Whether you’re on a recent health kick or have always rocked a veggie-centric lifestyle, Hong Kong’s restaurants are keeping pace with a desire for healthy recipes, seasonable menus and locally sourced ingredients.
If you’re searching for lean, mean and green, then Kale is a hidden gem in Sheung Wan that has been a well-kept secret since it opened in late 2014. The name gives away the restaurant’s concept: you’ll find this leafy superfood plays a huge part in many of the dishes on the menu. The plates are anything but dull – think Kale crab rice, quinoa risotto, and truffle fries with Cajun chicken breast. Top it all off with a unique selection of kale-based shakes and juices.
13/F, Room 1301, Cheung’s Building, 1-3 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan (entrance on Wing Wo Street), 2320-5808.
Founded by Peggy Chan in 2012, Grassroots Pantry has gone from strength to strength — and now that it’s housed in fancy-pants digs on Hollywood Road it has room to seriously impress with its healthy offerings. All its dishes use unprocessed, sustainable and organic ingredients, meaning everything on the plate tastes just as it should. The spicy pan-fried gyoza and the saucy palak paneer are winners that shouldn’t be good for you, but mercifully are!
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2873-3353.
Like all of the best spots in Wong Chuk Hang, 3/3rds (so called because of its three founders) is tucked away inside an old industrial building that belies a very modern interior. On the health-conscious menu: freshly prepared soups, crunchy salads and crispy pizzas that all contain the freshest of ingredients. The menu changes weekly but expect yummy additions such as wild rice salad, saffron fish stew and chargrilled broccoli. If you fancy indulging, don’t miss the daily homemade cakes and decadent French pastries. Watch out for the new venue opening soon in Central (1/F Manning House, Stanley Street).
22D Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 3462-2951.
Start your day off right with a pit stop at Butcher & Baker Café in Kennedy Town. The breakfast menu features some real standouts to perk up your morning: try the healthy loaves such as fig, date and wild seeds or carrot and raisin, served with homemade strawberry jam. Or plump for chia pudding, a traditional English bubble & squeak, or pumpkin fritters. Whoever said breakfast was the dullest meal of the day? As well as a restaurant this space also features an impressive butcher shop, florist and bakery.
On Fat Building, 57-59 Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town, 2591-0328.
Serving organic, vegetarian, vegan, raw and gluten-free food, MANA! Fast Slow Food ticks all the boxes for health-conscious eaters. With three venues across town – MANA! Fast Slow Food, MANA! Raw and MANA! Café — you can pick one to suit your mood. The latest to join the family is MANA! Café, which boasts a cute space with outdoor seating next to Yoga Bam Bam in Poho. The menu offers a range of “Open Flats” (rustic buckwheat or spelt flatbread sandwiches) and breakfast goodies. If you’re feeling naughty, it’s worth adding raw cake or a raw truffle to your order.
MANA! Fast Slow Food: 92 Wellington Street, Central, 2851-1611; MANA! Raw, 97 Wellington Street, Central, 2259-5125; MANA! Café, 8 Tai On Terrace, Sheung Wan, 2347-8555.
Pololi is definitely a Hong Kong first: a Hawaiian Poké. Pronounced pok-kay, this is a Polynesian dish of raw seafood that’s been cubed and marinated. Pololi’s three venues reveal the popularity of its modern take on the original. You’ll find the traditional recipes have been adapted for an Asian palette with flavors like wasabi, ginger and soy. Served in bowls, they’re easy take-out options for a quick and healthy lunch.
35-39 Graham Street, Central, 2755-8099; 4 Swatow Street, Wan Chai, 3706-5641; Centre Mark II, 305-313 Queen’s Road Central, 2511-1106.
An airy space in Ap Lei Chau that also boasts a pretty, tranquil terrace, Artichoke Canteen is one of those gems that effectively transports diners far away from the buzz of the city. On the menu you’ll find fresh Italian and Mediterranean style concoctions, with a heavy emphasis on vegetarian ingredients – although you also can’t go wrong with the sustainable fish options. Plus if you’re not hiding from carbs, make the most of the delicious, large pizzas straight from the wood oven.
3/F, 311 Harbour Industrial Centre, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, 2580-0293.
Local produce is Locofama’s signature — and one that Hongkongers are really getting on board with right now, particularly in the trendy Sai Ying Pun neighborhood. Its menu caters for paleo diets, pescetarians and those with allergies to gluten or nuts with a range of easy-on-the-eye dishes (the cauliflower risotto is a must). You can also get tasty, healthy lunchboxes delivered to your desk.
11 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, 2547-7668.
You can’t take a trip to Lamma without visiting the ever-popular Bookworm Café situated along the main strip in Yung Shue Wan. Step inside, grab a book and take a break from the fast pace of life with one of the delicious home-cooked options on the menu. The food is vegetarian and simplistic (think pasta salads, veggie lasagna and bean burgers), but most importantly it’s homey and freshly made. But that also means that you may have to wait a while for it to appear. Surely that’s all part of the Lamma vibe?
79 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma, 2982-4838.
For those who want to cut down on their sugar intake but can’t eradicate those sweet cravings, make a beeline for Mum, a café slash events space in Wong Chuk Hang that has a penchant for pastries. Try Mum’s reduced sugar carrot cake that uses pineapple juice for natural sweetness instead, or the mouth-watering vegan banana bread that has only 50g of sugar per loaf. Definitely a tea-time must!
Shop G07, G/F, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, 2115-3348.
Can you guess the concept behind The Herbivores? The restaurant has three spots around Hong Kong, and each is a haven for vegetarians with large menus that celebrate all that is green and healthy. You can design your own salads, sandwiches or homemade pastas from a multitude of ingredients, or plump for one of the Middle Eastern wraps and cute mini burgers. Head to the SoHo or Causeway Bay branches for more extensive menus.
Shop 319, 3/F Star Annex, Star House, 3 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; 35 Staunton Street, Central, 2613-2909; 9/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, 2613-2920.
A humble little cafe in Sheung Wan, Harvester is a sure-fire way to up your nutrient levels. The sparsely decorated shop keeps things simple, with a Chinese vegan buffet where you pay per pound rather than shell out for unlimited eats. It’s pretty straightforward: fill up a large bowl with all the greens of your dreams. Once you’ve finished loading up on stir-fried greens, fungi and imitations meats, you can make your way to the Chinese soup, congee and rice station to round out your meal.