It’s hard not to be in awe of all sorts of spells the Hong Kong chefs are casting on vegetables these days. From raw foods at supermarkets, ready-to-eat plant-based meals at 7-11s to delicious fast-food takeaways and sit-down fine dining, vegetarian and vegan restaurants are changing the way we eat, one wholesome plate at a time.
If you’re looking to veg it out in town, here are the top restaurants to book a meal:
Soil to Soul
(Contemporary Korean Temple food at K11 Musea)
Contemporary Korean restaurant, Soil to Soul has been making waves in the plant-based dining scene since it opened its doors last July. The gut-friendly menu here tastes as good as it is for your health – it’s modern, delish, uniquely fresh and original. Renowned chef Gu Jin Kwang, a protégé of famous Korean nun Woo Kwan, a master in temple food runs the place on Buddhist philosophy incorporating top-of-the-line, organic, plant-based ingredients whilst abstaining from garlic, leeks, onions and chives; not one bit compromising on the taste, flavour or your dining experience.
And good news for the ladies who high-tea, just in time for the summer, the restaurant is offering plant-based afternoon tea sets with a delightful mix of sweet and savoury delights. We love how unique it sounds! Patrons can enjoy the traditional ‘kimbap’, cabbage Roll with Ssam-Jang sauce, deep-fried veggies and rice balls with assorted jang ajji. Sweet treats include the iconic Korean traditional donut, walnut and dried Persimmon roll amongst others. Add a round of Korean herbal teas or their fine selection of plant-based mocktails to the experience and you’re sure to notch up the Zen quotient of your day!
Ma…and the Seeds of Life
(Plant-based fine dining in Central)
Helmed by French jewellery designer-turned chef, Tina Barrat – Ma… and the Seeds of Life, an 1,800 square-foot chic restaurant was created to pay homage to the successive generations of talented women in the Chef’s family, and to Mother Nature who protects, provides for and beautifies life.
We relish the delicious spread of canapés, the Chiaviar, cashew cream, quinoa blinis and the orange fennel soup here. The food oozes with flavour, meticulous attention is paid to the sourcing of finest local ingredients and the final presentation. Organic, biodynamic wines complement the raw, earthy flavours and the gluten-free ‘Tiramisu’ is the perfect way to end a clean meal.
(Michelin-starred, farm-to-table dining experience in Causeway Bay)
Those in the know are blown away by Michelin-starred chef, Simon Rogan’s farm-to-fork philosophy. Staying true to their vision, loyalists keep coming back to Roganic for an authentic, elevated gourmet dining experience brimming with the finest, local, seasonal produce. Seats get sold out pretty quickly here, you need to pre-book a tasting experience. Some dishes to expect are the the marjoram brined cabbage served with soy and glazed shimeji with a kick of wasabi, garnished with homegrown nasturtium. Let us assure you, the dining experience and ambiance here is truly opulent for a Michelin-starred restaurant.
(Modern East-meets-West menu in Lan Kwai Fong)
Vegan or vegetarian conjures up images of bland, boring salad, doesn’t it? Ovolo Hotel’s plant-based restaurant, Veda is working on that misconception and changing the way people view meat-free cuisine.
Australian chef McKinnon had plenty of cultural influences in his life and that reflects in his true, contemporary cooking style. He treats ingredients with utmost respect to retain their integrity and deliver maximum flavour. The menu is designed keeping both vegetarians and non-vegetarians in mind, the wholesome Eastern and Western thalis will make a loyalist out of you! Drop in for a set lunch during work hours or a dish of earthy baked cauliflower with a plate of cheesy naanza or stick to Nepalese momos, a hearty serving of semolina potato gnocchi or good, ol’ Indian curry with steamed rice for days when you’re craving comfort food!
Lockcha Tea House
(Vegetarian dim sums and fine teas at Tai Kwun)
Smooth, traditional brews and a selection of vegetarian dim sums – tastes as elegant as it sounds. The dim sums, soft buns, tea cakes at the extremely popular LockCha Tea House in Admiralty and Tai Kwun locations, are an incredible treat. Served with 70 varieties of premium Chinese tea, the expansive menu is perfect for a late afternoon date or just unwinding after a hectic day at work. The restaurant set in a restored colonial building oozes antique vibes – it resembles a Chinese scholar’s quarters and embodies the slow living mantra. Tea-appreciation classes are held on the weekends and Saturdays are generally reserved for traditional music classes. Their signature dim sums sell out quickly in the day, call to reserve a place.
(Sophisticated Buddhist-Japanese cuisine in Wan Chai)
Hong Kongers love Japanese food – there’s probably a restaurant at every corner of the city but it’s hard to eat clean and conscious when it comes to the cuisine. And that’s what makes this Buddhist-Japanese plant-based restaurant, Isoya, so unique. The couple behind this calm space run the popular Japanese hangout, Ishiyama in Causeway Bay. The vegan sushi at the Wan Chai restaurant is a huge hit – so fulfilling that you won’t miss the fish one bit, ingredients are flown in from Japan and top local, seasonal produce makes it way in the kitchens for an authentic, delicious plants-based gastronomical experience. The cold tofu dish served with seaweed is a must-have – Isoya’s soy milk supply come daily from Kyoto – we’ll excuse the carbon footprint because the fresh, creamy consistency of the milk is evident in their succulent rich, smooth tofu and bean curd.
Also Read: Luxury picnic baskets to order in Hong Kong
(Organic, wholesome salad, sandwich and fast food bar in Central)
We love this contemporary restaurant for the rustic vibes and eco-friendly, zero waste policy. MANA! gets full points for using only biodegradable and 100% compostable packaging for their meal boxes. If you’re into healthy, organic wraps, raw burgers, handmade flatbreads and ready-made salad bar – you can visit their Staunton Street or the Star Street venue for a quick, warm, rustic lunch.