Food

The Best Meatless Burgers When You Want to Save the Planet

Going meatless goes a long way in helping the environment.
IMAGE FACEBOOK/ @grandhyattmanilaph
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The world is in trouble and eating meatless burgers, a seemingly small but rather significant step to saving the planet, may help it.

In June 2019, a paper published by the Breakthrough National Center for Climate Restoration revealed that, at the rate the climate crisis is going, human civilization will likely come to an end by 2050. The prediction was made based on the lack of measures to counteract greenhouse emissions within the next decade.

Many factors contribute to the Earth’s hastening destruction, but it might come as a surprise to carnivores that eating meat is one of them, and according to recent research, one of the worst, too. A 2014 study not only showed how agriculture is a significant driver of global warming (contributing 15 percent of all emissions), but that red meat uses 28 times more land and 11 times more water than other livestock like pork or chicken. Even grass-fed beef, which has a lower impact, creates six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land than plant products. Agriculture was also blamed for the loss of wild areas, and consequently, the mass extinction of wildlife.

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In June 2019, another study divulged how veganism could slow down this side of environmental deterioration: Joseph Poore from the University of Oxford suggested that, without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland can be reduced by more than 75 percent (that’s a combination of U.S., China, Europe, and Australia).

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use,” Poore was quoted saying in The Guardian. Its effect is reportedly better than flying less or buying an electric car since these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

A wholly plant-based regimen, however, is highly improbable at this point. A simpler compromise is to moderate meat consumption and welcome a more diverse and inclusive diet and we’re starting with meatless burgers. In a report published in British medical journal The Lancet, 30 scientists recommended a largely plant-based diet, with allowances for meat, dairy, and sugar. This small effort will ideally drop meat consumption by half.

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Are veggie burgers good though?

What makes a good meatless burger? We've all heard the horror stories. Firstly, and perhaps the most important factor, it doesn’t have to remind you of beef (or any other type of meat). It doesn’t have to taste like beef or feel like beef because, remember, it’s not beef.

Once you get this in your head, you can manage your expectations better. The only reasonable comparison to beef you can make is this: Veggie burgers should fill you in every way the meaty standard does. We’ve done our fair share of beef-eating (heck, we’ve done best burgers and best steak), but it’s time to think about the environment and we want to do all we can.

1| 8 Cuts’ The Falafel

This beloved burger chain's grass-fed beef patty already helps you cut back on your carbon emissions, but you can take it a step further with The Falafel. Its blend of chickpea, quinoa, nut, and mushroom creates a singular, delicious experience quite separate from the boring beef burgers of your past. The Falafel has its own cult following; this meatless burger is a favorite even of carnivores.

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Photo by Sasha Lim Uy.

2| Sweet Ecstasy’s The Beyond Ecstasy Burger

We hate to use the term “alternative” here because meatless burgers should have its own category. Sweet X uses patties from Beyond Meat, the company that gives you the same goodness of beef (amino acids, lipids, trace minerals, vitamins, water) without the bloodshed.

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Available only at the Sweet Ecstasy at 10 Jupiter Street, Makati City

3| Shake Shack’s ‘Shroom Burger

If size matters to you, then you’d be pleased to know that Shake Shack's ‘Shroom is noticeably taller than the signature ShackBurger. Instead of beef, you get a large piece of portobello mushroom, fried crispy then served with the same fixings as a regular burger: ShackSauce, lettuce, and tomato. You’ll realize why it’s one of the best meatless burgers around when you bite into it: It’s filled with melted Muenster and cheddar.

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Photo by Sasha Lim Uy

Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

4| The Pound’s Portobello Mushroom Sliders

We love how sliders always make you think you have a little more on your plate. The Pound keeps its sliders simple and meat-free: portobello mushrooms with a heap of caramelized onions and fried onions. To take the edge off, the meatless burger is also slathered with cilantro aioli, lettuce, and tomato.

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The Pound branches

5| Burger Geek’s Prom Queen

The whole premise behind Burger Geek is its “smash” technique, which guarantees absolute meaty juiciness behind that tasty crust. The same trick doesn’t apply to its lone meatless option, the Prom Queen. There’s also a Prom King available, by the way. Both burgers use a veggie patty to great effect, embellishing it with various doses of cheese. The latter, however, comes with an extra layer of beef.

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Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa 

6| Brgr Project’s Veggie Brgr

Designing your own burger is half the fun in this Quezon City haunt. The Veggie Brgr doesn’t quite give you that option, but it’s still a pretty fun meatless burger. It uses tofu as its protein base and an oat bun to amp up its health points. Each bite also delivers a zesty twist from its pineapple pesto sauce.

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Malingap Central Food Hall, Teachers Village, Quezon City 

7| The Grand Kitchen’s Vegan Burgers

The Grand Hyatt was actually the first to introduce Beyond Meat products to Manila. Its signature restaurant The Grand Kitchen boasts three vegan burgers playfully flourished with delicious bonuses. The Spicy Miso comes with pickled carrots and radish, gochujang aioli, tofu fritters, and sesame seeds; the BBQ Cheeseburger is a classic with a twist, with vegan cheese and jalapeño; the Basil Curry Burger features grilled eggplant, basil aioli, curry, paprika, and crispy shoestring potatoes.

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Photo by FACEBOOK/ @grandhyattmanilaph.

Grand Hyatt Manila, 8th Avenue corner 35th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

8| Pipino Vegetarian’s Langka BBQ Burger

This pioneering restaurant has four items under its Burger category and all of them qualify as the best meatless burger in Manila, including the runaway hit, the Black Bean Burger. This new burger is pretty impressive simply because it’s different from the usual lentil, tofu, and mushroom. Imagine sweet jackfruit doused with peppery barbecue sauce then topped with carrots. Pipino also designed the Veggie Burger available in its sibling restaurant, BRGR Project. 

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39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City

9| Veggie Guys’ Pulled Pork Burger

This Malingap stall is big on offering man food with a vegan twist. When you see the options on the menu, it has bistek, isaw, and crispy pata! A burger kind of seems obvious after that. It used to have a Mighty Meaty burger (we're patiently waiting for its return), but in the meantime, you can enjoy the smoky delights of its pulled un-pork slider.

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Malingap Central Food Hall, 40 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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