Sunday, March 03, 2013

Ying Vegetarian: A must visit for all vegetarians in Hong Kong

If you are a vegetarian in Hong Kong, you know how difficult it is to get true vegetarian food. Either they add chicken to your dish for flavor or cook your dish in the same vessel that is used to cook meat. Thus, you end up getting the taste of meat in your dish. And such vegetarian options come by only when you find a place where the hotel staff understand English. English speaking staff is available only in the bigger restaurants or in some of the more touristy side of Hong Kong or the areas where Expats feature more like the island side of Hong Kong.

Ying Vegetarian Restaurant, Hong Kong
This means you either have to travel far to eat good food or you end up paying more. Neither are sustainable options. But, thankfully I chanced upon one good vegetarian restaurant while I was exploring the temple street night market at Yau ma Tei. The place is called Ying Vegetarian and is located at one end of the temple street along side other traditional Cantonese restaurants.

Cantonese Vegetarian Dish - Egg Plant, Chicken and Fish in Hot Pot
The best part about the place is that they serve Cantonese food, but in vegetarian style. As a first timer, their menu can confuse you as its dishes look and read like the other Cantonese restaurants with words like hot pot, beef, pork, chicken, grouper, fish, squid, etc. Even I was confused when I went there for dinner. I had to double check with customers and the restaurant staff to validate if it was truly vegetarian. Their menu says that some dishes might contain egg, but that also can be removed if informed while ordering the food.

Noodles Rice Menu - Ying Vegetarian Restaurant, Hong Kong
When they serve you the food, it looks exactly like its meat counterpart, but the meat component is either built with tofu, egg white or mushrooms. They have a fairly large number of dishes spanning Antipasto and Noodle Rice, but I opted for the traditional Cantonese hot pot variety that included Eggplant, Chicken and Fish. The dish that I ordered was the best dish that I had tasted in Hong Kong and may be one of the best veggie fare in all of my South East Asia journey.

Antipasto Menu - Ying Vegetarian Restaurant, Hong Kong
While the food is great and the service decently quick, the restaurant might not be the cleanest in Hong Kong, though not dirty either. The setup is entry level restaurant type with air conditioning dining and all, but misses the sophistication. The prices are similar to other restaurants in remote areas of town (about 50 to 80 HKD for a dish) and definitely cheaper than the same scale restaurants on Hong Kong Island. Don’t miss to try them out if you are a vegetarian living in Hong Kong.

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