Singaporean restaurant unveils two Solein-based dishes, creating a Mala-flavoured taste of the future


The Singaporean restaurant Chengdu Bowl is introducing two new vegan dishes on its menu on 2 April. The flavours are familiar, but the novel ingredient Solein® is making the recipes truly unique and futuristic.

Chengdu Bowl specialises in Chinese food, especially the world-famous Sichuan cuisine. Now the restaurant is taking two traditional foods and cooking up versions of them that are fit for the future with the help of Solein®.

Solar Foods’ first product Solein is a microbial protein grown with electricity and carbon dioxide out of thin air. The novel ingredient received its first novel food regulatory approval in September 2022 in Singapore, clearing its sale and use in food products. Solein-powered foods have been available in limited editions in Singapore already – and these two new dishes are the its next entry to the city-state.

Chengdu Bowl is now introducing Solein-powered versions of their popular staple, the Mapo Tofu, and the restaurant’s Sour and Spicy Soup.

The savoury taste of the future

The new dishes will be 100% vegan and available for three months in Chengdu Bowl’s flagship restaurant at Tanjong Pagar Road in Singapore.

“This is an excellent example of how we envision Solein to be used: helping cook delicious, familiar flavours but with a new and bold attitude”, says Shilei Zhang, CCO of Solar Foods. “Here we see a completely new twist to a staple dish: the classic flavour of Mapo Tofu is still there, but there’s now an ingredient designed for the future in the mix. You enjoy the food you know and love, all the while knowing the process behind every bite has been made better and more sustainable. Chengdu Bowl is excited to innovate and imagine this kind of change – that makes them exactly the kind of restaurant we love to work with.”

Grown out of thin air with a fraction of the resources that traditional proteins require, Solein can give any dish a sustainable and exciting glimpse of the future. Even so, taste is paramount to any ingredient’s success.

“We know Singaporeans reputation as food lovers. It is very exciting for us that local foodies get to try Solein-powered recipes and share how they like them. Our goal is to help food brands create nutritious and sustainable foods, but without changing the flavours that have been perfected over decades and centuries. The surprise of future food is that there is no surprise – your favourite food will taste just like it does today!”

Fostering the positive impact

Chengdu Bowl is owned and operated by QuantFood. The company operates two restaurant brands in Singapore, the Chengu Bowl and NUMB Restaurant. QuantFood was founded in 2021 by Stella Wang and Ma Jie. With their background in banking, the two women quit their former jobs to focus on their F&B brand and creating modern, future-looking dishes that still retain the tempting Mala taste that Sichuan cuisine is known for.

Chengdu Bowl’s co-founders, CEO Stella Wang (left) and COO Ma Jie (right)

Mala is a seasoning cooked with Sichuan peppercorns and chili and often used in sauces to create a mouth-numbing spiciness and piquant taste. Chengdu Bowl embraces locally sourced ingredients and plant options; the restaurant’s menu styles itself as healthier Mala food.

“Sustainability continues to be a cornerstone of our operations. Through the seamless integration of sustainability into our business model, we are thrilled to unveil our collaboration with Solar Foods, a company deeply committed to sustainable practices. Our shared goal is to foster a positive impact on both humanity and the environment”, QuantFood co-founders Stella Wang and Ma Jie declare.

Chengu Bowl’s Solein dishes

Mapo Tofu with Solein: a vegan, fit-for-future version of the Sichuan kitchen classic. The classic Mapo Tofu is cooked with tofu set in a spicy and savoury bean sauce, with some minced meat (typically pork) added for flavour, and served with rice. Mapo Tofu is also known for its variations: restaurants across Asia like to give the recipe their own signature twists and spins. Chengdu Bowl is now adding a new and unique twist with Solein and turning the dish completely animal-free.

Spicy and Sour Soup with Solein: this often meat-based soup gets its spicy elements from white pepper and sour flavours from Zhenjiang vinegar. The soup’s recipe is flexible, allowing home cooks to add or replace ingredients based on availability: most traditional Chinese recipes include day lily buds, wood ear fungus, bamboo shoots, and tofu. Chengdu Bowl’s fresh take on the Spicy and Sour Soup replaces meat and egg with Solein.


If you’re in Singapore, make sure to stop by and have yourself a taste of the future! Chengdu Bowl, 120 Tanjong Pagar Road