SINGAPORE — In an industrial corner of Singapore, multiplying steadily in bioreactors heated precisely to 82 degrees, real shrimp meat is being grown from samples of the crustacean’s microscopic cells.
Fed a nutrient-rich soup meant to mimic its diet in the wild, a single cell can reproduce over a trillion times into a mound of gray translucent flesh. Think of it as meat growing without all the other parts of the animal, including that chalky black vein.
The venture is being led by Sandhya Sriram and a team of scientists, who are attempting to upend one of the cornerstones of dim sum. Sriram’s company, Shiok Meats, is named after Singaporean slang used to declare something delicious.
Similar work is being done across the world at other startups and research labs to grow beef, pork, chicken and high-end specialty products such as bluefin tuna and foie gras, but Sriram’s company is the only one known to be focused on re-creating shrimp, a staple in many Asian dishes.