Well, I realize I totally missed out on putting up a Christmas post, and now it feels like it’s way too late to even shout “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” without looking like a big ol’ weirdo, but life’s been busy! Our hagwon director surprised us with the ever-so-thoughtful Christmas gift of telling us he’d secretly sold his school and was terminating our contracts early (on Christmas-frickin’-Eve!!), so Christmas was spent frantically sending out CVs and feeling totally stressed out and screwed over. Anyway, we’d booked a holiday to Hong Kong earlier in the year, and we did contemplate cancelling it after we’d received this bad news, but I insisted that I NEEDED a vacation, so we went ahead with it anyway (and I’m super happy we did cuz it rocked!)
First things first: DA FOOOOOD! We were shocked by the quantity and quality of vegan food in Hong Kong. I mean, Korea loves its meat, but in Hong Kong we saw all sorts of stomach-churning sights (whole ducks, chickens, and pigs hanging in windows, old ladies selling chicken feet on the street, boxes of shark fins, lizards impaled on sticks, deer fetuses…I mean, I can keep going on if you’d like me to, but I would kinda rather stop!) So, we basically weren’t really expecting to have much luck in finding cruelty-free cuisine, BUT WE WERE SO WRONG!
♡ Life Cafe (Organic Vegan & Vegetarian Cafe / Deli / Bar / Restaurant) ♡
We arrived in Hong Kong after a 4 am flight from Seoul, all greasy, bleary-eyed, and with a rumble in our tummies. This place was pretty close to our hotel, and with a huge sign outside exclaiming “VEGAN BRUNCH!”, how could we resist?!
Brunch time! Actually, this was the first vegan brunch I’d ever had! Soy Cafe Mochas and soy yogurt granola to start (I didn’t really care for the runny, slightly sour ‘yogurt.’ I miss the UK’s thick and creamy Alpro Soya yogurt pots SOOO much, boohoohoo.
The full breakfast didn’t disappoint, though! We indulged in this twice during our trip. Tofu scramble, vegan sausages, chewy, maple-soaked vegan bacon, herby potatoes, and a big ol’ slice of grainy bread.
We ate at Life Cafe at least four times during our whole trip (and got drinks and sweets from their deli an additional few times).
I especially loved their rooftop area! (Hong Kong’s weather was SO nice, actually proper hot at points.)
Eggplant hummus and tiny pita triangles.
Crispy sweet potato fries with soy mayo (and beetroot hummus in the background; like I said, we ate here multiple times, so don’t be thinkin’ we gorged ourselves on all this grub at once!)
Sundried tomato and pesto pizza. The toppings were delicious, but the pizza was tiny and the base was pretty dry and crumbly.
‘Shroom pizza topped with rocket.
Sweet potato gnocchi.
Creamy African stew (this was THE BEST!!)
♡ MANA! Fast Slow Food (Vegan / Vegetarian Wraps, Burgers, and Salads) ♡
Like Life Cafe, we visited MANA! multiple times over the course of our holiday. It’s definitely more of a takeaway place, as the seating’s pretty minimal and cramped, but the food was outstanding. Their slogan is “eat like it matters” and they really pride themselves on using local, organic ingredients. The quality of the food here was SO GOOD; everything was so fresh, juicy, and crisp. And their homemade flat-breads were seriously addictive.
SO MUCH FOOD. We were totally starving after a long day of sight-seeing, so we treated ourselves to a huge mezze platter, two burgers, potato wedges, and organic beer.
A daylight pic of the mezze platter (not pictured are their amazing wraps, or ‘Flats.’)
We got some of their vegan cake to take back to our hotel room one day; this one is the coconut cake. Their cakes have the consistency of cheesecake: crumbly bases with dense, creamy toppings.
♡ Veggie SF (Vegan / Vegetarian Diner & Cafe) ♡
Veggie SF: “100% Vegetarian! Totally San Francisco!” This place was probably the oddest restaurant I’ve ever been to. I’d read about it prior to our trip, and I was expecting a vintage American-style diner, but it was more like a cluttered antique shop that just happened to have some tables and chairs squeezed into it! It was definitely unique, but maybe just a tad too cramped for my liking. There were also “do not touch” signs on most things, which made me feel kinda awkward every time I moved, for fear of accidentally bumping into something or knocking something over.
Some of the many knick-knacks I was scared of knocking over!
Vintage TV playing back-to-back I Love Lucy episodes.
Waitin’ for foodz! Oh man, the menu here was kinda cluttered as well. There were symbols marking certain dishes as “Vegan” and “Buddhist” and some others, and even though the menu was pretty big, there were way fewer vegan options than I’d been expecting. So we asked the waitress, and she told us some totally different dishes on the menu were actually vegan as well. Kinda confusing! The food here also wasn’t cheap.
We ended up having virgin Mojitos and two towering burgers with root vegetable wedges. Eoin got a pineapple portobello mushroom burger, and I got a chickpea beetroot burger. They were both just okay. I think the quirkiness of this place definitely had more appeal than the food.
♡ Prune Organic Deli & Grassroots Pantry (Vegan / Vegetarian Cafe) ♡
Prune and Grassroots Pantry are separate restaurants with differing menus and opening times, but they’re right next to each other and share an office. We arrived one morning hoping to have brunch at Grassroots, but ending up getting a mixture of things from Prune’s and Grassroots’ menus.
They’re located in a very quiet, residential area, so we enjoyed sitting outside and taking in the peaceful atmosphere.
I was continuously surprised by how health-conscious Hong Kong was; we saw so many health food stores and healthy juice bars.
So many pretty desserts in Prune!
Grassroots Pantry’s interior.
Grassroot Pantry’s vegan brunch: tofu scramble, barbequed sweet potato wedges, kale salad, and crunchy wholewheat bread.
African pot pie, also from Grassroots Pantry. This was SO GOOD. If I remember correctly, the creamy sauce was actually made from macadamia nuts! It was filled with potatoes and root vegetables. Super yums!
The leaning tower of lemony chia seed waffles! These were from Prune, and they were (obviously) outstanding.
Gorgeous orange and chocolate cake.
Salted caramel chocolate slice.
Tasty little latte with a teeny tiny biscotti!
I haven’t even mentioned how nice the people here were, too! They kindly offered to take our photo for us on our way out the door ^^
♡ The Herbivores (Vegan / Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar) ♡
I noticed this place as we were walking back to our hotel from Life Cafe one night; it’s pretty fancy, and very pricey, but I couldn’t resist giving it a try!
One thing we noticed about eating out in Hong Kong is that nearly everybody makes reservations. Seriously, like, nearly everywhere we went asked if we had a reservation (even if the place wasn’t that busy, and we noticed that some guests never even turned up to the reserved tables; seemed like a waste, but I guess that’s just how it is.) We decided to go ahead and make a reservation here, which turned out to be lucky, cuz the place was full when we arrived, and then three or four groups of people turned up hoping for seats during the course of our dinner.)
The portions here were small and fancy. We ordered a vegan risotto (no photo cuz…well…risotto always looks the same, doesn’t it?) and a Japanese plum pasta:
Isn’t it cute?! I wish it had come out with a pair of googly eyes. We had to mix the seaweed into the pasta, and in the center was a blob of bittersweet pickled Japanese plums; it was actually a really pleasant flavor combination (though I wouldn’t try it again, purely cuz of the price-tag.) In general, food in Hong Kong was way more expensive than what we’re used to in Korea.
♡ Lock Cha Tea House (Tea and Vegan Dim Sum) ♡
I definitely regret not eating more Chinese food in Hong Kong. I’d intended on visiting more restaurants, but they ended up being too out of the way (and we couldn’t resist Life Cafe’s and MANA’s delicious-ness, so close to our hotel!) We visited Lock Cha Tea House twice, and it was SO GOOD, and surprisingly cheap (in comparison to all the other places we ate at!)
Lock Cha Tea House is located in the beautiful Hong Kong Park, and it’s all vegan; amazing!
I would definitely recommend making reservations here, cuz one minute the place was empty, and the next it was completely packed.
Lovely, calm interior.
Of course, there was a very extensive tea menu! The loose tea leaves (or sticks??) came out in a little dish with a lid, then you had to pour hot water into it, let it sit for a few seconds, and then CAREFULLY drain it into your tea cup. I tried to do this myself but ended up filling my saucer with tea…
Cute little curls of green tea!
We ate SO MUCH food here. Way more than what is pictured. I don’t really know if there’s a standard amount of food you’re meant to eat for dim sum, but our server kept laughing and saying “MORE FOOD!” when he brought out our dishes. So, I dunno, I felt a little bit greedy, but the food here was so amazing I couldn’t NOT order heaps of it!
Mushroom and tofu skin stew; it tasted like proper (American) Chinese food, but without any nasty stuff (MSG?) and totally meat-free!
Coconut and pumpkin rice cakes.
Little rice cakes filled with bean paste, and pan-fried corn cakes in the background.
SCRUMPTIOUS steamed Chinese buns filled with salty veggies and soy meat. Not pictured is my absolute fave dish from here: Jasmine green tea-soaked rice balls with black sesame filling (there’s a photo of them on my Instagram, though.)
Hello Kitty x Lock Cha tea on the way out the door. Vegan and adorable (and insanely delicious!)
This was totally the longest food post ever; sorry ’bout that! Just looking back over the photos has made me feel completely stuffed, ooft! More Hong Kong adventures to be posted soon~!