Header image courtesy of @breadnplants (via Instagram)
Are you looking for a healthy meal but crinkling your nose at the idea of an unsatisfying salad that will leave your tummy grumbling again in a few hours? Buddha bowls—the heartier and more substantial cousin of salad bowls—are your answer! Colourful and highly versatile, this trendy dish is essentially a hodgepodge of seasonal veggies, lean proteins such as chickpeas or tofu, and fibre-rich grains. While the bowl is often made vegetarian or vegan, meat is sometimes listed on the menu as a protein option.
Why is it called a Buddha bowl? Well, the origin of the name remains somewhat of a mystery. Some believe that it is inspired by the ancient custom of Buddhist monks filling up their bowl with various bits and pieces of food offered by villagers, while others say that the overflowing bowl resembles the rounded belly of the legendary monk Budai. Regardless, it is safe to say that the Buddha bowls we see flooding our Instagram feeds are by no means a traditional Buddhist cuisine. In fact, this rainbow-coloured all-in-one-dish concept has been around for less than a decade and only started popping up in Hong Kong’s healthy restaurant scene in recent years. So if you have not jumped on the Buddha bowl bandwagon yet, it’s not too late! Hop on board and we will take you through the six best spots for Buddha bowls in Hong Kong.
Who says nutritious food cannot compete with their hyper-processed, artery-clogging counterparts? This laid-back neighbourhood restaurant in Sai Ying Pun serves up the most addictive Buddha bowls, comprised of locally-sourced organic produce, perfectly-seasoned protein, and a mouth-watering dressing. One bite will turn even the most ardent sceptic into a lover of this veggie-packed dish. Feel free to customise your own bowl or choose from one of four chef-crafted bowls.
Their signature cajun tiger prawn with roasted veggies & cumin chickpea bowl ($148) is our pescetarian favourite, hands-down. Vegetarians can opt for their baked organic tofu patties with baby spinach & portobello mushrooms ($118). The veggie patties, held together with breadcrumbs, egg, and chia seeds, are dense and hearty enough that you won’t even miss the meat! What’s more, this place is dog-friendly, so dine alfresco and bring your furry friends along!
Locofama, G/F, 9–13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun | (+852) 2547 7668
This clean and minimalistic café not only brews some of the best coffee in town, but they also do an extraordinary brunch menu! If you are looking for a wholesome entrée to pair with your cup of coffee, their Buddha bowl ($118) will not disappoint. Pairing superfoods like avocado and kale with slow-energy-releasing quinoa and chickpeas, seasonal veggies, poached egg, figs, and served with a side of sourdough, the assorted bowl makes for a well-balanced meal that is sure to satisfy. Figs might strike you as an unusual addition to the otherwise savoury dish, but the purple-skinned fruit adds a subtle touch of sweetness that brings all the ingredients together in perfect harmony.
Specialising in salads and power bowls inspired by both Asian and Western cuisines, Youni has garnered a passionate following among the health and fitness community. Swing by one of their seven locations dotted all over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and tuck into their vegan-friendly Buddha bowl ($98) that’s packed with pomegranate, edamame, roasted mushrooms, corn, sweet tofu, quinoa, and rice. Putting a Korean spin on the classic, the colourful bowl is accompanied by a spicy Korean sauce for a delightful kick of heat! We will let you in on a little secret: The bowl is perfectly satisfying on its own, but amp up it up with some added kimchi and you will think you have ascended into Korean food heaven.
Our list would not be complete without this plant-based hotspot. Furnished with warm woodsy décor and hanging greenery, Treehouse is a cosy oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of Central. From bowls, burgers, and wraps to smoothies and juices, all the food from this eco-conscious restaurant is sourced sustainably and made in-house!
Inspired by nature, Treehouse offers three exquisite Buddha bowls named after flowers. We cannot get enough of the Ember bowl ($128), a mouthwatering assembly of veggies including roasted beets, charred cauliflower, slow-dried tomatoes, zucchini, and frizzled onions, paired with a tasty blend of quinoa and millet, and drizzled with a luxurious pesto sauce. In case none of the pre-set Buddha bowls tickles your fancy, you can also have it your way and build your own bowl. With thirty-three scrumptious toppings to choose from, options abound. We fawn over their halloumi, roasted garlic hummus, and eggplant caviar, but every topping is fresh and high quality, so there is really no going wrong with whatever you choose!
Treehouse, Shop 1, G/F, Ezra’s Lane, 45 Pottinger Street, Central | (+852) 3791 2277
Need to fuel up after a sweaty gym session? TOPFIX offers custom-made Buddha bowls ($89) that will give your body and soul the TLC it deserves. Attached to the fitness studio TOPFIT on Lyndhurst Terrace, this newly-opened healthy eatery sports a chic rooftop bar aesthetic, with a spacious terrace decked out in wooden furnishing, potted plants, and plush turquoise sofas. Enjoy views over Central as you munch on a satiating Buddha bowl. It’s easy to customise your own bowl: Just choose from one of three bases—soba noodles, brown rice, or quinoa—followed by a veggie, a lean protein, and a dressing to top it all off. Wash down the nutrient-packed bowl with an energy-boosting smoothie ($60) and you will feel as though you could run a marathon!
TOPFIX, 6/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central | (+852) 2877 9989
Prepare to have your “fete up” in the air as you fall head over heels for this resto’s nourishing bowls combining protein, complex carbs, and fibre—the trifecta of a healthy, balanced meal. The affordable bowls (starting from $58) all come with a colourful medley of fresh veggies including kale, pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, and red onion, and are topped with heart-healthy flax and pumpkin seeds. For protein, the beef patty and sous vide chicken breast are definite favourites, but the vegan falafel is also every bit as satisfying and flavourful. Grab a bowl at one of their three locations and indulge with no guilt!