A Wildly Good Idea: Be Kinder To Our Earth With Food Inspired By Wildlife Diets

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A Wildly Good Idea: Be Kinder To Our Earth With Food Inspired By Wildlife Diets

STORY: Sim Ding En
21 October 2022
The Chicken Banh Mi at Starter Lab - one of 20 food establishments that are part of the Choose Good Food Trail by Mandai Wildlife Group - is inspired by the Clouded Leopard, its diet, and the role it plays in maintaining ecological balance.
The Chicken Banh Mi at Starter Lab - one of 20 food establishments that are part of the Choose Good Food Trail by Mandai Wildlife Group - is inspired by the Clouded Leopard, its diet, and the role it plays in maintaining ecological balance. | Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At Wonderwall.sg, we care about wildlife and the environment, and, like most Singaporeans, we love food. So news of a cool initiative by Mandai Wildlife Group that conflates three of our greatest passions caught our attention immediately.

Choose Good With Mandai” is a two-part campaign about making conscious choices that help protect the planet. The first part, the Choose Good Food Trail, is a collaboration between Mandai Wildlife Group and 20 local food establishments to come up with and offer gastronomic creations and grocery bundles inspired by wildlife diets.

The curated food trail, which runs from 21 Oct to 25 Nov 2022, also aims to raise awareness of three important roles that animal species play in the ecosystem – dispersing seeds; maintaining stability in wildlife populations and vegetation growth; and promoting nutrient cycling (when they loosen the soil by foraging for food).

The second part, the Choose Good Game Challenge, uses gameplay to educate us on ways to help the planet, and happens from 18 Nov to 16 Dec 2022.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of the 20 local food establishments that are part of the Choose Good Food Trail, and all the yummy stuff they’ve come up with in creaturely creative ways. Talk about putting the “good” in “goodies”!

Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Arthur Chapman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Afterglow

That’s wild: Raw Mixed Berries Cheesecake, which is made with cashew nuts, and is entirely plant-based and gluten free

Creature inspo: Lesser Bird of Paradise

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“The Lesser Bird-of-Paradise that we drew inspiration from in co-creating this item with Mandai Wildlife Group has a plant-based diet and a striking appearance,” says Lionel Ang, co-founder of Afterglow. “Similarly, we hope that our plant-based offerings can show consumers that we can be sustainable yet enjoy pleasant surprises when we are more purposeful in our food choices.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Ruben Undheim from Trondheim, Norway, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Bamboo Bowls

That’s wild: Seoul - a bamboo bowl of Japchae noodles with ingredients such as carrot and coconut

Creature inspo: Sumatran Orangutan

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“We hope we can bring awareness to the plight of the Sumatran Orangutan,” says Justin Hammond, Culinary Director, Bamboo Bowls. “We are truly honoured to support this cause, and we want to drive as many contributions as we can to help these amazing creatures of the forest before it’s too late for them.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Ruben Undheim from Trondheim, Norway, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Birds of Paradise

That’s wild: Cucumber & Double Mint Sorbet, an ensemble of cucumber, lime, and mint

Creature inspo: Sumatran Orangutan

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“The Sumatran Orangutan is native to Southeast Asia, just like Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique!” says Denise Teo, Community Manager, Birds of Paradise.

“The Sumatran Orangutan is an inspiring creature to behold with its unique combination of strength, dexterity and grace, and we're using our platform to bring awareness to this critically endangered beauty. As we humans learn how to make good choices, we can reverse the declining trend and help our Sumatran Orangutans flourish again.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Chye Seng Huat Hardware

That’s wild: Quinoa Salad, which features baby corn and cherry tomatoes

Creature inspo: Malayan Sun Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

Sun Bears have an insectivorous diet, and the ones at the Singapore Zoo are fed ant eggs, silkworm larvae, meat, and plants. According to Mandai, "this diet closely replicates the kind of food they'd find in the wild".


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Davepape, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Dearborn

That’s wild: Strawberries and Blueberries - berry granola featuring Dearborn’s signature maple base with almonds; available both online and in-store

Creature inspo: Pancake Tortoise

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“Dearborn has always been passionate about improving the environment and the world around us, and we believe our community is as well,” says Christopher Kong, chef and owner of Dearborn. “We are thrilled to support organisations doing important work like Mandai Wildlife Group.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Guérin Nicolas, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6. FoodXervices

That’s wild: Asiatic Black Bear’s Basket, which includes honey, nuts and tomato juice; available online only

Creature inspo: Asiatic Black Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“Since 1934, my grandfather has always mentioned not to waste any resources, and we feel that this value is more relevant than ever. Sustainability is about appreciating what we have, and it starts from that core. More importantly, if you continuously remind yourself that you need to make better choices, the voice in your mind will only get louder until it becomes second nature,” says Nichol Ng, Managing Director, FoodXervices.

“The food bundles we specially prepare feature products from local farms and businesses. This collaboration also made us more aware and mindful of our product source and brands we are distributing.”

Also check out the Orangutan’s Basket, which includes a variety of locally farmed vegetables and coconut milk; available online only.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7. Foreword Coffee Roasters

That’s wild: Banana Walnut Lava Cookie with Hazelnut Chocolate & Honey Oat Latte, which includes banana and honey; available only at Foreword Coffee Roasters Temasek Shophouse and Mediacorp Campus

Creature inspo: Malayan Sun Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Nutrient cycling

“As a company that actively seeks new ways to be sustainable, this collaboration has pushed us beyond our conventional means of reducing wastage at our cafes,” says Nadi Chan, Co-founder and Director, Foreword Coffee Roasters.

“In creating the food bundle, we have gained a deeper awareness of the living creatures co-existing with us and how we too, in our sustainable consumption affect the overall ecosystem.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Rawpixel Ltd, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

8. GoodFoodPeople

That’s wild: Garlic Seafood with Pesto Pasta, which is vegan seafood with fusilli pasta tossed with green pesto, fresh herbs, and brussels sprouts; available online only

Creature inspo: Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Maintain ecological balance

“As a pioneer of the healthy eating movement, our core values are integrity, respect, and a commitment to excellence – this is reflected in every step of our process whether it is how we work with our farm partners, the new locally inspired dressing of the season, or the way our team is considered family,” says Katherine Braha, Chief Brand Officer, GoodFoodPeople.

Also check out GoodFoodPeople's Plant-Based Korean Chicken (which comes with mixed grains, with sweet potato, haricot beans, spring onions and Korean chili vinaigrette) and the Jackfruit Meatballs Grain Bowl (which includes a bed of mixed grains with grapes, roasted pumpkin and coriander spices).


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Guérin Nicolas, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

9. Grain Traders

That’s wild: Mandai Hero Bowl, which comprises brown rice, sous vide chicken, roasted root vegetable, mixed tomato salad, cucumber pickles, roasted mixed nuts, and coconut curry; available from 11am to 5pm only (Monday to Friday)

Creature inspo: Asiatic Black Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“Just as the Sumatran Orangutan and Asiatic Black Bear have a well-balanced diet, we want to ensure our guests have the same experience when they enjoy the Mandai Breakfast Bowl and Mandai Hero Bowl,” says Sanaya Soonawalla, Group General Manager, Grain Traders.

“It's important to raise awareness about sustainable living, and this collaboration with Mandai Wildlife Group is a great initiative to spark more change in Singapore.”

Also check out the Mandai Breakfast Bowl, which is a mix of polenta, mashed avocado, and chicken with corn salsa, and is available from 8am to 10am only (Monday to Friday).


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

10. Huggs Coffee

That’s wild: Pesto Chicken Wrap, Honey Lemon & Banana Walnut Muffin, which is filled with chicken, sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and onions; available at all outlets except Huggs Epigram, Huggs @ GIC and Visioncrest Commercial

Creature inspo: Malayan Sun Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“Huggs actively advocates and nurtures a sustainability mindset through community building within the spaces we operate, and through collaborations with sustainability-minded partners like Mandai Wildlife Group,” says Lee Haoming, Managing Director, Huggs Coffee.

“We believe that our role in the coffee industry creates a profound impact on our immediate environment and global climate. While we continually explore ways to maximise materials and reduce wastage from ingredients to packaging, we are constantly pursuing initiatives that inspire our guests to take steps towards a greener future.”

Check out Huggs Coffee's bear-y cute batch of bear-themed merchandise as part of another collaboration with Mandai Wildlife Group that also throws the spotlight on the Malayan Sun Bear.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

11. Kind Kones

That’s wild: Banana & Coconut Ice Cream with Fig Jam, which features fig, banana and coconut; available online and in-stores

Creature inspo: Malayan Sun Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“We pay tribute to the Malayan Sun Bear and show our appreciation for wildlife conservation efforts,” says Serina Bajaj, co-founder of Kind Kones. “Tiny steps bring great changes. From using recyclable packaging to sustainable ingredients, we strive to be kinder to our bodies and the environment/planet.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

12. Little Farms

That’s wild: Bostock Organic Chicken Breast, which comes with root veggies, pearl barley risotto, and kale; available only at Little Farms at Valley Point, Katong Point and Tanglin Mall

Creature inspo: Clouded Leopard

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Maintain ecological balance

“It is inspiring to see how similar humans’ and animals’ diets are,” says William Leonard, Director of Food and Beverage, Little Farms. “We hope this initiative will help shed light on the dependencies we have on wildlife for healthy ecosystems which in return, helps put food on our plates.”

Also check out:

  • Avocado, Quinoa, Feta Bowl inspired by the Asiatic Black Bear
  • Caesar Salad inspired by the Celebes Crested Macaque
  • Sustainably Farmed Fish & Chips inspired by the Asian Small-Clawed Otter
  • Vitamin C Juice, a mix of orange, carrot, Granny Smith, and ginger, inspired by the Indian Rhinoceros.

These are available only at Little Farms at Valley Point, Katong Point and Tanglin Mall.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Flickr user NatureAtYourBackyard . Photo uploaded to commons by user ltshears, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

13. Love Handle

That’s wild: Egg Mayo Focaccia, which comes with LH egg mayo, grilled focaccia, and compressed grapes

Creature inspo: Straw-Headed Bulbul

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“In the process of developing the menu for this campaign, we learned new things about the species we chose. Aside from looking cute, these animals play roles that help to stabilise our environment,” says Addis Tan, chef at Love Handle. “Choosing plant-based meals can reduce our carbon footprint and land clearing, thereby protecting wildlife and their habitats.”

Also check out Love Handle's Smashed Cheeseburger inspired by the Clouded Leopard, and Grilled Corn inspired by the Malayan Sun Bear.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

14. Mr Bucket Chocolaterie

That’s wild: Bear Grub, a mixed-fruit chocolate bar featuring orange, coconut, and fig

Creature inspo: Malayan Sun Bear

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Nutrient cycling

“Choosing good is the only way forward for our communities,” says Jerome Penafort, founder of Mr Bucket Chocolaterie. “Our chocolate bar, Bear Grub, represents our commitment to do good to impact the communities around us.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Quartl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

15. Open Farm Community

That’s wild: Tall Order, a sticky date and sweet potato pudding with spiced orange glaze and sourdough ice cream

Creature inspo: Rothschild Giraffe

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Maintain ecological balance

"The Rothschild Giraffe is one of the most endangered populations of giraffes in the world. Through this collaboration, we hope to do our part to raise awareness of the plight of these majestic and gentle creatures,” says Oliver Truesdale Jutras, Executive Chef, Open Farm Community.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Hans Stieglitz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

16. Raw Kitchen Bar

That’s wild: Pulled “Beef” Toast, which comprises coffee-spiced pulled Fable "beef" toast, pepper jack cheese, chipotle aioli, and an onsen egg

Creature inspo: Malayan Tiger

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Maintain ecological balance

“Our specially created dessert aside, there's no lack in flavour or satisfaction when it comes to our plant-based pulled “beef” toast,” says Dwayne Emuang, Culinary Director, Raw Kitchen Bar, who aims to raise awareness of how our daily eating habits can contribute to helping Mother Warth. “Every little effort counts.”

Also check out their Ile Flottante, which includes charred pineapple, meringue, spiced papaya creme anglaise, and pineapple crumble, and is inspired by the Sumatran Orangutan.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Henrik Ishihara, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

17. Starter Lab

That’s wild: Bella's Breakie, which includes homemade nut butter, fresh sliced banana, Arenga burnt sugar, and country toast

Creature inspo: Celebes Crested Macaque

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“Through this campaign, we really hope to awaken and fuel our customers’ sense of responsibility, love and care for wildlife and our planet," says Min Siah, CEO, Starter Lab.

They also have a Chicken Banh Mi inspired by the Clouded Leopard; and Smokey Roast Tomatoes, inspired by the Malayan Sun Bear, and which comes with confit garlic, thyme, house-made ricotta, balsamic drizzle, freshly picked basil, and miso sourdough baguette.


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and J. Patrick Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

18. The Coconut Club

That’s wild: Sayur Lodeh Rebung, a traditional Indonesian dish; this one includes bamboo shoots, coconut milk, and spices

Inspired by: Giant Panda

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“As an F&B establishment, we can do our part for wildlife conservation through food,” says Daniel Sia, Chef and Managing Partner, The Coconut Club. “Our Sayur Lodeh Rebung is meatless and we have chosen bamboo shoots, which are not commonly used but very versatile. They also go well with our proprietary blend of coconut milk which is sourced sustainably from a single plantation.”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Henrik Ishihara, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

19. The Social Space

That’s wild: Monkey Business - a smoothie bowl featuring banana, dragonfruit and papaya

Creature inspo: Celebes Crested Macaque

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Seed dispersal

“The Monkey Business smoothie bowl is our most sustainable smoothie bowl, as the base consists of fruits found regionally,” says Daniel Yeow, co-founder of The Social Space. “We use ‘ugly’ fruits sourced from our local wet market - banana, papaya, and red dragonfruit. While nutritionally rich, these fruits have a low water and carbon footprint!”


Photos: Mandai Wildlife Group (left) and Basile Morin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

20. Three Buns (Quayside)

That’s wild: Happy Horton, a banana colada made with rum, banana, coconut, pineapple, and lime juice

Creature inspo: Asian Elephant

Creature’s role in the ecosystem: Maintain ecological balance

“The produce used for these menu items show the vast range of natural ingredients that our beautiful wildlife lives on. It’s important to remind ourselves of the array of vegetables and fruits that we have right in our backyard,” says Adam Penney, Group Executive Chef, Three Buns.

“We hope this collaboration will also inspire everyone to help preserve the natural habitats of wildlife, so they all thrive.”

Also check out:

  • Bear Necessities, a plant-based chicken burger inspired by the Asiatic Black Bear;
  • The Woodman, also a plant-based chicken burger, but one that incorporates the flavours of satay, and is inspired by the Sumatran Orangutan;
  • Brass Macaque, a peanut butter milkshake with Monkey Shoulder whisky and banana liqueur, inspired by the Celebes Crested Macaque.

Yums!

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TAGS: Food and drinks guide , Wildlife , Environment
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