Welcome back to another blog post!
To be completely honest, one of the things I was most nervous about before coming to Hong Kong was how I was going to keep a balanced diet. Now, this may seem ridiculous to some people, but one of my passions in life is healthy cooking. I love crafting my own smoothie bowls and cracking open a fresh avocado or can of chickpeas. In the fall, I started doing research of where I could find a salad near my future campus, but I was coming up short. Hong Kongers have their own style of healthy options such as steamed veggies and a plethora of vegetarian restaurants. Hong Kong is divided up into a few different sections: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. My campus is in Kowloon, which has fewer expats living there which in turn means fewer Western healthy options such as salads and smoothies. In this post I am going to give some tips and advice for finding healthier options in Hong Kong.
1. Travel the extra distance to find some gems
Since most of the salad options are closer to the harbor and on Hong Kong Island, it will require at least 25 minutes of traveling time. One of my favorite spots, Youni, is located in a fitness center in Mong Kok (the busiest district in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records). Here, I’m able to customize a grain bowl or select a smoothie. I’ve noticed that small health food cafes are sometimes attached to the gyms here. I assume it’s because the gym crowd heavily overlaps with the health food crowd. Another favorite spot is Mana! which centers its mission around sustainability and eating like it matters. There’s no meat on the menu, they compost, and are involved in grassroots politics. Talk about practicing what you preach!
There’s always a line at Mana! and it’s very popular among expats.
2. Buy a blender
Okay, now maybe this seems wild, but this is something that has made all the difference. I decided to use some of the technology Hong Kong has to offer to purchase a bullet blender one afternoon. I found it for $15 USD on Carousell (similar to Facebook Marketplace) and met up with the seller at an MTR stop 3 hours later. Ever since, I have been purchasing bananas, chia seeds, vanilla extract, granola, and oat milk. It’s super easy to throw a frozen banana and some spinach together for a quick, healthy smoothie to take to class. Seriously, I couldn’t recommend this enough to other exchange students. Banana-based smoothies are perfect for students on a budget and they fill you up.
Just one example of what you can do with a $15 blender.
3. Head to the grocery store
The nearest grocery store to the City U campus is Taste. We are pretty lucky since its new renovation features salad, sushi, and vegan stations. It’s one of the pricier supermarkets in Hong Kong, so if I want to save a bit of money I take about a 15 minute walk to Wellcome, a popular chain focused on the essential products at affordable prices. At either store, I like to stock up on grapes, apples, and any fruit to snack on in the afternoon as I anxiously await dinner. I’ve also purchased some quinoa and lentils which make good homemade salad ingredients. Another healthy and easy dinner option I’ve been making is a taco made with chickpea-bell pepper mixture in a pan on the stove.
One of my favorite lunches to make at the residence hall. It’s tasty, cheap, and easy!
Although it can be a bit challenging sometimes to find options that fit my typical diet, I’m so happy to be living in a place where I can walk down the street and have amazing dumplings and egg waffles.