When you arrive in Hong Kong and see the markets at every street corner full of meat cuts and live sea food, when the local restaurants ooze the smell of roasted pork – the ambient odor in the center of town at meal times, you would never guess that Hong Kong has a thriving vegan community of thousands of committed millennials and a many centuries-old Buddhist tradition of vegetarianism. Yet there it is: veganism in Hong Kong is creating a big buzz and vegan restaurants and health food shops that carry vegan fares are opening everyday. Scandals involving South China imports of contaminated foods are contributing to the popularity of veganism too.
Eating in non-vegan restaurants can be satisfying (see LOCAL FOOD page). The steamed bock-choy seems to be on all menus, as is the steamed spinach, tofu dishes, stir-fries and the rice. If you’re really lucky you’ll get vegan dim sum on the menu also. Restaurant staff tend to speak English (or master some Cantonese from our VEGAN WORDS page) but show little patience to answer the questions about the details of their dishes from people they probably consider to be picky eaters. Just make sure to say no meat, no meat sauce, no fish, no fish sauce and you’ll get some mighty fresh and tasty greens and veggie dishes that will make you swoon.
Vegetable markets are usually separate entities. Produce and fruits are almost all imported, which means expensive. Proud vendors compete
to show off their best products, which are indeed remarkable and varied,
from firm cherries to huge peaches in any season to leeks and
courgettes just off the French boats.
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