David Yeung, who founded Green Monday in 2012 with the aim to combat climate change and food insecurity, became a vegetarian in 2001. He confesses that even though turning to a plant-based diet was a change he wanted, life was quite miserable for him then.
“When I turned to a plant-based diet 20 years ago, for a long period of time, 'gourmet' was a word that disappeared in my dictionary. That explains why I am having so much joy in re-creating the food that I crave in a nutritious, cruelty-free, plant-based form now. From luncheon meat to dumplings, from Hainanese chicken to ramen, I am loving food now more than ever,” Yeung shares.
Green Monday made a name for themselves with their creative approach to promoting a plant-based diet — by asking people to eat sustainably every Monday. The group hopes to change the ratio of meat to and plant-based food consumption in everyone's daily diet. In the past eight years, the group has launched OmniPork, a vegan “meat” that’s made from protein from pea, non-GMO soy beans, shiitake mushroom and rice. They also started Kind Kitchen to provide people with an integrated space where diners can enjoy a well-prepared plant-based meal and purchase their green ingredients at Green Common, a supermarket that’s attached to the restaurant and has seven other locations. The group also works with restaurants to develop diverse recipes using plant-based ingredients. To date, there are more than 1,000 restaurants that have added vegetarian dishes to their menus in partnership with Green Monday.
As an avid food lover and a veteran vegetarian, we invite Yeung to share his favourite list of MICHELIN recommended restaurants when he is looking for a great vegetarian meal.
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When I have friends visiting Hong Kong, I will bring them to Kind Kitchen by Green Common. Not only because it makes sense to host overseas guests at my restaurant, but more importantly, we can let them try the plant-based food created by the most innovative brands and products from around the world. They can enjoy our OmniPork Luncheon sandwich, Beyond Burger, vegan laksa and pho, Happy Nuggets and Hong Kong-style milk tea with oat milk all at the same time.
For special occasions, I often celebrate at one MICHELIN star Tate Dining Room. It is my wife’s favourite restaurant and their creative vegetarian menu is stunning. You can never go wrong with their Beetroot Rose with Gazpacho — beetroots beautifully folded to resemble red roses. The presentation is reason enough for me to plan a revisit, not to mention the dish's flavour and nutrients. The puff pastry with beetroot (again!) and mushroom duxelles is also guilt-free indulgence.
You can’t go wrong with Congee and Noodle Shop, a simple eatery at Quarry Bay that has a Bib Gourmand distinction, for a comforting casual meal in Hong Kong. Their Corn and Mushroom Congee is simple but just unbeatable.
I had one of my most memorable meals at three MICHELIN stars Eleven Madison Park in New York City. Everything was just so perfect — like a symphony of fine-dining. Their service was just mind-blowing, and everyone was so well-trained. Every step, gesture, or maybe even the breath of their staff were synchronised. The food was no doubt great, but the service elevated the whole dining experience and it was such an extraordinary pleasure.
A restaurant that I keep returning to is Deng G in Wanchai, which is recognised with a MICHELIN Plate. They are definitely renowned for their diverse Sichuan flavours, but their vegetarian and vegan dishes are underrated. I love their Dry Sautéed String Beans, Ma Po Tofu, Hot and Sour Tofu Soup, glass noodles, and more! I go there often whenever I crave some fiery delights.
A restaurant that more people should know about is one MICHELIN star New Punjab Club. They are already famous, but what’s worth mentioning is that Punjabi cuisine is actually a good option for plant-based food. They cook with a lot of vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes and beans, and turn them into brilliance. I often go for Samosa Chaat that’s glazed with a tangy tamarind sauce and topped with crispy noodles. You simply cannot stop after one spoonful!
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When we can travel again, I want to go back to two-MICHELIN-starred L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Tokyo. The way the restaurant combines French culinary brilliance and Japanese attention to detail just piqued my interest and fascinated me. It was a very unique and punctilious fusion experience. Their Risotto with Pimientos and Vegetables is made with Japanese pearl rice, creating a really amazing texture. The mesmerising aroma of saffron completed the dish — it was impressive.
I often order food from Bib Gourmand eatery Samsen when I cannot dine out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their stir-fried flat noodles is one of my most desired dishes. The silky flat noodles come with baby corn, Chinese kale and mushroom but the noodles itself is the shining star. It is originally served with chicken or wagyu beef, but they can prepare the dish as vegetarian on request.
One-MICHELIN-starred Ming Court is my family’s go-to place for delicate vegan dim sum and fine Cantonese dishes. They have adopted plant-based ingredients such as OmniPork in their vegetarian set menus. One of their OmniPork dishes is served with fuzzy melon, spinach and glazed with mushroom sauce. It is simply satisfying.
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