Singapore – On Mar 29 (Fri), Singapore got its first whiff of lab-grown shrimp dumplings which tasted like real “siew mai”.

Shiok Meats, Singapore’s first cell-based seafood company that works on lab-growing seafood and meats using cellular agriculture, launched its lab-produced shrimp dumplings at the second annual Disruption in Food and Sustainability Summit (DFSS) held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

The eight siew mai dumplings took months and S$5,000 to create.

The three judges who had the honour of taste-testing this innovative dish were Elaine Siu, managing director of Good Food Institute APAC Elaine Siu, CEO of Monde Nissin Henry Soesanto and Director of Innovate360 John Cheng.

“The taste was really good, very promising,” said Mr Soesanto.

“It tastes like siew mai!” exclaimed Ms. Siu

The Shiok Shrimp Dumpling is the first product of the food tech start-up and from the looks of it, the dish has a bright future in store.

“Really “shiok”! Amazing taste opening new possibilities in sustainable meat in Singapore and the world,” said Mr Cheng.

Shiok Meats was established last August by two stem cell biologists Dr Sandhya Sriram and Dr Ling Ka Yi, and is the first cell-based seafood venture in Southeast Asia.

It is the goal of Shiok Meats to lab-grow seafood such as shrimp, lobster and crab meat instead of focusing on beef, pork, and chicken, because Sandhya shares that in Asia, “we eat a lot of seafood, and not many (competitor) companies were doing seafood.”

The company CEO adds, “And, Ka Yi and I were very fascinated about saving the ocean as individuals.”

The production process was a long and difficult one as the company had to research, and make the shrimp meat from scratch.

“There is no academic research out there so even figuring out which part of the animal is a good source for stem cells (was a challenge),” said Dr Sriram.

Furthermore, they had to choose shrimp that had been bred without antibiotics or hormones. This was difficult to find because, as Dr Sriram explains, “shrimp are grown in farms in dirty water and being injected with antibiotics and hormones to keep them clean and make them bigger.”

Shiok Meats aims to lower its cost of production by 100 times and replace farm-grown shrimp in supermarkets, hawker centres, and restaurants.

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