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.
Believe it or not, eating in non-vegan restaurants in Hong Kong can be satisfying. The bright-green, mouth-watering, 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. Ask if fish sauce or lard were added in the preparation. This is why we have Local Food page on our website: to help you navigate the stormy waters of veganizable or vegan by default local foods!
Restaurant staff tend to speak English but show little patience to answer the questions about the details of their dishes from people they probably consider to be picky eaters. Print or make a screen-shot of our Vegan Vocabulary page and 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. Vegan Snacks are varied and many. You can find them in the stores listed on the same page.
Still have questions? Ask them on our Hong Kong Forum tab to get all the answers.
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