Eating healthy isn’t just about the occasional dull, lifeless (and let’s admit: depressing) salad. In the last few years, vegetarian and health-conscious restaurants have taken Hong Kong by storm. Here is our guide to healthy eating in Central and Sheung Wan. Clean eating has never tasted so good.
Text by Olivia Lam
Shop 1 Manning House, 38-48 Queens Road, Central
Tel: 2562 8805
Whether you’re seeking healthy lunches or a simple snack, 3/3rds has it all. This home-grown café offers top quality wholesome and comfort food with a solid selection of beautifully prepared salad, pizzas, and soups. The ultra-thin and crispy pizza crust (only 1mm thin) after returning to work. A range of gluten-free salads are sold by the box ($60 for small, $90 for large) or in a soup and salad combo ($130 large). If you’re feeling creative, you can also create your own veggie mountain by piling on as many salads as you want. Don’t miss out on their signature three cheese toastie ($65), with gooey cheese oozing out of the crunchy and buttery bread. 3/3rds’ menu changes regularly to reflect the best produce of the season.
54A Hollywood Road, Central
Tel: 2770 2282
Tucked away on Hollywood Road, Fresca is a neighbourhood café serving up affordable, farm-to-table vegetarian meals, sourcing ingredients from the local market or the owner’s own garden. The menu varies according to the season, but always incorporates global influences. For instance, their Asian-inspired salad like Korean bean paste tofu is one of the ingredients offered. The menu offers salads, soups, sandwiches and healthy treats either to grab and go or dine in. A recommended salad to whet your appetite is the sweet salad ($30), which consists of purple sweet potato, maple syrup, coconut chia jelly, and mint. But if you’re looking for something to fill up your stomach quickly, a triple-stacked ready-to-go “lunchbox” ($65 for two toppings, $85 for three toppings) is jam-packed with generous amounts of warm grains, mixed greens. If you’re unsure of your choice, try before you buy.
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Tel: 2873 3353
Peggy Chan’s homespun restaurant and workshop uses the freshest, most nutritious, plant-based ingredients for their dishes. Try their trademark items, pandan mushroom ($138) with sweet and sour chili dip and the GP signature salad ($138). A healthy alternative to greasy Korean pancakes are their homemade gluten-free kimchi pancake ($75) made with mung beans and brown rice batter. The potato tofu croquettes with homemade ketchup ($68) have a smooth, creamy texture with a delicate crispy crust. Grassroots Pantry is a perfect place for three types of people: the health-conscious, those with special dietary requirements, and those who simply want to try something different.
G/F 28 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan
Tel: 2851 7778
Knead is all about customising your own salad or sandwich. Select from a wide range of bread, vegetables, meat, cheeses and toppings. But if you want to stay safe, stick to Knead’s suggestions from the menu. It’s $63 for a standard salad which includes one main and two sides. There are three types of vegetables to choose from: baby spinach, mixed lettuce, or rocket. Complimentary dressings/toppings such as honey mustard and sunflower seeds are also included. It’s $55 for a standard sandwich with one main ingredient and two sides. Some choices for the mains for both salad and sandwiches include bacon, chicken schniztel, smoked mackerel and brie. As for sides, you can pick veggies such as artichokes, roast pumpkin and hummus. If the main and sides aren’t enough to satisfy your cravings, additional mains are $12 each and $6 each for sides.
A range of bread types are available such as quinoa and grains, Turkish bread, and rye.
Mana! Fast Slow Food
92 Wellington Street, Central
Tel: 2851 1611
Eat like it matters at Mana. Mana specialises in hearty vegan and organic raw foods like salads, soups, burgers, juices, shakes, as well as gluten-free options. Almost all their ingredients are locally sourced to support Hong Kong farmers. A variety of freshly made salads can be selected from their salad bar, which offers five different types of salads daily (small for $75, large for $100), where four are fixed items (kale, quinoa, roasted vegetables, mixed greens). However, what will steal the spotlight are the flatbreads, all freshly baked, spread with zaatar (a combination of sesame seeds, thyme, sumac and sea salt). With over 20 toppings to choosing from, personalise your own with four complimentary options, or select from the featured flats on the menu. Each flat costs $85, and $50 for half flat. Food aside, Mana is one of the few places in Hong Kong which promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle, from reclaimed furniture and paper straws to water-saving toilets and biodegradable coffee cups. Hey, they say if you go green you gotta go all the way.
2/F Kinwick Centre, 32 Hollywood Road, Central
Tel: 8199 8189
Nood food is Pure Fitness’s own healthy raw café, which offers a vast selection of organic foods, cold-pressed juices, and 16 different superfood smoothies ($55/340ml). Try Blue Dreams, a blend of blueberries, hemp, chia seeds and coconut water or Maca-pichu, a concoction of maca, coconut butter and coconut palm sugar. There is also a custom-made salad bar which allows you to choose up to four salads. Salad choices ($68 for small and $92 for large) include kale salad, Thai beef salad, tomato balsamic salad, and quinoa, just to name a few. If you’re not a fan of cold dishes, hearty hot meals of meat and fish are also served. Their menu changes daily, and whether you’re on a gluten-free, dairy-free or sugar-free diet, nood food will cater to all your special dietary requirements. With locations in most Pure gyms and yoga studios, stop by for a nourishing healthy lunch after an intensive workout or a quick grab-and-go.
60 Staunton Street, Central
Tel: 3104 9134
A healthy café and grocery shop run by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, it uses ingredients sourced from their own organic farm in Yuen Long, the only USDA certified organic farm in Hong Kong. The menu features a selection of organic salads, pastas, all day breakfasts and also has a small food store section. If you’re going for a nice and light lunch, try the quinoa salad with avocado, sunflower seed and lemon vinaigrette ($78) served in a bowl with cherry tomatoes and healthy sunflower seeds. Their omelette, complete with mushrooms, onions and chunky pieces of ham ($48), is light, fluffy and buttery. Their smoothie of the day ($35) is also worth a try. See if you’re lucky enough to get your favourite fruits in a cup!
3/F 6 Gilman’s Bazaar, Central
Tel: 9473 3412
Hidden away on a third floor in Gilman’s Bazaar is a vegetarian and vegan café only opened for lunch from noon to 3pm on weekdays. Soland serves a daily three-course set menu of wholesome food. Start with a hearty bowl of soup, followed by a main usually comprising of pasta or rice, accompanied by fresh salad and slices of pumpkin. This healthy set is at a reasonable price of $50 for drink or soup or $55 for drink and soup. The choices for complimentary drinks include black soya milk, fresh lemon grass tea, dandelion coffee and smooth fruit shake with flax seed. Call beforehand, because their food runs out quickly.
G/F 1 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan
Tel: 2812 6088
Sister restaurant of all-time favourite healthy hangouts Locofama and Sohofama are back with a new healthy eating concept: Supafood. It’s almost impossible to miss, because you’ll notice the superhero-themed murals. They offer rice bowls, salad boxes and ciabatta sandwiches, all made with high-quality ingredients sourced directly from organic farms at a decent price (starts at $48). There’s also a healthy dessert selection filled with grains, coconut products, nuts and peanut butter and a decent selection of fresh juices and smoothies. Quench your thirst with Bery Happy smoothie ($68), a blend of acai berry and banana. Small salad boxes start at $78, whilst small rice boxes start at $58 – a great deal for a seriously filling meal of organic goodness. Watch out because Supafood is going to “save our world, one bite at a time.”
35 Staunton Street, Soho, Central
Tel: 2613 2909
The food that comes out of this hip vegetarian hangout is so flavourful that it even attracts non-vegetarians. With starters and salads around $60 and main courses between $100 and $200, the restaurant offers a decently valued weekday lunch set at around $128 (with one salad or soup, one main course and a drink) and a weekend veggie brunch at $128 (one main course, one dessert and a drink). The Herbivores also draw on various ethnic recipes, such as incorporating unique Japanese touches into their menu with their fresh Japanese plum pasta ($118). A must-try is their Volcano Galei—fried balls of risotto rice with a curry filling ($178).