When people talk of Hong Kong cuisine it’s easy for our minds to jump to images of street food, dim sum and roasted goose, but there is a growing vegetarian/vegan movement in the city. With a 2014 Ipsos Hong Kong survey concluding an estimate of 23% of the population practices a plant-based diet at least once a week, the idea of cutting out animal products is slowly becoming a reality.
It is no secret that animal products are not good for your health. In recent years, you have probably heard reports on processed meats being a cancer causing grade 1 carcinogen, and it is not something to take lightly. But with a growing number of plant-based alternatives, there has never been a better time to reduce our meat consumption.
And certainly with organisations such as Green Monday promoting a plant-based lifestyle, along with growing concerns from society regarding our diets effect on the planet and the animals that are involved, veganism is going nowhere soon.
Unfortunately, veganism gets a bad wrap regarding the type of lifestyle needed to sustain yourself. Going plant-based can summon thoughts of overpriced organic quinoa, never ending lists of ingredients and even an air of pretense. There are, however, many decently priced, down-to-earth eateries in Hong Kong that dispel this myth. Below is a list of just eight of the many wonderful vegetarian/vegan restaurants where you can fill your boots without damaging your wallet.
Chinese vegetarian cuisine is well known for its attempt to mimic meat dishes, usually by means of soy or seitan. Most modern attempts both look as well as taste like their meat equivalent. This restaurant manages to make meat based foods such as chicken, shrimp, BBQ pork taste real.
Located upstairs in a back alley in Causeway Bay, ChangLe is a real hole-in-the-wall. The decor is nothing worth telling your kids about, but the food is delicious. You will most certainly double take and feel you’re eating real meat.
Chang Le serves a HK$55 lunch (until 5pm) that includes soup, a choice of 3 out of 6 dishes, rice or congee, tea and a dessert (which is almost certainly also soup. Great if you like soup!) The staff will let you know which dishes contain egg or milk. They also serve a HK$45 tea set from 2-5pm that includes (yet more) soup and dessert.
Address: 7/F, L Square, 459-461 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay
Opening times: Monday - Sunday 12:00 - 22:00
My Meat Run Buddy
Directly translated from Chinese, don’t let the strange name sway you. My Meat Run Buddy is perhaps one of the best buffets in Hong Kong. With dozens of options, including spicy Sichuan ‘chicken’ to Nasi Goreng and pizza, My Meat Run Buddy has it all.
Although not everything is vegan, everything is clearly labelled, and the staff have fantastic English, meaning if you have any further queries there should be no issue at all. With the options of a weekday lunch buffet at $68 as well as being able to fill your own takeaway box for $58, you can’t go wrong.
My Meat Run Buddy is located close to Olympic MTR station in Tai Kok Tsui, a short journey from Hong Kong island.
Address: 28-30 Pok Man St, Tai Kok Tsui
Opening times: Lunch 1:30AM–3PM Dinner 6–10:30PM
Fat Yau Yuen
The most local on this restaurant in terms of location and food style, this Buddhist restaurant is hidden away in a small shopping area, but thanks to its bright green and white facade it’s easy to pick out. This is a personal favourite of mine, with great portion sizes, a decent amount of choice as well as free flow rice and soup, you can’t go wrong at Fat Yau Yuen.
There is quite a language barrier, however the updated English menus available are clear to read, and the staff are incredibly friendly and patient. Most of the ‘mock meats’ are made in house, with examples including the ‘veggie seaweed duck’ consisting of dried tofu sheets and seaweed strips (it tastes better than it sounds, trust me!) As well as vegan wonton. A very small handful of dishes contain egg, but if you make it clear to them through the menu that you are vegan, they will be sure to help prevent you ordering the wrong thing.
Recommended: Char Siu Pork, Curried Potatoes and Tofu, ‘Vegetarian Duck’, Seasonal Vegetables and rice all for $38
Address: Shop 8-10, G/F, Fung Cheng Building, 340 Un Chau Street, Cheung Sha Wan
Opening times: Monday - Sunday 10:00 - 21:00
CS Vegan, Tin Hau
Within all the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island, there is a wonderfully quaint, peaceful all you can eat vegan restaurant tucked away just minutes from Tin Hau MTR station. With a huge variety of options available, with more food coming out of the kitchen as well as welcoming staff, you instantly feel at home. The TV playing in the background, staff bringing you over cakes, it really is a wonderful experience. The restaurant may be a little hard to spot at first on a street with plenty of other restaurant options, but once you reach CV Vegan, you’ll not regret the extra effort.
All-you-can eat Buddhist vegan buffet restaurant with 34 seats. From Tin Hau MTR exit A1 turn left along Kings Rd. Then take 3rd street on left (directly under the flyover). Inside doorway number 9, press the big buzzer for access past the metal gate. CS Vegan is then on the first floor.
Open Mon-Sun 11:30am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm
Address: Causeway Bay, 9 Tsing Fung St, Potek House, 1st Floor
Opening Times: 11:30AM–3PM, 6–10PM
Sharmaji Indian Veggie
Of course what list of vegan/vegetarian eateries would be complete without your palette taking a trip to South Asia. Hong Kong is a vastly multicultural city, with people from all corners of the world calling it home. This means that you are never too far away from a fantastic Indian restaurant. With so many offering pure veg menus, it was hard to come to a conclusion on which to add to this list.
Sharmaji Indian Veggie, although a little out of the way, is well worth the journey. With set meals starting from as low as $45, you get fantastic service, great food and plenty of options to choose from. Staff have a very clear understanding of veganism, and are willing to accommodate those with such dietary requirements. There is a slight wait during lunch times, however it is definitely worth it to enjoy low cost, high quality Indian food.
Address: Shop A, G/F, Block 2, Hung Hom Garden, 3 Tsing Chau Street, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China, 852
Opening times: Monday - Sunday 9:30 - 21:30
Warung Malang Indonesian Club
It is a common occurrence to find international cuisines adjusted to suit local tastes but Warung Malang sticks to its Indonesian roots. Tucked away in hectic Causeway Bay, you can find this canteen-style restaurant, providing most signature dishes you would find at any warung across Indonesia.
Though the restaurant serves meat dishes, the staff understand very well the concept of vegetarianism/veganism, and are easily approachable. All dishes on the menu cost between $50-60, with drinks and snacks costing an extra $8 each.
Recommended: Nari Urap plus three sides - $69
Address: 2/F, Dragon Rise, 9-11 Pennington Street, Causeway Bay
Opening Times: Monday - Sunday 10:30AM–10PM
Green Fresh Vegan Restaurant
Of course, not everybody lives in Kowloon or on Hong Kong island. Fortunately, there are dozens of fantastic vegan/vegetarian options in the New Territories. If you are ever in Tsuen Wan, it is definitely worth hitting up Green Fresh.
The restaurant is 100% vegan and has an English menu. There are other vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the area, but what sets this this place apart, among other things, is the vegan egg tart. For those of you who are looking for a cheap, tasty vegan egg tart, look no further. Although the staff not speak much English, it is easy to communicate with the staff, who are welcoming and polite. There is a good choice of lunch sets, as well as afternoon tea. All dishes on the set menu cost less than $60, or you can choose three vegetable dishes with rice for $58
UPDATE: Sadly as of May 2019 Green Fresh has closed down. If there are any future updates we will keep you posted!