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Vegetarian Fast-food in Hong Kong


A meatless addition to Hong Kong's dining scene doles out fast food with a clean, green conscience. By HELEN DALLEY.

Published on Nov 23, 2016

 

YES, HONG KONG'S VEGGIE restaurant Home – Eat to Live is housed in what had been a Burger King in Central. While the fast-food concept remains firmly in place—customers place their order at the till and are given a restaurant pager to signal when their meal is ready—the Whoppers and fries have given way to wholesome, mostly organic menu items named after endangered or extinct species. Popular bites include The Polar Bear, a beetroot, mushroom and oat burger topped with roasted bell peppers, smoked eggplant caviar and aioli, as well as the Silky Sifaka earth bowl, a vegetarian take on Vietnamese pho that ditches the meat in favor of fresh greens and luscious avocado.

The Polar Bear
The Polar Bear, a meatless beet burger. Anthony J Damico.

"We've designed a menu that caters to everyone, whether they're craving a Middle-Eastern flat bread or a bowl of noodles," says founder Christian Mongendre. A dedicated vegetarian, he's on a mission to convince diners that meat-free cuisine doesn't have to be limiting. Mongendre hopes to open a second outlet in Hong Kong soon and harbors ambitions to roll out his healthy fast-food model across Asia. "We want to appeal to the lawyers and bankers as well as the hippies and yogis," he says.

Christian Mongendre
Restaurant founder Christian Mongendre. Anthony J Damico.

To that end, he's made sure to include more indulgent offerings than the stereotypical slabs of tofu. While upstairs serves speedy mains, guests on the ground floor can kick back on the sofa and dig into beautifully presented vegan desserts such as hazelnut chocolate pie and raspberry lime tart. Pair them with a nutritious shake like Balance, which combines coconut and date with cold-pressed vanilla extract. In the evening, health-conscious revelers can knock back a cocktail or two sans the guilt: the popular Jade Supercharged balances out Tequila Ocho, a single estate artisanal varietal, with kale, spinach, green pepper, green apple and parsley.

Organic cold-pressed
Organic cold-pressed juices. Courtesy of Home - Eat To Live.

"Just because food is fast doesn't mean it can't be tasty," he says. Or that it must be so sanctimonious. A little booze, a funky attitude, and dishes that can sate hardened carnivores make this a place that both those who eat to live and live to eat can enjoy. homerestauranthk.com; mains from HK$118.

 

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The Polar Bear, a meatless beet burger. Anthony J Damico.
  • Hazelnut chocolate pie. Courtesy of Home - Eat To Live.
  • Cheese cake. Courtesy of Home - Eat To Live.
  • Flat bread. Courtesy of Home - Eat To Live.
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