Combining science and imagination to cook up sustainable solutions for our planet

Combining science and imagination to cook up sustainable solutions for our planet


Stem cell technology may be costly, but it could change the game in meat consumption and animal welfare.
Photo: RTHK


Believe it or not, this is the new way to make meat. Cultured meat.
Photo: RTHK

Anthony Bourdain - chef, wanderer, author, and stout advocate for travel - once said, “I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurised Stilton, raw oysters or working for organised crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure."

Exploring the Edible Planet II is all about that. The show features television personality Kannie Chung and her production team visiting different countries and experiencing different cultures to bring the audience along for an enlightening journey with a strong focus on food. What sets this show apart from other travelling foodie shows is that its themes are more relevant and significant to our world today. Here are just a few themes showcased throughout the series:


Human beings have consumed meat since the days of hunters and gatherers, and it’s not likely to change any time soon. However, traditional livestock farming has taken up more than 30 per cent of the land in the world, and uses about 25 per cent of the Earth's clean water sources. Further, lifestock farming emits as much greenhouse gases as that of all water, land and air travels combined. Not only does this take a huge toll on the environment, concerns over animal rights in the lifestock industry have captured the public's attention for more than a decade as well.

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Seeing that, scientists started developing alternative, one of them being cultured meat.

Mark Post, a Dutch pioneer in meat production "grew" a burger using stem cell technology (priced at HK$2,500,000) and showcased it in London in 2013. Post and his team hope to mass produce "meat" at a low cost and in a way that removes the need to rear and slaughter livestock for consumption.

Worm food

Another highlight of Exploring Edible Planet II is adventurous eating. Despite certain food groups being the norm in some places, many cultures around the world may still find that one thing peculiar, and Katharina Unger is taking one of those "unusual foods" and putting it on people's plates. 

Bugs. The meal of the future.
Photo: RTHK

Unger, who now lives in Hong Kong, created a worm-breeding device and started growing worms at home. She's found a way to not only have the mealworms consume her food waste, but they've also become her food. She's even designed her own mealworm recipes!

To her, this is an environmentally friendly and minimalistic way to live in a big city driven by consumerism like Hong Kong.

Creative problem solving

Unger's work doesn't stop with worms, she's also found through research a fungi that can decompose plastic waste. She then partnered up with Han Wösten, a Dutch microbiologist, to turn plastic waste into an edible fungi, which Chung and her team tried on camera on camera for the series.

“I believe in the future, scientists will do their best to shorten the food production process, so we can always be sure of where our food comes from," Chung said. "I can also foresee producing food in our own homes becoming a new trend!” 

From showcasing how people merged innovation with creativity, science with imagination, and visions with resourcefulness, Exploring Edible Planet II not only highlights food, but the fascinating stories and brilliant minds behind them. 

Catch the last episode of Exploring Edible Planey II tonight at 6.00pm on TVB Jade, and at 8.oopm on RTHK channels 31 and 31A


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