Hong Kong has a large Buddhist population, as well as an increasing awareness for healthy eating. As plant-based lifestyles become more mainstream, more and more Chinese restaurants (that aren’t opened by religious organisations) catering to vegetarian and vegan diets have popped up. No matter what your reason for wanting to eat green is, if you're craving a good Chinese, here’s where to go.
The serene Chi Lin Vegetarian restaurant is tucked away under a waterfall inside the picturesque nan Lian Gardens, home to Chi Lin Nunnery. Everything on the menu follows Buddhist vegetarian guidelines and is MSG-free as well as low in oil, salt, sugar and cholesterol. Go for the very affordable set menus where you can sample a wide variety of dishes including dim sum, fried rice and soup. There is a minimum charge per person, but rest assured all proceeds at Chi Lin Vegetarian go back towards the operations of the beloved Gardens. We recommend making a reservation, as it does get busy on weekends despite its secluded location.
Chi Lin Vegetarian, Long Men Lou, Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill | (+852) 3658 9388
Gaia Veggie is a longstanding local vegetarian favourite famous for its clever remakes of popular meat and seafood dishes such as Peking duck, sweet and sour pork, and even sushi. Its lunch and afternoon tea menu is an absolute steal and features new dishes regularly. Regulars of Gaia Veggie will know that it’s near impossible to be able to try everything on the fun and innovative menu, and the affordable prices keep customers coming back.
Green Veggie is a great lunch spot for those in the know around Sheung Wan and Wan Chai. The spacious restaurants offer an excellent express lunch where diners can pick three home-style dishes to go with rice and a drink for just $48. There’s also a set lunch and set dinner menu for those with a little more time on their breaks, featuring rich and flavourful Chinese classics made vegetarian, like its signature veggie Char Siu Bao. The traditional soups are made fresh daily and are great for an upset stomach.
Green Veggie, locations vary
Happy Veggies is Hong Kong’s first entirely vegetarian social enterprise restaurant. It aims to promote clean and healthy eating as well as raise awareness for the employment of elderly people and those who are hard of hearing. The dishes here are simple but delectable, and unlike most Chinese vegetarian restaurants, are not named after their meaty counterparts. Happy Veggies will make you feel good from inside and out as you’ll be eating for a good cause, and who knows, you might even pick up a couple of signs in Hong Kong Sign Language!
Kung Tak Lam is another Chinese vegetarian OG in the city, and the only vegetarian Bib Gourmand Restaurant listed in the 2017 Hong Kong & Macau Michelin Guide. The gorgeous Shanghainese cuisine as well as delectable dim sum here is made meticulously with all the proper techniques as Regional Chef Lai Chung Man is an experienced vegetarian chef and also maintains a plant-based lifestyle.
Kung Tak Lam, locations vary
Lock Cha Tea House now has a second location in the ever-popular Tai Kwun complex, but it’s the Hong Kong Park location that really embodies their spirit of slow living. The restaurant itself is in a restored colonial building made to resemble a Chinese scholar’s quarters of years past. It’s best to come early, as their signature vegetarian dim sum choices sell out easily. The selection of premium teas here is unrivalled and makes for an excellent way to pass a lazy day.
LockCha Tea House, G/F, The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, Admiralty | (+852) 2801 7177
Loving Hut is part of an international chain of vegan restaurants. You’re spoiled for choice at this quick and easy counter service joint, and there are also infrequent weekend dinner buffets. Items on the lunch menu rotate daily, and there’s everything from french fries to lo mien on offer. For those who may be a bit wary of Loving Hut, don’t worry, the New Age religious materials are kept to a minimum, and vegan fast food is at the forefront.
Luk Yung Sin Kwun is a blast from the veggie past. Named after an old temple, you’ll find traditional Chinese vegetarian dishes done right here, without the greasiness that you might find elsewhere. Go for the signature Vegetarian Abalone, Fried Taro Fish, and Sweet and Sour Shrimp. Chinese dessert soups are complimentary during non-fasting periods.
Luk Yung Sin Kwun, 38 Jordan Road, Jordan | (+852) 2730 8665
Refresh yourself from the strenuous walk up and down the Big Buddha (bonus points if you hiked from Tung Chung) with a meal at the Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Kitchen. The vegetarian meals at Po Lin Monastery are the very same that the monks and nuns eat themselves, and are believed to “cleanse the stomach and intestine”. Portions are adjusted according to the amount of people in your party to avoid wastage, and dishes are seasonal, so only the freshest produce is used. A standard meal consists of soup, rice, a deep-fried dish, and a stir-fried dish. Not in the mood for a full meal? The snack shop besides the restaurant offers a silky smooth beancurd dessert that’s made daily by the monastery, in addition to other desserts.
Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping, Lantau
Pure Veggie House holds a special place in many hearts. They’ve recently said goodbye to their decade-old Mid-Levels location and moved to a new shop in Central, but the impeccable food and service remain. Pure Veggie House is a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant, meaning their food is made without MSG, dairy, alcohol, eggs, and spices. We are particular towards the contemporary vegan cuisine here, but moreover, we love the vegan hotpot set and early morning vegan dim sum offerings.
Pure Veggie House, 6/F, M88, 2–8 Wellington Street, Central | (+852) 2525 0552
Veg 6 is a contemporary vegetarian restaurant specialising in an amalgamation of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Taiwanese dishes. Its maki sushi roll menu is affordable and can satisfy even the pickiest carnivores. Don’t believe us? Try the Eel and Avocado Roll or the Avocado Cutlet Roll for yourself—you wouldn’t know it wasn’t meat. Its convenient location and gorgeous dishes have helped them to amass a loyal group of regulars.
Veg 6, Shop A, 1/F, Top View Mansion, 10 Canal Road West, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2759 1368
Visiting Veggie Mami feels like you’re visiting a friend. A welcome respite in the Tsuen Wan industrial area, you must off your shoes to enter the homely restaurant. The founder Annie Choi puts love into the family-style dishes, changing the menu often to reflect seasonal produce—and it’s all organic! There are dishes of all kinds here, from pizzas to traditional Chinese zongzi, and private dining is also available for those who prefer a little more intimacy. Annie frequently hosts workshops to promote health and wellness too!
Veggie Mami, Flat 501, 5/F, Block B, Po Yip Building, 62–70 Texaco Road, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 9851 8539