To a foodie, Hong Kong — the proverbial ‘culinary capital of Asia’— promises to be a land of gastronomic delights. Being a vegetarian, however, I was sure it wouldn’t be the case with me. In a meat-loving city, where seemingly every meal begins with seafood and ends with a veritable cornucopia of red meats, finding vegetarian food seemed a lost cause. All of this changed once I realised my folly in trying to find ‘strictly’ vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong. While there a handful of these around — mostly Buddhist Chinese fares—very few of them receive winning recommendations. The key to great vegetarian food in Hong Kong lies in finding mainstream restaurants that serve an equally delectable ‘green’ grub. Trust me, there are lots of them!
Another initial road-block included explaining what I meant by vegetarian! Most local restaurants seemed to think all non red meat dishes are vegetarian. However, thanks to the increasing popularity of vegan food, it seems to be easier to convey my dietary requirements. If not, explaining ‘no-meat, no-fish, no-egg’ will generally do the trick.
Having scoped the gastronomic streets of the city, going through many lows to a few highs, these form my favourite Vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong.
It is amongst the best exponents of spicy and flavourful Schezuan cuisine. It literally has the hottest food on Hong Kong Island. For its herbivore patrons, the staff deftly dishes out a separate, all vegetarian menu, boasting an array of mouth-watering fare including their eponymous tofu dish, featuring fried tofu in a bed of fiery red chilies. Also try, their dumplings with peanut sauce and sweet corn soup, served in a pumpkin. Make sure you order lots of beer or sodas to wash it all down.
Chilli Figara, Shop E., G/F, 51A Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2893 3330
Life Organic Cafe
The perfect spot to engage in people watching on a laid back Sunday afternoon comes complete with the arguably finest vegan fare in Hong Kong. Just off the side of the mid-levels escalator, Life boasts of hippie cool atmosphere along with a truly delectable menu, boasting of a myriad of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, burgers, and lots more. Make sure you try their refreshing smoothies!
Life Organic Cafe, 10 Shelley Street, Soho, Hong Kong, 28109777
Of the many restaurants claiming to serve North Indian food, Guru perhaps comes closest to North Indian food done Mumbai style. If you are craving for Chili Paneer or Veg Manchurian, then this is the place to go. Located half way up a small alley, just off Hollywood Road, Guru is easy to miss but once found it’s hard to remiss.
Guru, 13 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2547 9998
This is my personal favourite for romantic celebrations. It’s illustrious address — that of The Peninsula Hotel — ensures both, exceptional hospitality and perfect palette. Chesa’s elegant décor resonates with the luxury of the hotel, while keeping it cozy and understated. The menu, replete with the finest cheeses and wines, lends itself easily to the ambience. Although vegetarian options are limited on the menu, you can always call in advance and the chef will comply with your dietary requirements. Do not miss their Lindt chocolate fondue, served with seasonal fruits. It’s advisable to book a table, a few days in advance (or even a few weeks, especially around December).
Chesa, The Peninsula, Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. 2315 3169.