Through her Instagram blog, Woon-Heng Chia shares simple recipes for plant-based dishes that makes a vegan lifestyle look easy and delicious.

“I believe a vegetarian and vegan diet helps to reduce the toll on our environment and provides many health benefits,” Woon-Heng says. “I don’t want to be killing any animals due to my meals.” Although some simply feel that they cannot give up meat, eating vegan isn’t miserable. It’s very easy to replicate the taste of most meat-based dishes, largely because meat relies on seasonings for flavor. If you’re not sure how to do it, woon.heng can help you out.

Woon-Heng admits that among influencers, there’s pressure to keep content rolling on a frequent basis, however, she feels that with each post, she is abiding by her Instagram tagline, by inspiring others to “adopt a plant-based and meatless lifestyle, one meal at a time.”

Her Instagram pops with vibrant dishes: spicy tempeh Sloppy Joes, mushroom fries with tahini dip, homemade dumplings, and Asian street food.

“I enjoy [creating content] to encourage others to adopt a meatless diet,” Woon-Heng says. “I hope that by creating delicious and easy to make recipes, more people will be willing to try a meatless meal.”

One of her mouthwatering suggestions is a sesame soy glazed crispy mushroom bowl, a twist on her signature gluten-free fried King Oyster mushroom fries. She substitutes tapioca and rice flour for regular, and aquafaba (chickpea liquid) for egg wash, simple switches that yield delicious results.

Or, for an everyday recipe, she spices up blanched asparagus with gochujang and a touch of rice vinegar, soy sauce and maple syrup.

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As an influencer, Woon-Heng notes that maintaining a balance between her personal life and her online life can pose a challenge, however, she is inspired by her followers, and truly feels fulfilled when she knows that she’s made a difference.

“When I first started this account, all I wanted was to spread my love for a plant-based diet so others can be inspired,” Woon-Heng says. “As I got more active in posting, I got more attached. Sometimes, I will even try to reply when I am cooking. My favorite part of being an influencer is to be able to share my recipes and have a supportive community towards veganism and vegetarianism. I am always happy to hear when my followers told me they prepare their meals using my recipes.”

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While she wishes there were more hours in a day, Woon-Heng does make it a point each day to take time away from her digital devices.

“Now,” Woon-Heng says, “I just set my time and take a few long breaks during the day and completely disconnect an hour before bed.”

Among Woon-Heng’s influences are her husband, whom she describes as patient, caring, and kind-hearted, as well as Venerable Master Hsing Yun. Her favorite chef is Ina Garten.

“I’m thankful for the support that I receive from my followers,  they inspire me to continue to come up with more delicious and healthy recipes,” she says.

Originally published as part of the May 2019 Digital Issue under the title “Influencers

Alex Gonzalez

Alex Gonzalez is a writer at Local Profile. He is a lover of food, music, sports, art, and world cultures. Alex was born and raised in Plano and graduated from University of North Texas in 2017. When he...