“Oh, it’s time to relax – let’s go ‘yum cha’!”
As a local Hong Konger, and like many others, one of my favorite holiday activities is ‘yum cha’.
What is ‘Yum Cha’ Culture?
So what is ‘yum cha’? It is a Chinese tradition of brunch involving Chinese tea and dim sum and it is very popular in Cantonese-speaking areas such as Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, and Macau.
When you go ‘yum cha’ you will very likely be attracted by the good variety of dim sum usually served in bamboo steamers. While I am typing this article right now, my mind has already drifted to a ‘yum cha’ restaurant, relishing the vegan dim sum on my taste buds.
What Are Dim Sum?
Dim sum are a variety of small dishes that are enjoyed during ‘yum cha’, which can be savoury or sweet and prepared in a number of ways. For example, steamed, baked, or fried.
Are Dim Sum Vegan?
Traditionally, they often contain seafood, eggs, or meat and come in many different forms, including buns, wraps, dumplings, tarts, puffs, and noodle rolls. Luckily, plant-based dim sum do exist and vegans can enjoy ‘yum cha’ culture too – if you know where to look!
Check out our article on lessons learnt travelling as a vegan in China and Hong Kong.
Vegan Dim Sum in Hong Kong
One problem for me as a vegan in Hong Kong is, in general, the dim sum choice is narrow here, plus they usually come in the form of desserts with eggs or milk.
The good news is I found a vegan restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui, a very popular tourist district here, which serves only vegan food! Reviewing the customer comments online, you will find the vegan dim sum options are highly rated for their huge variety, creativity, and more importantly, the mouth-watering taste.
Good Karma at Pure Veggie House
I had a very happy time celebrating my mom’s birthday with vegan dim sum. People say eating without killing can help you keep safe and healthy because you allow others to live on; you are kept safe in karma.
Whether you believe in karma or not, it is always right to be kind to all sentient beings, and not treat yourself as a tomb for animals. So on your birthday, it is a good idea to have vegan food as a blessing to you and all others.
My Favorite Vegan Dim Sum
Here are some of the vegan dim sum we ordered in Pure Veggie House, they are really delicious.
Deep-fried rolls with fresh vegetables inside, comes with Worcestershire sauce – it has always been my favorite.
(Right) Dumplings and (Left) Siu Mai
Biting into the dumplings, the scent of greens and truffle will be released for your enjoyment. Instead of having pork as the filling, the siu mai contain nicely seasoned fried green leafy vegetables. Really fresh and yummy.
This is my all-time favorite dim sum that will make you drool. I don’t know how they make the turnip so soft and delicious. It makes me think of one word: “umami”.
Tan Tan Noodle
Noodles in a rich and spicy soup. My husband said it is the best Tan Tan noodle he has ever eaten.
Tofu Rolls in Tomato Sauce
This is a creative vegan dim sum which I have not seen elsewhere. For the taste, I give it a thumbs-up.
Turnip cake is a traditional dim sum in the ‘yum cha’ table. At Pure Veggie House, it comes as a vegan version; still as popular as ever.
I can’t really remember what’s in it, mushroom and……anyway, it is a pleasing little dim sum that is worth a try.
Pot of Tea
Never forget a pot of good hot tea to go with your vegan dim sum; it can always add pleasure to your enjoyment.
Other Plant-Based ‘Yum Cha’ Restaurants in Hong Kong
There are some other vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong but not necessarily vegan. I can only think of this one restaurant if you like vegan dim sum, so it will be great news to Hong Kong vegans if more restaurants like Pure Veggie House will open in the near future to offer us more choices.
The Rise of Veganism in Hong Kong
People around the world are becoming more aware of the benefits of the vegan living style, not only to our health but also to animals and the environment.
It seems Hong Kong needs more of this education if we are to live a more sustainable life. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the sales of vegan meat in Hong Kong have become more popular and you can see more people eating in vegan restaurants and buying vegan products, it is fantastic!
While this is only the beginning, we still have a long way to go in transitioning the society from meat-consuming to plant-based.
My Plant-Based Journey & Hopes for the Future
I have been plant-based for three decades already and have experienced the benefits it has brought to my health and I look younger than people of the same age.
To further enhance the acceptance of veganism in Hong Kong, we need more like-minded people to set up businesses here to provide convenience to those who wish to practice vegan. Hong Kong people are generally open-minded and well-educated, so with more effort in promoting veganism, we have a good hope this plant-based new norm will thrive soon.
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Deledda became a vegetarian at a young age under her mom's influence, she has and will continue her plant-based journey due to her compassion for those animals raised for human use. Throughout the years, Deledda has gone through large amounts of information telling her how plant-based living helps achieve better health, sustains much exploited natural resources, and more importantly, achieves a humane and loving world for all animals which deserve just as much love on this planet. Deledda has been an active admin for the FB page "Hong Kong Friends of Vegetarians" since 2012, which serves to tell people about the benefits of plant-based living, allows like-minded people to use the platform to share their messages and provides opportunities for vegetarian/vegan business to thrive by promoting their products and services.