Despite Hong Kong’s reputation as a vegetarian’s nightmare, the city that currently claims the highest per capita pork consumption in the world is seeing a rise in plant-based restaurants and dietary consciousness.
Hong Kong has always been home to a healthy Buddhist population, who forego meat on religious grounds, but the recent influx of mainstream eateries is a relatively new phenomenon, one that has been developing slowly over the past 20 years. While it still may not be easy to be a vegetarian in this city, it’s getting a whole lot better whether you’re cutting meat altogether or just opting for a meat-free Monday. These seven delicious restaurants won’t have you missing meat for a second: check out our favourite vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong.
This stylish Hong Kong favourite is a must-visit for any vegetarian in the city. Founder Peggy Chan, a veteran of the hospitality industry, crafted her menu to nourish and satisfy with dishes like Thai Kelp Noodle with Sweet Basil (HK$168). She’s out to educate Hong Kong about sustainable food practices, and teach the city that good food can be good for the world too. Toast to the eco-life one drink at a time at the fully stocked bar, the selection of ‘Grassroots Twists’ and ‘Grassroots New Vintage’ is made from the highest quality, certified organic spirits and produce.
Grassroots Pantry, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan 2873 3353
MANA! Fast Slow Food
A part of the MANA! Movement, an institution in Hong Kong, MANA! Fast Slow Food is a cosy, Central spot that’s packed daily. Go for a filling burger (HKD$80), stuffed with Haloumi, tofu, vegetables, and pickled cucumbers, and if you’re hungry make it a combo and munch on moreish hand-cut potato fries. Their signature flats make an easy to carry lunch, and they can be stuffed with endless combinations of organic, sustainable ingredients like avocado, falafel, sprouts and more. Owner Bobsy Gaia is thought to be the pioneer of Hong Kong’s conscious businesses and has been bringing a more enlightened meal to the city since 1997. Like all of his restaurants, this one produces zero food waste, and only uses compostable and biodegradable packaging. Come early to beat the crowds, and save room for an indulgent raw, vegan and gluten free dessert.
MANA! Fast Slow Food, 92 Wellington Street, Central 2851 1611
Lock Cha Tea House
An elegant, old-world escape from hectic city life, this classic tea shop has been in business for over 20 years. While they pride themselves on their superior, single-origin Chinese teas sourced directly from tea farmers, the rest of the city loves them for their vegetarian (and mostly vegan) dim sum. Normally a disaster for herbivores you can enjoy yum cha here without worry! Tuck into all vegetable dishes like Steamed Savoury Sticky Rice Dumplings (HK$28) and Fried Lotus Root Cake (HK$25 for 3 pieces) while enjoying their famed tea. Come early, they sell out fast.
Lock Cha Tea House, UGF 290A, Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan 2805 1360
Long Men Lou (Chi Lin Vegetarian)
A mushroom lover’s paradise, this restaurant is hidden inside the enchanting Nan Lian Garden in Diamond Hill. Take the day to explore the serenity of the nearby Chi Lin Nunnery and its garden before heading here for a delicate meal of traditional, fresh, MSG-free dishes. Á la carte dishes are available, but we recommend booking a banquet menu in advance for a larger party to get a truly memorable experience. Long Men Lou is open from lunch through dinner, but be warned that they are quite strict and have both a time and spend limit. If you’re going with a small group, try and score a seat under the waterfall, and definitely make a reservation.
Chi Lin Vegetarian, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill 2658 9388
Isoya Japanese Restaurant
Located just beside the Wan Chai wet-market, this little find offers up animal-free Japanese fare like sushi, tempura, soba and mochi. They have set-menus available for both lunch (HK$100) and dinner (HK$300), but if you come in the evening you can opt for the daily kaiseki – a truly Japanese experience. The immaculate and artfully presented dishes, including Yuzu Chawanmushi – a savoury egg custard- and cheese mochi, create a filling and guilt-free meal. A great place to check out with vegans as well, as the passionate team is happy to swap out any dishes that are made with eggs or dairy.
Isoya Japanese Restaurant 9/F 83 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai 5500 8812
Kung Tam Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine
A firm favourite with the veggie crowd, this Shanghainese restaurant serves up all the classics with no MSG or artificial colours. Carnivores won’t believe it when they tuck into dishes like Sweet and Sour Vegetarian Pork (HK$98) and Sautéed Diced Vegetarian Chicken with Hot & Spicy Sauce (HK$98), where the ‘meat’ is actually a combination of vegetable ingredients like soy, mushroom and yam. Set up like a higher-end dim sum restaurant, the price is refreshingly reasonable— especially if you go to the Tsim Sha Tsui branch where you get a stunning view of Hong Kong Island from across the harbour.
Kung Tam Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine, 10/F World Trade Centre
280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay 2890 3127
Kung Tam Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine, 7/F 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui 2312 7800
Kung Tam Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine, Shop 701, 7/F New Town Plaza, Phase 1,
18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin 2362 1911
Your Indian food fix awaits | Image courtesy of Branto
Old school, simple, and delicious, Branto is an established favourite with Kowloon-side veggies. It’s a no-frills, real-deal Indian joint that focuses more on food than décor, so be warned that while delicious, it’s not much to look at. Their massive menu of over 100 different dishes has taken inspiration from across the country. If you’re not an Indian food expert, opt for one of their set meals, or thali. We like the North Indian thali (HK$99) that comes with rice, paratha, long beans, potatoes, lentils and more. If you’re dining with a group, go for one of the 20 different types of dosa, a light, crepe-like wrap served with various fillings and sauces–you won’t be disappointed.
Branto, 1/F 9-11 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2366 8171