There’s good news and there is bad news. The good news first: finding vegetarian food in Hong Kong is not difficult. Cantonese restaurant menus are littered with dishes that sound vegetarian-friendly and come with lashings of tasty vegetables and noodles. Unfortunately, the reason they are often so tasty is because, while the dish might be meat-free, there is still every chance it has been cooked in fish oil or beef fat.
Not to worry. There are plenty more options; including plenty of bonafide Indian and Buddhist vegetarian restaurants. Below are some of the best.
Head to Chungking Mansions for a spread of Indian and Pakistani restaurants inside this rambling building, many of which offer a wide selection of vegetarian dishes. The Pakistani restaurants tend to have the tastier selection of vegetable-only dishes, including some fantastic saags and barthas.
Where: Chungking Mansions, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Now for something completely different. If your tour of Hong Kong’s vegetarian options has bounced you from Chinese restaurant to Chinese restaurant and round again, Veggie SF is a breath of fresh air. This laidback diner is peppered with Americana and designed to be a slice of San Francisco style. While the over-the-top stars and stripes are nothing new on Hong Kong’s restaurant scene, you don’t often see a vegetarian American diner—at least not 'round these parts. There are burgers, pasta, and rice dishes on the menu, from lasagna to soy patty cheeseburgers with pumpkin fries.They also do a deadly line of desserts—including a green tea ice cream that turns heads.
Where: 11 Stanley Street, Central
Chi Lin Vegetarian
Several Hong Kong Buddhist and Taoist temple complexes offer vegetarian dining. The Chi Lin vegetarian restaurant at the Chi Lin Nunnery wins as our top pick because it’s a full-blown restaurant rather than a bare-bones canteen and because it’s one of the closest to the city center—many of the others are out in the New Territories. The Chi Lin Nunnery is a beautiful set of buildings set amidst peaceful grounds in northern Kowloon, with the restaurant itself is nestled under the waterfall. The food is fresh, natural and there's an emphasis on well-crafted, Chinese vegetarian dishes rather than meat replacement. Try the deep fried pumpkin spring rolls.
Where: Chi Lin Nunnery, Diamond Hill
Kung Tak Lam Vegetarian Cuisine
This chain of vegetarian restaurants offers a menu of Shanghai classics with the meat swapped out for tofu and soy replacements. You’ll find plenty of noodle dishes mixed with cucumber, mushroom, and white carrot but also a wide selection of traditional meat dishes, such as Peking duck, that have been recreated vegetarian style.
Where: 7/F, 1Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui