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Being an Indian vegetarian can be a tough task in China and Hong Kong. You’d think that, you’d need to run pillar to post to get even a decent meal. Indian tourists often under this impression tend to pack a bag full of packed foods, easy to make soups and quick snacks to survive in the country.

Well, there can’t be a bigger misconception. Globalization has got the best of food, be it in the form of blending cuisines in the name of fusion or taking local food to places. How this acts in any tourist’s favor is that Hong Kong offers a host of places that provide delicious multicultural and vegetarian food options. Just with little bit of research, you’d be a happy satiated soul.

 { I am usually for all the adventures when travelling, but on this trip I was in no mood to experiment, at least with food. I mentioned in my last post about Hong Kong being a Haven for adventurous eaters, but failed to mention that vegetarians are no short of options too.

As per the recent promise to myself, I have been reframing to bring any meat including chicken close to my mouth. I was however a little eager to try double boiled crocodile meat, but decided otherwise. }

Vegetarian Restaurants: there are number of special Vegetarian Restaurants and an easy Google search shall help you pick the one most suited to your taste cravings. Or simply, head to Tsim Sha Tsui and pick from over half a dozen of vegetarian restaurants. Listed are a few sources that will help you plan better:

  1. http://sassyhongkong.com/top-10-vegetarian-restaurants-in-hong-kong/
  2. Picks for Indian Vegetarian: http://www.cntraveller.in/content/vegetarian-hong-kong
  3. http://hk-magazine.com/restaurants/article/top-10-vegetarian-restaurants

Since we were on a run to see the places with not major focus on food, we ate at local restaurants serving usual food with fish and meat. “No Meat, No Chicken and No Fish” mantra acted in our favor.  Tell it to the restaurant you enter and they would tell you the available vegetarian options if any.

Below is a gist of what my vegetarian meal in Hong Kong looked like:

Tea & more tea: After breakfast of eggs (in its various forms) and toast at the hotel, I’d kick start my day with freshly brewed black ginger HOT tea with lemon. It’s a brilliant option in cold winter morning, to fuel and warm up all the nerves before starting with an eventful and action packed day.

Hot Black Lemon Tea, Hong Kong

Hot Black Lemon Tea, Hong Kong

If you are not into hot teas, try colder version – Lemon Iced Tea. Its tastes equally great and is ideal for summers. What made it special for me were the floating lemon slices that compliments the sweetness of the honey/ palm sugar in it and cuts off the bitterness of black tea, making it a balanced light drink to enjoy.

Indian meal: Looking for an Indian restaurants in Hong Kong? It’s not a problem. We got one in middle of the streets of Ladies market. It was called “Miss India”. It wasn’t one of the fanciest places to eat at, but did the job just right by serving probably the best dal tadka and lacha paratha on the streets of Ladies Market (or maybe I was way to hunger to judge the quality). Paneer dishes weren’t great, I recommend seasonal veggies and mushrooms over anything dairy. It does have a non-veg food and a regular Chinese menu, so if you are looking for a pure vegetarian experience try Khana Khazana the only vegetarian and Indian restaurant in Wan Chai Area. (Address: 20 Luard Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong) 

At most of the Indian restaurants, everything from Dal Tadka, to kadai paneer to lacha paratha is available with choice of fresh local beer and other beverages.

Buddha’s Feast: The safest option to get to vegetarian food without having a doubt of meat in your meal is ask for dishes that Buddhist monks eat. It can be quite an adventure to explain what you are looking for, hence ask for Buddha’s Feast. You can get it at some of the most authentic Chinese restaurants and even at the Airport.

You can try Buddhist café called World Peace Café located in bustling Wanchai area of Hong Kong. It’s a wholesome, beautiful little place that might require you to book in advance.

Dim Sums and Cantonese food: If you are looking for an authentic dim sum experience but are averse of meat, you should try Maxims. It will appeal to you if you are interested in experiencing the dying art of dim sums and dim sums being served on a trolley. It’s expensive and might not always appeal to the people with strong Indian palette.

Another place that is sure shot vegetarian and offers authentic Chinese and Cantonese cuisine without a hint of meat is Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant in JD Mall, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Try it and you’ll not be disappointed.

Other Cuisines:

Mediterranean and Turkish restaurant have a plethora of vegetarian options to choose from. On our way back from Big Buddha, Lantau Island we tried food at Bahce Turkish Restaurant and Bar. Change in palette with tons of vegetarian options to choose from, it’s a nice little café with English speaking staff.

Food at Bahce Turkish Restaurant

Food at Bahce Turkish Restaurant

Note: MTR stations can be a good place to grab quick snacks and healthy meals while you are on a go.

Soups: A quick wholesome hot food fix for those unbearable hunger pangs is provided by a chain offering herbal, handmade soups and snacks under the name of Herbal jelly. We tried fungus, sweetcorn and mushroom soup (the only vegetarian option). It was hot, needed just a pinch of salt and was perfect for a witheringwinter evening. We spotted one on the MTR station of Causeway Bay.

Dried Fruits: Aji Ichiban a dry fruits chain has an assortment of various fruits. My favorite was dried strawberry because of its typical sweet sour taste similar tamarind, perfect to clean off any aftertaste of that greasy lunch meal. We picked up a huge stash of various fruits for our trip and people back home from one of the stores of Aji Ichiban at an MTR station.

Chestnuts Chestnuts during HongKong winters is another quick healthy snack to munch on. Llike pumpkin and cinnamon in the US, chestnuts are a highlight around Christmas and holiday time in China. I got my hands on fresh roasted chestnuts right out of the metallic, rotating oven.

Roasted Chetnuts

Roasted Chetnuts

Sweet Potato & Chetnut Tart

Sweet Potato & Chetnut Tart

Deserts & Egg Tarts:

Apart from all the food listed above, I indulged in good amount of bakery products. Egg tart ranks high for me and can be found in almost every bakery in Hong Kong. If you are not fond of the baked egg flavor try other versions of tarts like coconut tart, chestnut & sweet potato tart (special during festive season). Bakery products good even at small shops at the MTR station. My other favorites were Pineapple buns and Chinese donuts.

Egg Tart & Coconut Tart, Hong Kong

Egg Tart & Coconut Tart, Hong Kong

For a fine dining experience try High Tea at Four Seasons. It was highly recommended by my friend and x-colleague named Stephanie Lim. Giving it’s her and Four Seasons I took her word for it.

Hope my list comes in handy the next time you are in fix to eat something vegetarian while in Hong Kong.

Have you visited Hong Kong? How was your food experience? Share your views as comments to this post.

Until Later,
– Rakshita

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