Grassroots Pantry: creative Earth-friendly dining in Hong Kong

Grassroots Pantry attracts savvy foodies seeking delectable organic, plant-based and sustainable dining in Hong Kong. The vegetarian chef cum owner Peggy Chan strongly believes that “healthy eating doesn’t have to mean a compromise in flavour or ambiance”, and she does it well since her Earth-friendly cuisine inspires the local farmers community to grow crops sustainably.

The zen palate is fed generously at the Grassroots Pantry. Steps away from the trendy PMQ creative compound on Hollywood Road, the Buddhist-friendly food is plant-based and cooked with joy, which basically means slow-food. Their mantra “To make food do good” also echoes Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. 

vegan Hong Kongvegan Hong Kong cafe Grassroots Pantry
In May 2012, Grassroots Pantry started as a cosy, eco-friendly restaurant in the historic part of the Hong Kong Island – Sai Ying Pun, followed by Prune Organic Deli & Workshop that transformed into its current, more Central location as the Grassroots Pantry in 2015. Inspired by her Canadian upbringing, apprenticeships, her passion for conscious lifestyle and the sustainable food warriors like the US chef Dan Barber, Peggy Chan proves how female chefs can lead the restaurant business towards a more sustainable model of feeding people. Green is the new black as I noted in my sustainability focused musing, and the diners around are not just health-conscious ladies, but hip teenagers and local as well as visiting families.
Grassroots Pantry is not “Hong Kong’s first vegan coffee shop”, that title belongs to Mana!, but the food here is more sophisticated, and the chef Chan also teaches private eco-friendly and raw cuisine classes in Hong Kong, so lean in!
vegan sushi at Grassroots Pantry

I confess, I’m not a fan of the common vegan and vegetarian food taxonomy. Why, instead of using the titles inherited from the animal world, don’t the chefs and companies selling the plant-based foods just come with entirely new names? Familiarity is comforting for many consumers, but curiosity about food is more attractive. If shiitake “bacon”, pine nut “parmesan”, cashew “cheese”, pulled jackfruit suggestive of “pork”, mushroom “liver”, cashew “unagi” and other plant replacements of to the animals-unfriendly ingredients intrigue your healthy-inclined mind, then Grassroots Pantry fits the bill. Allergens are taken seriously and gluten is largely pushed away. “Noodles” are kelp and mung bean or mushrooms, “croutons” are crushed almonds and teff replaces wheat flour in tarts, gnocchi et al. The Dragon Maki roll is based on low-carb jicama-cauliflower “rice”, but better shared since it is sizeable, and after a third – larger than mouth – piece, the avocado-cashew “unagi” (eel) topped with purple cabbage and chia “tobbiko” (fish roe in Japan) and vegan spicy “mayo” alternative tastes just enough.

The integrity-beaming chef Peggy Chan is a co-Director of Zero Waste Alliance HK, and  the “zero waste” Farmers Harvest Soup at Grassroots Pantry daily boils whatever could become in its peak ripeness food waste. Pumpkin soup was served recently.

Globally inspired, locally sourced [mainly] Grassroots Pantry

Another sharing starter, served in a bamboo basket, the steamed Hunan dumplings filled with greens, accompanied with tahini almond butter dressing are a bit dry on their own, but a generous dipping in the nutty sauce saves their worth-the-calories legacy.

Way tastier, and my husband’s favourite, were the Pulled jackfruit nachos. The ultra-local fruit (it grows all over the Hong Kong Island) replaces pork, cashews blended with chipotle transformed cheese into a dairy-free creaminess, and chayote salsa with purple cabbage add a kick. Dip the house sprouted corn tortilla chips in wholesomely!

A cold, vegetable abounding alternative for lunch is the Grassroots Pantry Signature Salad. The extra large raw serving of Aquaponics grown greens with curly kale, sprouted sunflower seeds, dried sweetened cranberries, pickled red beets, macadamia “cheese” tossed with an orange-cashew dressing will set you for the afternoon. Most of the ingredients change seasonally (every three to four months) and so does the menu. In an interview with the Peak Magazine, the chef disclosed that Homegrown Foods, local organic delivery service, and Eco Farm, growing organic in the high mountains of the Jiangxi Province in the neighbouring China (founded by a former neurosurgeon Dr Andrew Lam), supply their almost entirely certified organic menu.

Aquaponics grown Grassroots Pantry green salad

Plenty of healthy fat

A dairy-free breakfast uses Raglan coconut yogurt from Indonesia’s organic coconuts whipped in New Zealand, the producer nevertheless encourages its customers to collect plastic rubbish on the beaches by rewarding them with “DELICIOUS thank you present“, reducing its carbon footprint. GP Home-roasted Granola or Cardamom Brown Rice Pudding for naturally sweet low GI start or local free range eggs scrambled and served with an avocado at brunch on weekends can be served with multigrain or sourdough locally baked by BREAD ELEMENTS, gluten-free or house Teff Pumpernickel bread on the side.

Nut and seed “milks” made fresh in-house are almond and hemp blended with sunflower for beverages a breakfast bowls, while cashew milk stunts for cream in béchamel or when cultured transforms into “cheese”. In the Plant Cheeseboard feature Cashew Swiss, Macadamia Goats and Tofu Feta. Nuts are imported, but more disappointing for any conscious gourmand is the use of white truffle oil in one of their signature plates. This luxe seasoning contains artificial flavours, unless, as I learned during my annual pilgrimage to Piedmont, it is made in the peak season (November-December) with fresh truffles, which is very costly.

The seasonal offerings are inspired by blending Asia – from China (Shaanxi Cold Noodle Salad) through Japan (Japanese Desert Platter), Korea (kimchee) to India (Grilled Tikka Mushroom with Brown Rice Biryani); via Italy (Teff Gnocchi) and France (Pot au Feu) to Canada (Le Reuben and Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich made into superfood!), stopping over in Mexico (Pulled Jackfruit Nachos), rounded by the Pacific (Tomato Poke bowl).

plant-based lattevegan desserts

Sweets that keep you grounded and energised

The baked and some raw desserts are sweetened with agave or coconut sugar. At the bar, your mind is sweetly teased with Sea salted caramel chocolate bar with pumpkin granola base, mango puree coated in dark chocolate, lovely with tea, while the dehydrated raw Raspberry and quinoa ball in dark chocolate is more sweet’n sour. I did not like the too dry and flat tasting coconut cookie as well as the flabby hazelnut cocoa cantucci served with coffee. The raw Coconut ball with chia and dried fruits is a wholesome after-workout fuel. Judging from the unfinished plates of an intrepid expat family sitting next to us, the cakes at the Grassroots Pantry were sliced just too large or not as irresistible as the naughtier Hong Kong pastries.

healthy drinks at Grassroots Pantry

The happy hour from five during the week inspires social cocktail sipping or organic wine imbibing. Non-alcoholic tonics, locally fermented kombucha, and superfood hot drinks complete the nourishing experience. 

From the tonics the locally sold JAMU KUNYIT of anti-inflammatory turmeric and lemon juice sweetened with natural tamarind and low glycemic coconut nectar was pleasantly refreshing. I cannot recommend the ACV Me based on apple cider vinegar, cayenne, maple syrup, though. Likewise, only a truly passionate health-freak can enjoy the sour Coconut kefir blend with chia. The thick Turmeric Chai Latte steamed with coconut milk was like a meal, but I enjoyed it. The Fair Trade, organic coffee grains are roasted locally.

For the fast-paced Hong Kongers, the order delivery may take longer than usual. The beverages are blended mindfully behind the bar, while the items arrive in a conservatively measured intervals, well sometimes all at once. When we ordered three dishes, the feast was wholly ushered in two hands. The waiters have a friendly attitude though so one must cherish that. Your mood is as important for your health as the foodstuffs you nourish your body with, so keep calm and tune in.
 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Mon-Fri breakfast: 9am-11:30am, lunch 11:30am-3pm and dinner 6-11pm; Weekend & Public Holidays brunch: 9am-4pm
+ 852 2873 3353

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong

Joël Robuchon is the global symbol of the French culinary establishment for serious foodies. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong was awarded three Michelin stars in 2012. The French restaurant only deserves them if I close my eyes at the too slow service and the monotone creamy focus of his food. His innovative concept of modern fine dining, an open kitchen preparing innovative small dishes while keeping the quality on a superb level, first took off in Tokyo in 2003. Since then his restaurant empire has spread around the world and earned him a record number of Michelin stars. Vegetarian options and tasting menu have popped out at Robuchon’s dining venues to accommodate contemporary tastes and dietary awareness.
Robuchon in Hong Kong Robuchon in Hong Kong
Atmosphere: Sexy, modern and elegant. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong follows its design format of a sleek dark elegance. Black and red dominate the interior while a bright light emphasises the open kitchen. Watch the cooks frantically moving from a stove to counters – chopping, whipping and mixing complex plates. The restaurant is located in the luxurious Landmark mall. An escalator (a staple of Hong Kong) brings you into this trademark of luxurious dining. Dress smart.
Food: Complex, creamy, inventive with a local twist. The food at the L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong often features golden leaves and other symbols of luxury. An amouse bouche like a creamy veloutè with asparagus arrives right after the generous bread basket lands in your sight, but it changes regularly. The bread and butter at Robuchon are well-known teasers for the weak willed gourmands like myself. Brioche, buttery croissant, cheese and sesame buns, nutty rolls, herbed and spiced pastries, sourdough or tippy twisted baguette with an extra naughty slab of the “JR” butter, set the stage for indulgent dining.
French breadJoel Robuchon caviar
I start with the popular luxed up tapas-style plates as a great opportunity to try a wide range of different dishes. I was curious what was hidden in A surprise of Sologne Imperial caviar (LE CAVIAR IMPERIAL). Once you dipped into the caviar tin, spooning out crab meat softened by a fine jelly you sighed with pleasure.
I love the lobster ravioli at Robuchon in Hong Kong presented as the Maine lobster in turnip raviolis (LE HOMARD). So delicate as they melt in your mouth with a surprisingly varied rainbow of flavours. Rosemary adds depth and freshness and lightens up sometimes this too butter-dominated starter (at his signature Paris L’Atelier I had them too buttery).
gastronomic French cuisine in Hong Kong
Next came the Sea urchin in a lobster jelly, topped with cauliflower cream (L’OURSIN dans une délicate gelé, blanc manger de chou-fleur) turned into a culinary masterpiece. Balance and depth mixed and whipped into a creamy delicacy.
The Sea urchin risotto with spiky artichokes (LE RISOTTO ‘MANTECATO‘ aux langues d’oursin à l’artichaut épineux) revealed the soft, liver-like texture of the sea urchin more potently. Served on the top of the creamy artichoke risotto, decorated for a pomp with edible gold leafs. A spring version was a Saffron risotto with pimientos and cruciferous vegetable (Romesco, purple cauliflower, broccoli) couscous and glazed herbs. Still buttery creamy and rich like all Robuchon food.
Three Michelin star Robuchon
The Pan seared sea scallops with caviar, fregola pasta and shellfish emulsion (LES SAINT-JACQUES les noix poilées/caviar, risotto de fregola et émulsion de coquillages) were more luxurious than at other Robuchon locations. Addition of caviar crowning the crisp pan seared scallops and gold leafs for a powerful statement. The caviar brought a new dimension to the scallops, soft like a feather pillow, but very filling. The rice shaped fregola pasta made into a creamy risotto blended well with the sea shells emulsion. A variation of this scallop and pasta dish is omnipresent on the menu.Sea scallops with caviar
For a lighter plate get the Tomato “mille-feuille” layered with crabmeat, avocado and green apple (LE CRABE en mille-feuille de tomate avec coulis verjuté). Much better that the giant starter of Crab Salad with mayonnaise coated vegetables.Tomato mille-feuille
Robuchon in Hong Kong makes in his decadent potato mash heritage also ultra-tasty mini Kagoshima wagyu beef and foie gras burgers with lightly caramelised bell peppers (LE BURGER au foie gras et poivrons verjutés). The secret is using top quality Japanese fatty beef cooked into an ideal juicy and flavour-bursting patty. Foie gras adds softness and caramelised bell peppers are better than onions.three Michelin star restaurants in Hong Kong
The wine list is stunning. With twenty wines-by-the-glass you might be seduced instead of a bottle. The bottles have ratings from Wine Spectator (WS) as well as the Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (WA). Beware of a 10% service charge at the restaurant even on wines! A magnum of Petrus 1961 is listed for HK$380,000 or 1992 Screaming Eagle, the Californian cult wine, for HK$220,000 or the sweet icon from Sauternes – Château d’Yquem 1921 vintage for HK$130,000 (prices as of 2012). We sipped on a Californian red Caymus Vineyards 2001. The wine was smooth, balanced and rewarding with a long finish. Next time we splurged on a bottle of red Grand Cru Burgundy, the sommelier cunningly directed us above our typical budget, yet we were rewarded deeply with the superb of the Chambertin Clos de Bèze 2006 by Rousseau.
Chambertin Clos de Beze
Visits: October 2012 & April 2018
Price: Very high (small eaters can save by ordering from the small plate concept of L’Atelier or with the lunch menu).
 Lunch: Mon-Sun: 12noon – 2:30pm (Last Order); Dinner: Mon-Sun: 6:30 – 10:30 pm (Last Order)
HK$280 Happy hour at LE JARDIN 6:30 – 7:30pm daily taste multiple canapés.
 L’ATELIER de Joël Robuchon,  Shop 401, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2166 9000

Amber: Dutch chef reimagines modern French cuisine at Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong

Aesthetic perfection, haute couture ingredients and sleek flavors lie behind the contemporary French cuisine of Amber’s head chef Richard Ekkebus, whose effort was awarded two stars in the coveted Michelin guide.
The Dutch chef casts a “light touch” on his ingredients, not overfeeding you with too much cream, meat and large servings. His Dutch roots were crossed with the French in Paris, where he worked at the three star gastronomic jewels of Pierre Gagnaire and Guy Savoy.
Amber uni with caviar
Presentation is indispensable in any art form and eating with our eyes is the spotlight in contemporary restaurants. Nesting inside a bone white Bernardaud china formed as a sea urchin shell is one of the chef’s signature starters – the Hokkaido uni (sea urchin) with caviar in a lobster jell-O. Its sophisticated aspect is underlined by raw cauliflower with crispy seaweed waffles. Asian ingredients shine in the European chef’s hand, who created an artistically as well as culinary perfect dish. You can also start with one of the Russian style caviars served with traditional accompaniments. The special reserve ‘huso huso’ beluga will cost you more than an entire eight-course degustation menu multiplied by almost five people. Not the best deal, unless you are a billionaire who doesn’t care much about such a little expense.
Abalone starter at Amber
Seafood like a permafrost remains on the menu through all the seasons. This staple of the culinary year at Amber recalls the chef’s childhood by the Dutch seaside, while his accent on lighter ingredients is tuned towards the increasingly health conscious diners. After all most of us still want to indulge in many of the artful culinary innovations at restaurants, but not suffer the symptoms of the overfed such as bloated belly and heavy attack of tiredness as the consequences of a dinner out.
Having Japan just a short flight away lured many Hong Kong residents to frequent trips, but so far not many local restaurants in town drew upon the advantage of importing the island country’s superb ingredients. Foreign chefs like Joel Robuchon, Umberto Bombana and now also Richard Ekkebus are leading the Japanese influx of its natural elements. From fish and seafood through beef and leafy greens, their quality is superior to most of local and chinese produce marked by safety scandals and terrible pollution. Amber gets daily its fresh fish and seafood from the markets in Fukuoka and Hokkaido. During our dinner at Amber a delicately steamed Abalone was one of the starters reflecting a seasonal availability of this prized seafood flown directly from Japan. Served in pearly inlaid shells the mushroom textured abalone were an impeccable specialty of the day.
Flower cracker at Amber
Beauty and natural simplicity is culturally important in Japan. The chef transferred this idea to Hong Kong embodied in a seaweed rice cracker planted with purple flowers. Served along with other creative amouse bouches, that set the natural theme focused on simple beauty.
Amouse bouche at Amber
Crunchiness featured in every single bite of the chef’s welcome treats. Some were set in a needle pinching helmet of a sea urchin, others like the foie gras lollies perched on thin sticks and the rest on a carpet of pumpkin seeds.
This trio of amouse bouches at Amber was served before a corpulent stone plate filled with another compliment topped by fried root chips and then came a small selection of breads, of which a thin sheet of crisp savory dried bread was a highlight.
Trio of amouse bouche at Amber
Moving to main courses of the à la carte menu during cold seasons, a wide selection of wildly hunted game such as hare, partridge or venison, all from France, crown the land selections. The hare for two persons is plated in the French traditional style of two services, but there the old ends and novelty captures the chef’s attention as he creates a hare pie with caramelized persimmon, brussel sprouts and black trumpet mushrooms, and after serves a lighter autumn salad with the meat.
The sea world can be represented by curiosities like an asian bizzarely-named long-living kinki (translated also as idiot) fish, japanese amadai (tilefish) and chef’s favorite Brittany blue lobster. The lobster was presented with pork belly, trotters and other succulent delicacies from the Western and Eastern fronts of the globe when we dined there in December.
Vegetarian dishes are aplenty and the chef even concocted a meat-free eight-course degustation menu.
Pineapple dessert at Amber
In it desserts such as the Pineapple poached with aloe vera, banana, micro sorrel, olive oil snow & caviar, a sorbet of mango & passionfruit are included from the regular menu. The warm sweet fruit contrasted wonderfully with refreshing and aerial olive oil snow borrowed from the molecular cuisine cookbooks, and matched with the exotic fruit sorbet.
French unpasteurized cheese became the recent fashionable frenzy in Hong Kong, despite posing a considerate safety risk. Amber doesn’t stay behind including these tasty bacteria (friendly, but possibly in unlucky cases also some food poisoning causing species) heavens into its tasting presented seductively on an elegant cheese tray. Cheese lovers find it hard to resist the slightly hazardous temptation.
Chocolate dessert at Amber
The wine list prides itself with an almost a thousand different labels. Not just French wines but also Australian, Chilean and other modern fermented grape produce. The sommelier is passionate about his job and happily recommends ideal glasses for pairing. Dining inside a private wine room surrounding its imbibing guests with glass walled cellar artfully stacked with bottles surely turns any connoisseur on. The room fits up to 12 people or after splitting a two smaller groups.
Ebony, bronze, walnut and other luxurious materials used in the captivating main room interior by futuristic designer Adam Tihany set a comfortable scene for business lunches, romantic dinners and special celebrations. The organ pipes evoking chandelier assembled of over four thousand bronze rods might look as stalactites hanging down in a cave but they draw your eyes constantly towards their thoughtfully created space. The restaurant’s name is aptly incorporated in the honey-yellow amber hues of the interior.
Sophisticated aestehtics at Amber
Since our food loving friend was not impressed by the eight-course degustation menu a couple of weeks before our dinner, we all voted for the à la carte, and had to revise his disappointment into “We must come back here” mindset as we enjoyed every single dish presented to us that night. The high price of the dining experience at Amber ought to be justified by guests’ satisfaction. The not too intrusive service is there to answer all questions only when you desire, and that is just perfect, so you can fully enjoy conversation around your table .
Address: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel, 7F, 15 Queen’s Rd, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: Tel: +(852) 2132 0066
Opening hours:
Breakfast daily 7am – 10:30am
Lunch daily 12noon – 2:30pm
Dinner daily 6:30pm – 10:30pm

Best tea rooms & shops in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is known for its eclectic mix of an East-meets-West tea scene. Rather then being a destination for buying tea, the city has been mostly associated with its British-influenced high-tea at the top-notch historic hotels like The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, the Hong Kong style sweet milk tea sold casually on the streets or the ‘yum cha‘ cafeterias where Chinese tea is served with dim-sum dumplings.
Tea & Hong Kong skyline
But, as the Chinese moment is now once again dawning upon Hong Kong, aside the fancy afternoon tea lounging at the hotels, numerous new tea venues – authentic or modern – popped up in this ultra-dense metropolis. I will save you plenty of searching time, so you can head straight to enjoying a more authentic cup at one of its best tea rooms and shops I feature here in my rigorously researched and tried Hong Kong tea guide. From tea tasting, tea & cookie pairing to serious tea shopping, these are my favorite destinations for anything tea in Hong Kong.
Tea tasting at Lock Cha
I had been traveling to this skyscraper-dotted Asian giant regularly for almost 10 years and over time I refined my selections for the best tea spots in town. Since my website is directed at English speakers, I selected businesses with an English speaking staff, which is sadly for us, currently giving way to more Mandarin-only communicating citizens across Hong Kong. My selections are based on diverse experiences so everyone finds something, that suits his/her tastes or needs the most.


Owned by a tea loving and youthful Cindy Ng, Teavers was envisioned as a place to clear up one’s thoughts and a get-away from the stress of the Hong Kong island. Her focus is more on exotic house-made blends and an excellent selection of oolongs (perhaps because her favorite tea is Oriental Beauty). You can enjoy the tea either hot or iced, when the latter is popular particularly with her signature creations such as Cranberry Currant oolong or Pineapple Phoenix oolong. Of course, you can also savor a pure tea without any fancy flavoring.
Teavers: modern tea room in Hong Kong
She makes drinking tea fun, letting you select your brew from a sampling tray on your table or having a tea tasting session on the high bar where you can wonder at the burbling water in glass pots as the tea is being made.
Featured daily creations entice returning customers as there is always something new to try. Teavers is one of the most modern tea rooms in Hong Kong. Natural and pure lines, wood and cosy upholstered chairs designed for your comfort, so you can sink in for a couple of hours if you fancy.
During the week the tea room is an oasis of calm, ideal for mind grazing, daydreaming or reading over a pot of tea. The weekends get much more crowded as the local residents as well as by work non-constricted tea lovers traveling from other locations hum inside creating a more social environment.
Joey's tea cookies
Teavers’ teas are the in-room amenity at the legendary Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong, and that certainly marks their merit attracting more customers.
Their teas are served with matching superb cookies from the nearby Joey’s cookies, my favorite on the island. Sencha cookie with green tea, Earl Grey with black, while oolong buttons fit the semi-fermented teas. Hand-made in small batches from the best ingredients (even the butter is imported from France), the sweets are worth sinning with sugar and butter since nothing artificial was added inside.
Tea & cookies at Teavers
Do not be discouraged by its not-so-central location as it is worth finding tucked away inside a newly built retail and residential waterfront area in Lei King Wan.
Address: Shop GB22, GF, Site B, 45 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2350 3828
Opening Time: Closed on Mon; Tue-Fri: 10am-7pm; Sat-Sun 12noon-8pm


Lock” (樂) means happiness, enjoyment, fortune; and “cha” is tea. The company’s direct relationships with tea farmers in China, sustainable and fair-trade practices, and foremost the decades spanning knowledge of its founder, guarantee your experience with their teas being a joyful affair with a premium quality chinese tea.
Lock Cha at HK Tea Museum
A personal supervision of the quality by its founder, Mr. Ip Wing-chi, a founding Chairman of Hong Kong Tea Association, who established Lock Cha in 1991, sets high ladder for his competitors.
The house offers a wide variety of Chinese tea, particularly the highly sought after pu-er cakes for drinking or collecting (mostly they increase in value when aged properly), alongside Lock Cha’s own designed earthenware and Chinese ceramics (Yixing-zisha teapots, Jingdezhen porcelain, Swatow porcelain and earthen wares), that are sold by a knowledgeable staff.
LockCha has two locations in Hong Kong. While the most visited is their tea house and restaurant (yum cha) in a gallery inside the Hong Kong Tea Wares Museum in Admiralty, I prefer the less crowded and much smaller space in Sheung Wan that is also the main shop.
If you like some tea, you can try it during a Gong cha tea tasting session conducted by an in-house specialist when the shop is not very busy.
Vintage pu erh at Lock Cha
There are two weekly music concerts (on weekends) at the tea house as well as frequent tea classes at both locations making it a full-rounded experience. You can call for current schedule and fees.
Address: 290B Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Tea house: The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2805 1360; Tea house: +(852) 2801-7177
Opening Time: daily 11:00 am – 7 pm
Tea house: weekdays 10:00 am – 8 pm; weekends 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. Closed every second Tuesday of the month.

Fook Ming Tong

If you like your tea nicely packaged in a stylish tin or intend to purchase a particularly fine chinese porcelain Fook Ming Tong is the right place for you. It is also the highest end tea shop in the city.
Fook Ming Tong tea tins
Its strengths are oolongs, particularly various grades of Anxi Tie Guan Yin since the tea masters process them directly on the farm by employing traditional technique using charcoal. This green tea has characteristic reddish edges on its leafs. Their facility located in the Songyan village, Xiping, Anxi, is at the heart of Tie Guan Yin region guaranteeing an absolute control over their product.
A top grade green long jing as well as jasmine teas such as Jasmine Silver Needle, Jasmine Dragon Pearl, Jasmine Mao Feng and Jasmine Silver Fur are also the prides of Fook Ming Tong. Other chinese teas including a wide selection of aged pu-er pressed into cakes or bricks are also on the shelves. Tasting of some teas is possible at a specially dedicated table fitted with chairs.
Fook Ming Tong tea shop in Hong Kong
Although most of its current locations are inside very fancy malls, the company has over 20 years heritage and guarantees top quality for a fair price. There are many Fook Ming Tong tea shops in China as well as a couple of Hong Kong branches, two inside the airport terminals 1 and 2, so if you forgot to buy tea in the wild paced city centre or need a gift, you can still fix it at the last-minute before your departure.
Address: Shop 3006, Podium Level 3, IFC mall, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2295 0368
Opening Time: Mon-Sat: 10:30am-8pm; Sun & Public holidays: 11am-8pm

DK Cuppa Tea

Do you seek “Deep Harmony”, “Soothing Love” or just need a “Pure Awakening”? Then head to DK Cuppa Tea Café set in the midst of the trendy meets hectic Soho district in the hills of the Hong Kong island.
Although DK is primarily an aromatherapy consultancy, spa and natural remedies store, the company recently also opened a cafè offering organic herbal Ayurvedic blends at the cosy back corner right bellow the steps leading to the treatment rooms. Now, this is truly holistic.
DK Cuppa Tea Cafe in Hong Kong
You can snuggle up on a fluffy carpet or sit in a proper chair, unwind, recharge or pamper your body with their herbal and fruit infusions certified organic in the US. My cup of fruit & herbal Ayurvedic infusion titled “Sweet Paris” (I was homesick and needed a fix) was a sweet blend of raspberry, blueberry and elderberry for an antioxidant boost; vanilla rooibos remineralizing my body and bolstering immunity, calming lavender, and topping it up was a complexion-soothing rose. My Crown Chakra was energized as it allegedly “gives one a sense of connection to others and oneself” and it surely brought me even closer to my husband with whom I shared the experience.
Cup of fruit & herbal ayurvedic infusion at DK Cuppa Tea
If you crave something sweet or a light lunch, the café serves house-made organic food and aromatic desserts such as curiously looking (flabby panacotta shapes) low-fat yogurt cheesecakes in rose, lavender, lemongrass & bergamot flavors. More, their low-fat organic high tea set or a “Guilt-free Dark Chocolate Truffle Fondue set” made from 70% soy-free, vegan dark chocolate mixed with Italian truffles, will free your guilty mind from the distressing high calorie counting, while enjoying these sweet treats.
DK even creates their own infused sugars with bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, peppermint or rose flavors. Not anymore a guilt-free affair, but worth the splurge for those who do not resist. (I must admit that I prefer all my teas unsweetened as only then the tea’s true fragrances come out).
Address: 16A Staunton Street, SOHO, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2771 2847
Opening Time: Daily 11am-10pm

Ippindou Tea

Ippindou is a great shop to buy high quality japanese artisan ceramics and tea accessories like the precious cherry wood tea caddies or handy bamboo whisks to whip up a bowl of frothy matcha. Now, you do not need to travel to Japan if your only stop is Hong Kong.
Wooden box for artisan tea ceramics
Despite being mainly a ceramics and silverware business, Ippindou also sells its own Japanese green teas. Sencha, matcha and top-quality gyokuro are also available for tasting before you buy.
Located on the popular second level inside the Prince’s Building in Central, it is easy to get to, unless you get pulled into too many of the other intriguing design and antique shops on the same floor. It would be a shame though, because Ippindou is one of the most interesting retailers in the building (at least for me).
Cherry wood tea box at Ippindou Tea
Here you can admire the perfectly crafted Tokoname teapots, that are highly prized in Japan, as well as tea ware from artists based in and around Kyoto, the birthplace of the Japanese tea culture. More seductive temptations like the high quality Japanese silverware for tea and sake are in store. Their alluring shine of novelty pulls your eyes in. It wouldn’t be a Japanese tea shop if it did not offer some distinctive matcha bowls. It won’t be easy to choose from all the varied colors – from earthy, nature evoking, to bright modern shades. So, flex your wrists for a meditative session of your own chanoyu (the japanese tea ceremony).
Japanese tea set by Umehara Hirotaka
The Ippindou staff will wrap up your gifts beautifully, making them an ideal gift or safe to ship overseas. A wooden box for top quality rare artisan tea ceramics and colorful paper boxes for the rest. Each pot also comes with a detailed artist history for you to appreciate the craftsmanship even more.
Address: Shop 226, Prince’s Building, Central, Hong Kong
Contact: +(852) 2971 0080
Opening Time: Daily 10am – 7:30pm
All of my suggestions are based on the Hong Kong island and easily accessible either by metro, the world’s longest mid-levels escalator and a short walk. Some are ideal hideaways from the daunting crowds of the island, while others combine an accent on wellbeing with tea. The rest offer intriguing house blends or top quality teas from China, Taiwan, India and Japan. I hope you will find your own preferred tea heaven in Hong Kong, and if there is anything I missed out, do not hesitate to add your suggestion in the comments section.

Eye-catching Tea Ware by Hong Kong potters

The Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong annually organises an open competition for talented local potters. The task is to make a unique tea vessel and the jury then selects the most captivating tea sets that will be exhibited at the museum. There is also a special school category in which primary and secondary schools from Hong Kong submit their creations. This year about a third out of the total 335 submissions were featured.
Here were my favorites:
Liquid Collection: Drinking tea with morning dew
The Tea Ware by Hong Kong Potters second prize winner “Liquid Collection: Drinking tea with morning dew” looks very feminine and makes me thirsty just looking at it! The artificial drops of a morning dew will not clench your thirst, but the tea served in it, surely will.
original pottery
Another second prize winner, but in the school category “Home Sweet Home by Chan Hiu Lam” is cute, isn’t it? It makes me laugh just imagining two friends sipping tea out of the worms’ mouths.
Being it Asia, table tennis or ping-pong as it often known could not escape the inspiration pot of the participants. The “Ping Pong and me by Au Yan Wai” is a really modern Chinese way to enjoy tea.
original Asian pottery
The rest of my favourites, some of them so quirky as to resemble a Mickey Mouse (the contestants were school kids after all), others even a bit more unusual for a tea drinking set, such as the ochre hued water pipe, and much more imagination pulling pottery you can see bellow in the PHOTO GALLERY:

You can also learn more about Chinese tea, its history, methods of preparation and related teaware browsing through the permanent collection galleries.
✉ 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong (inside the Hong Kong Park).
🕗 Daily 10am-6pm; closed on Tuesdays, the first two days of the Chinese New Year.
@ Photo credit: The pictures were taken by Chow Kam-lan and Louis To-Hing Ho for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of HK Museum of Art. The images were taking from the museum catalog that I was approved to use.

The Japanese club in Hong Kong

The food at the Hong Kong Japanese club cannot be other than very authentic, so it may surprise the Nobu and Zuma devotees with its straightforward and simple style. That often in Japanese restaurants means that only top-notch ingredients must be used in preparation as it is these that stand out. It is quite a similar approach as in Italian cuisine where the raw ingredients and their simple preparation play the main roles.
Sashimi at HK Japanese Club
At the Japanese Club in Hong Kong one can experience throughly the authentic Japanese sit down lunch or dinner. You can eat either in a common room or in one of the private rooms with the traditional concept of sit-on-the-floor by your table. Be prepared to take off your shoes for this, so no teddy bears or red hearts on your socks this time!
Food: Sashimi is the simplest thing one can order. Just a well-sliced piece of fish or seafood and a bit of ice to serve it on, yet it is this simplicity that shows the most about any restaurant. How fresh, succulent and tasty a piece of sashimi is determined by a daily trail of the chef to the fish market or ability to ship the fish from abroad frequently. Some chefs have done a marvelous job with their sourcing ( Urasawa in LA, Dinings in London, Shiro in Seattle, Soto in New York) while some have to mask the imperfections of their fish and seafood with hefty sauces. At the Japanese Club they do not do the later, but one has to know which piece of sashimi to order if you want the best of the best. The salmon was delicious, melting in my mouth like a succulent chunk of fish, but I was disappointed by the toro, the white fish and mackerel. The raw shrimps were delicious though.
Simmering mushrooms and deep fried tofu
Moving to warm dishes I must confess that the Sautéed mushrooms were perhaps the best I have ever had. I ate two plates of them and I could not have enough how great they were. Another vegetarian treat was the Deep-fried tofu with ponzu sauce that was so perfectly balanced, far from oily or mushy as some tofu dishes tend to be.
Perhaps the most different and intriguing for all the dishes we had on that occasion was the Salmon with fermented tofu sauce. This smoky fermented soy bean is called “natto” in Japan and is supposedly very popular between the local people, yet its distinct aroma often deters foreigners. Do not be fooled by the aroma as it tastes really good. The savoury umami taste was dominant and charming in this dish, yet it was balanced by some spicy wasabi paste, white sesame seeds and dried seaweed to create the most complex army of flavours you can imagine. A glass of white wine or sake with this is a must for me as much as with sashimi to help to calm down the richness of the meal. The acidity in white wine is the key to d exactly that.
Salmon with smoked tofu sauce
We also had a Grilled mackerel, but it was not my sort of thing as it was quite bony and fishy. In this dish a vibrant sauce would help it a lot. On the other hand the Grilled Cod Fish Saikyo-miso flavored was excellent. From the sides I liked the Rolled egg omelet as it was so yummy and great palate-soother after all the fish we had.
Rolled omelet
From the deserts the Vanilla,Green tea and Yuzu ice creams were all excellent and the Sweet red bean with rice dumplings was revealing and not too sweet so I could slurp the entire bowl with ease.
Drinks: You can drink wine, yet sake is impeccable here. The selection is as wide as a wine list at a Michelin-stared restaurant. We chose two magnums of Manjyu Kubota sake. It was so delicate, perfectly balanced and palate friendly sake that five of us drunk it like fish jumping into a well in an African desert. Manju  means “Ten Thousand Years Life” in Japanese and it is the highest quality sake among the brand (Kubota in this case).  My japanese friend also disclosed that it’s produced by Asahi-Shuzo Sake Brewing Co., Ltd., which was established in 1830. Well, it is an old company, even older than many wineries in Europe!
A magnum of Majyu Kubota sake
Cusine: Japanese traditional.
Visit: October 2012.
Price: High (high quality ingredients for Japanese cuisine are always expensive).
Address: 19/F, Paliburg Plaza, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Contact: Tel: +(852) 2577 3669
Reservations are possible only for these of you coming along with at least one member of the club.

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