Before going to Hong Kong I did a hefty amount of research about where to eat gluten free. I had compiled a list and then proceeded to go through that list multiple times, designating what should be a must, maybe, and what could only be considered optional. Obsessive I know, but when it comes to good food I don’t mess around!
My criteria for a must was definitely being able to also eat vegan. From these I came up with a handful of places that I would definitely regret not going to while in the city. My first morning there I hit up Grassroots Pantry, and it makes the top of my list!
Grassroots Pantry is a beautiful high end restaurant and cafe in the Sheung Wan area that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their menu is entirely vegetarian, with loads of vegan and gluten free options as well. They even have raw and nut free options too.
I started with a coconut milk latte which was just incredible. I thought I had it good in Toronto with vegan lattes, but this may be one of the best coffee’s I’ve ever had.
I had a hard time deciding what to eat, but ended up opting for the Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes for breakfast. The pancakes are small but stacked and layered with almond butter and banana. I was surprised to see the smaller than I imagined portion but I was thankful because it was the perfect amount and since I had a long list of other things to eat in HK, it left me a little room to keep going.
The pancakes were dense, moist, tart, and pretty darn delicious. I prefer my pancakes to have more substance (there is nothing I hate more than dry and crumbly pancakes) and these were anything but. They were amazing!
GP doesn’t have obvious signage so keep your eyes peeled for this building. For a full and updated menu, check out their website here.
Sweet Pea Cafe is a %100 gluten free cafe also located in the area near Sheung Wan station. The cafe itself is gorgeous! I fell in love with it at first sight. Their display case is beautiful and although their cakes are all gluten free, the only one I could have was their Vegan Chocolate Cake as it obviously isn’t made with any dairy.
I wanted the cake so bad I went back two days in a row to get it! And let me tell you… It was worth the wait. First of all, they are very generous. It was like having two pieces of cake and I almost couldn’t finish it! The cake is filled and topped with a frosting that tasted similar to a ganache. It wasn’t too sweet which I appreciated. (Oh and I should mention, Sweet Pea only has vegan options available on the weekends if that’s what you’re after.)
The cake itself is moist and so so rich. I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate cake but this was absolutely amazing. It exceeded all of my expectations! It’s a little pricey to be honest, but I’d consider it a splurge very well worth it.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a delicious slice of cake on an adorable patio on this cute little side street? 😉
3. Noodle Mi
Noodle Mi is a vietnamese style restaurant close to Sheung Wan station. It’s not difficult to find gluten free pho in Korea (or elsewhere I would assume) but the main pull for me was the gluten free spring rolls. Almost everything on their menu is gluten free, and there is a lot of vegetarian and vegan options as well. I can’t remember the last time I had spring rolls and I had to have some!
I ordered the veg spring rolls, as well as veg curry noodles. Both were awesome! The spring rolls didn’t have a ton of veggies inside but they were crisp and greasy and more than satisfied my craving. The curry bowl was surprisingly really delicious and the rice noodles had a texture similar to angel hair pasta which is rare to find in gluten free noodles. It was so good!
Noodle Mi is not expensive and is an awesome option for a quick gluten free meal in HK!
Pure Veggie House is a vegetarian dim sum restaurant that is not far from Victoria Peak. I scoured their menu and Facebook page and found out they were making gluten free mushroom dumplings, so I immediately contacted them about how to get some as it seemed they were only planning to make them for a limited time.
They kindly responded and let me know that with my reservation, they would set aside a number of dumplings for me. Score! After hiking the Peak and working up quite the appetite, we made our way to PVH for our reservation. It’s in the middle of a building (3rd floor if I remember correctly but I could be wrong) and as with most things in HK, there’s not much signage so it can be a bit difficult to find. But don’t give up! It’s worth it.
Unfortunately the manager that was supposed to help with my reservation and with gluten free menu items was off that day, so there were no mushroom dumplings… I was pretty bummed but they did still make some veggie ones for me and we were able to also order noodles and some vegetarian “chicken” broccoli with bamboo pith, which was great!
The dumplings were good. The noodles were spicy and full of flavour, and the broccoli fresh and delicious too. PVH was very kind and happily worked with me to find which menu items would be okay or not okay. They were aware that soy sauce contains gluten and said most dishes can be modified to be made without it. I had a great experience there and would recommend it for anyone looking for gluten free Chinese food.
5. Green Common
I feel like it’s necessary to include Green Common on this list for a few reasons, because a) I’m not sure it showed up when I initially searched for gluten free options and b) it was an INSANELY packed health food store with a ton of gluten free, vegan, and healthy options. I also discovered that they sold the Beyond Burger so I most definitely had to go and give it a try!
I ended up going to three locations while in HK (I know, I know, but I have my reasons…) I first went to the GC at Nan Fung place because I thought it was the Central location. Oops! I got my maps mixed up and headed to this one instead but it ended up being awesome because they had the best variety in their grocery section and are the biggest (this was confirmed by the staff.)
I even ended up finding Made Good products, yay!
They had a huge selection of vegan meats, vegan snacks, and vegan ice cream! They even had dairy free Ben & Jerry’s! I was hoping to try the Beyond Burger but it wasn’t available at that location on that particular day, so I headed to the Central one.
I was able to sample the Beyond Burger there, but I was staying in Kowloon so I wanted to buy a pack of burgers to take home with me closer to my place so they wouldn’t thaw out by the time I got back. So, I headed to the Harbour City location which of all three, had the smallest grocery section and unfortunately for me, no Ben & Jerry’s. They did have the burgers though so I bought a pack of two along with some daiya cheese at a really reasonable price.
If I lived in HK, I would want to live next to one of these places. It was a god send.
Some honourable mentions should include Marks & Spencer, Nood Food, and Pret a Manger. Marks & Spencer has a whole gluten free section! Unfortunately for me most of the items contain dairy, but I did get some bread (not vegan as it contains egg, but there were no other options) and it was one of the best gluten free breads I’ve ever had!
I had some delicious gluten free coconut yogurt at Nood Food but was otherwise stuffed so I admired their salads from afar.
Pret a Manger also has some gluten free options but not many are both vegan and gluten free, except for the chia pudding which I grabbed for breakfast one day.
Needless to say, I ate well. If you end up in HK and find any good gluten free options or try these ones, let me know!