, and brown sugar, help bind, flavor and give it the right hue.


What does vegan liempo taste like?

Flavor-wise, drenched, glazed, or cooked in the sweet, salty, and slightly sour Fiipino-style barbeque sauce, it does pull-off a pork barbecue flavor. However, sans the sauce, the meat's texture doesn't quite have that bite and doesn't quite have the protein strands that pork has. The "fat" however can get all crunchy, and juicy, while getting that distinct pork-fat, almost slippery, gelatinous texture. The best way to prep it is to grill it and baste it with the barbeque sauce.

In its package, you can can certainly think it's actual pork belly!
Photo by Majoy Siason
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The price point: is it as good as pork?

We have to be honest, at P770 or P600 for 700 grams, this slab of pork belly isn't going to take the place of cheap pork you can eat several times a week. If you're a vegetarian or vegan who he is hell-bent on not breaking your rules though, this might be a good enough, once-in-a-while treat.

Who should try it?

If you're a new vegan or vegetarian and dreams of liempo have been haunting you, this is your next best thing. Curious folk who aren't vegetarians are also encouraged to try as it's something interesting. Lastly, if you're a fan of veggie meat, and tofu cakes, you just might like it.

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