Trust us, we can’t forego meat either. But a lacking component of meat doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of taste and substance.
Here are our top 8 picks for Buddhist vegetarian restaurants to try in Hong Kong, and another 8 non-Buddhist but vegetarian-friendly restaurant cafés you ought to try for Buddha’s birthday. However you do it, we’re all for baby steps!
8 Buddhist-Chinese Vegetarian Restaurants
1. Pure Veggie House
Having been around for years at the outskirts of Central, Pure Veggie House knows how to serve it up like it is with their tasteful Buddhist décor, the marrying of creative and traditional dishes, and vegetarian meat substitutes. They’ve even a farm from which they source most of their fresh ingredients! Dim sum, afternoon tea, dinner, and hot pot are all a hit at the restaurant, so be sure to book a reservation ahead of time.
3/F Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Mid-Levels
Located at the Western Market in Sheung Wan, the Harvester appears enigmatic on the outside but offers an all-you-can-eat hearty vegetarian buffet, with unlimited brown rice, congee and soup, and charges you by the weight of your selection. Food is limited, so get there early during lunch or dinner hours!
G/F, Yardley Commercial Building, 7 New Market Street, Sheung Wan
3. Queen of the East
Dim sum lovers will opt for Queen of the East for its lacto-ovo vegetarian and vegan-friendly afternoon-tea bites, surrounded by turquoise-blue interiors and Buddha-esque décor. It has been said that you really won’t be missing meat here.
25/F Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
4. Loving Hut
For a quick and healthy fix, the Loving Hut is the solution for vegan fare in a fast food and self-service style. The menu is extensive and overwhelming, but opt for the set menus served with red-yeast rice for the best value. You can even find vegan egg tarts and tiramisu here for dessert – practically unheard of!
2/F Luen Tai Building, 93-99 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai
5. Kung Tak Lam
Vegetarians flock to Kung Tak Lam in Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui for vegetarian and vegan-friendly Shanghainese food which are easily mistaken for real meat.
10/F World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay
7/F, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
6. Chi Lin Vegetarian
Situated on-site in the beautiful Buddhist gardens of Nan Lian and behind a waterfall, Chi Lin Vegetarian makes for a perfect vegetarian lunch option after nice stroll. Make sure to book a table in advance, as they do get busy. All proceeds go towards the management and conservation of the Nan Lian Garden.
Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill
7. CS Vegan
Very affordable all-you-can-eat vegan buffet at CS Vegan may be the best you can find of its kind in Hong Kong. Operated by a non-profit Buddhist establishment, the restaurant takes some effort and patience to find, but is well worth it for its wide and healthy buffet selection and its humble demeanour.
1/F Potek House, 9 Tsing Fung Street, Tin Hau
8. Lock Cha Tea House
The teahouse may be closed for renos but they’ll be re-opening in June, and is well worth a mention for their flavourful vegetarian dim sum and a choice of 100 teas to choose from.
The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, 19 Cotton Tree Drive, Admiralty
Non-Buddhist Vegetarian Cafes & Restaurants
Mum’s the word for healthy and hearty fare at the urban and down-to-earth vegetarian café. Serving up nutritious Asian and Western grub, coffee and sweets, MUM is a cool and casual eatery to hang out at with high ceilings and a botanical garden just outside.
G07, G/F One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen
10. HOME – Eat to Live
Latest to join the Hong Kong vegetarian craze is HOME Eat to Live, a spacious and healthy-dining eatery spanned over two floors and smack dab in the heart of Central. Everything from their homemade food, organic ingredients, ethical sourcing, down to their eco-interiors and zero-waste philosophy breathes sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Shop G01 & 101, Nexxus Building, 77 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Gaining popularity is also newly-opened Vanimal, an international vegetarian dining concept inspired by Asian ingredients. Its signature dish is the Vanimal Paella, and veggie yakitori sticks ‘Vakitori’ has just been added to their menu, all made with animal instincts, minus the animals.
Shop 1, Cadogan, 150 Belcher’s Street, Kennedy Street
12. MANA! Fast Slow Food
You had probably heard of Mana as the mainstay of vegetarian and vegan food in Hong Kong, with the utmost respect for the planet. Customise your salads or flats with fresh and healthy ingredients, and pair your order with the soup of the day or a creamy chia seed pudding for a wholesome and satisfying meal.
92 Wellington Street, Central
Right in the heart of the notorious LKF and too cool for words, VeggieSF is not only worth checking out for its vegan burgers, but also for its 50’s- and San Francisco-themed décor alone. Inspired by international cuisine, the eatery serves wholesome and fun vegetarian dishes, without compromising on a dessert menu – a vegan one!
10/F, 11 Stanley Street, Central
14. Grassroots Pantry
Cosy vibes are always felt at Grassroots Pantry whose vision is to create food made from organic, unprocessed and sustainable ingredients. From breakfast, brunch, lunch, to dinner, their menu options are extensive with raw, vegan, gluten-free, Buddhist, to nut-free features.
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
15. The Herbivores
Exactly what the name implies, The Herbivores takes care of international vegetarian dining and has been growing larger than ever (no thanks to meat) with four locations in Hong Kong. You can find everything from salads, soups, pizzas, sandwiches, to pasta, with some labelled as B for Buddhist, and V for Vegan.
35 Staunton Street, Central
9/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
16. Maya Café
The notable difference between Maya Café and others is that it focuses on a Mediterranean raw-food menu, and an amazing job at that. From soups, salad, noodles, burgers, to risottos, and juices, Maya knows what they’re doing when it comes to raw food!
Shop G7, Nan Fung Tower, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan