The days when vegetarian food choices on the menu were limited to an uninspiring salad and a plate of mushrooms are long gone – and good riddance too. Whether your reasons for seeking out something vegan, organic or vegetarian (or any combination of these) are for health, in the interests of animal welfare, for religious reasons or out of concern for the environment, there are plenty of vegetarian food options here in Hong Kong. We checked out two Central-based restaurants offering delicious meat-free menus.
Aaharn has a beautiful vibe, nestled on the second floor of Tai Kwun’s Armoury Building The building is the one on the right when you come into the complex off the pedestrian overpass from the Mid-Levels escalator, right next to the gorgeous old tree. That old tree provides a lovely atmosphere for meals on the balcony.
Aaharn is Australian chef David Thompson’s creation, a man well known as an authority on Thai cuisine. Thompson has been awarded Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Lifetime Achievement Award, among other accolades, so this is not your run-of-the-mill Thai experience.
Flexitarians will feel very at home at Aaharn. The restaurant is on point understanding the city’s new preference for greener plates and offers a vegetarian set menu, complete with wine pairing. They’ll also accommodate vegetarians with green options of signature dishes; just ask when you book and this can be accommodated.
Highlights included the starter of ginger, peanuts, toasted coconut and lime on betel leaves. This is on the vegetarian set menu and was delicious. The massaman curry of green jackfruit and shallots, and the dry red curry were also excellent. We had the dry curry with prawns, but speak to staff for a recommendation of how this dish can be served meat-less.
1/F, Armoury Building, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central
VEDA is playing a starring role in making vegetarianism appealing. This is a place where vegetarians will want to return and meat-eaters will leave happy. The menu has been created by Australian chef Hetty McKinnon, who has imposed an all-Australian wine list that really works.
For those who’ve been in Hong Kong a while, VEDA is tucked below the Ovolo Central hotel, where the old Sense of Touch was. The entrance is via the hotel lobby on Arbuthnot Road; have a giggle at the portrait of Her Majesty being irreverent on your way in.
To start, you can’t go past the Nepalese ricotta and spinach momos. VEDA’s momos are simply delicious. We also had the pani puri, potatoes with spicy tangy water. While tasty and loads of fun to eat, be warned: this is not ideal on a first date (lots of dribbling!).
Next, we had the everyday herb garden salad. My dinner date and I agreed that this was the silent winner of the night – and a heads-up to the waitress for the solid recommendation. The baked cauliflower and gnocchi for mains are two other highlights to look out for.
For dessert, I had the dark sponge cake with passionfruit mousse and also tried the fig cheesecake with caramel sauce. The sponge cake was an ideal close to my evening, nice and light after what was a very filling meal. The cheesecake is a heavier choice and one for those with a sweet tooth.
VEDA is a sound option for a Green Monday meal, or any day of the week. Not only were the staff lovely and knowledgeable, the playlist was fun, and the food (and wine) were delightful.
2 Arbuthnot Road, Central
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This article first appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.