In a city that seems to be fueled by pork and prawns, it’s not always easy to find a vegetarian-friendly meal. Whether you’re fighting off a bout of scurvy or entertaining a visiting veggie friend, here are our picks for Hong Kong’s best vegetarian restaurants.
This Mid-Levels favorite has a following for a reason — it’s about as close as you’re going to get to traditional Chinese food without the meat. Even though there are a few faux-meat substitutes, most of the menu doesn’t need to fake it to make it. The char siu bao come with a delectable BBQ sauce, the mushroom dumplings are crispy, and the creamy sweet corn congee is a treat on a rainy day. Nature-inspired interiors of vibrant green tablecloths and wood fixtures complement the back-to-basics experience.
3/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Mid-Levels, 2525-0552.
Billed as Hong Kong’s first vegetarian hotel restaurant, VEDA offers a unique modern plant-based concept. New York-based, Australian-born chef Holly McKinnon has created a menu of no-meat offerings that blend eastern dishes and western sensibilities – think pani pooris, Nepalese ricotta and spinach momos, and baked aloo gobi. There’s a strong Australian-focused wine list, and great coffees by Australian artisanal roasters Pablo & Rusty’s.
Ovolo Central Hotel, 2 Arbuthnot Road, Central, 3755-3067
A pioneer of Hong Kong’s healthy food and sustainability scene, MANA! Fast Food Slow now has two sister restaurants: MANA! Cafe and MANA! Raw. No matter which spot you go to, you will be spoiled for choice. At MANA! Fast Food Slow, the tofu burger stands out as do the myriad flats. As for MANA! Raw, don’t leave without trying the “vushi” aka vegan sushi. All of the shops have a long list of refreshing juices, smoothies and tasty desserts if you are looking for something sweet to round out the meal.
MANA! Fast Food Slow: 92 Wellington Street, Central, 2851-1611; MANA! Cafe: 8 Tai On Terrace, Sheung Wan, 2347-855; MANA! Raw: 97 Wellington Street, Central, 2259-5125.
If dim sum is not the same without a premium pu-erh tea, then LockCha Tea House might be your new favorite spot. Known for its vegetarian dim sum and Cantonese dishes, LockCha draws a crowd thanks to its convenient location inside of Hong Kong Park. It’s located within the KS Lo Gallery, fittingly next to the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, and exudes old-world charm with a bright white facade and warm wood furniture inside. The restaurant is currently under renovations, which aim to finish by the end of May 2016.
G/F, The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, Admiralty, 2801-7177.
The atmosphere may be a bit lacking at Sarvana Bhavan — think blinding orange interiors and terrible lighting — but the food more than makes up for it. This South Indian outpost cooks up a comprehensive menu that would take you an hour to read end to end. Luckily, you can skip straight to the specialties, which include the delicious vada sambar (lentil donuts with spicy soup), various uthappa (a crepe-like dish with lots of veggies), dosas and a tasty 10-dish Gujarati thali set. If it’s a nice enough day, ask for a seat on the terrace instead of the main dining room.
4/F Ashley Centre, 23-25 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2736-1127.
Lamma’s famously veggie-friendly coffee shop whips up fresh fare in a casual-cool setting along Main Street. Bookworm Cafe draws freelancers, Lammaites and travelers alike thanks to its organic vegetarian food and gluten-free offerings. The delicious dishes come in many forms, including the beloved Sheperdess Pie, open-top sandwiches, salads, freshly baked cakes and a generous brunch spread on weekends.
Badass chef Peggy Chan is the brains behind Grassroots Pantry, which moved from its original Sai Ying Pun space to a light-filled plot along Hollywood Road in 2015. Keeping with its green ethos, the design incorporates lots of wood, rustic furniture and potted plants to keep it all down to earth. The menu also emphasizes natural ingredients — think mushroom tempeh rendang, pan-fried gyoza, beetroot risotto, lemon chia seed pancakes, and a massive “Ethnic Plate.” For easy browsing, there’s a legend on the menu that indicates gluten-free, Buddhist-friendly, nut-free, vegan and raw dishes.
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2873-3353.
The 50s decor at VeggieSF is a more than a little bit in-your-face (we get it, it’s a retro San Francisco theme), but it does make for a memorable meal. Meanwhile, the menu veers from the theme to be decidedly international, running the gamut from American-style veggie burgers (with tons of toppings!) to spaghetti, Indonesian gado gado, Mexicano chili salad, kimchi salad and California-style pho.
10/F, 11 Stanley Street, Central, 3902-3902.
The Nan Lian Garden draws a following for its Tang Dynasty-inspired gardens and historic nunnery but there’s another reason to head to Diamond Hill: Chi Lin Vegetarian. Tucked behind a serene waterfall, the classic restaurant offers a quiet atmosphere and vegetarian Buddhist-Chinese cuisine. In addition to a popular afternoon tea set, there’s also a slew of sharing plates such as bean curd rolls, radish puffs, lotus root, mushroom noodles, stuffed tofu, and claypot rice. This place fills up on weekends, so be sure to book a table ahead.
Long Men Lou, Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, 3658-9388.
Opened back in 1981, Woodlands has spent the past 30-some years dishing out vegetarian Indian food to a seemingly nonstop flow of customers. If you’re craving dosas, chutney, sambar — you’ve come to the right place. The Woodlands chefs make their own sauces and doughs daily, so you can expect ultra-fresh ingredients and flavors. There’s lots to love here, but a few standouts include the fluffy vadas, coconut chutney, chaat (assortment of crunchy snacks), and the famously photogenic dosas.
UG/F, Wing On Plaza, 62 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2369-3718.
[Updated February 2019]
Want more of our favorite places to eat and drink in Hong Kong? Check out our Best of Food & Drink section!