When was the last time you stepped into a restaurant and thought, “I feel good about dining here because this place does so much good for the community”? Waste-free restaurants are slowly gaining traction in Hong Kong which is a great start to sustainable business practices and is certainly an applaudable initiative. However, being socially responsible should be as much about giving back to the community as it is about cutting down on waste, and the former seems to be seriously lagging behind in the Hong Kong food and beverage scene.
You’ll be surprised though, that some of the pioneers in this realm in Hong Kong that truly does philanthropy right are not restaurants with enormous financial backing or big names operating at a large scale, but very local restaurants with owners that have little more than a strong desire to help the needy. That said, there are a few larger scale restaurants that are doing a pretty darn good job too in this aspect so stay tuned for part 2.
1. New Jinshan Roast Meat Restaurant (新金山真好味燒味)
Photo credit: bastillepost
Keung, owner of New Jinshan, started this charitable endeavor after witnessing the plight of the 2008 financial crisis. As a former hugely successful entrepreneur that ran 24 roast meat restaurants in Taiwan before it all collapsed during the 1997 financial crisis, Keung had natural empathy for those who had lost everything after the predicament. He thus decided to start serving $11 roast pork rice with double-boiled soup which still only costs $14 today, despite the insane raises in rent and food costs. For every box of rice and soup Keung loses $2, and his business is only made sustainable by also running a roast meat factory on the side that supplies other tea restaurants in Hong Kong. He also collaborates with various charity organizations to provide free meals to the homeless and grassroots community within the district.
New Jinshan roast meat restaurant
G/F, 104A Kansu Street, Yau Ma Tei
2. Pei Ho Barbeque Restaurant (北河燒臘飯店)
Photo credit: Our Voice HKSYU
Pei Ho gained local fame in 2011 when owner Ming started working with a charity organization in Hong Kong distributing free rice boxes to the needy in Sham Shui Po. What used to be a monthly event has now evolved into a weekly event that involves giving out at least 100 free meals every time. Pei Ho is also known for the extremely modest pricing of their rice sets, which each include three dishes for the price of $22 and has not been raised for years.
Pei Ho barbeque restaurant
G/F, 54 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po
3. Ji Long Tea Restaurant (基隆茶餐廳)
Photo credit: Yahoo News
Ji Long started off as a supporter of the Street Sleepers Action Committee and provided free meals to the homeless referred to her by the organization. Starting from around three years ago, owner Ms. Cao discovered the alarming situation of children in Hong Kong struggling to meet nutritional needs, and started also supporting children and family support groups catered for the low income population. She now provides 30 nutritional meals to children from these groups daily at $12 each and sometimes even free if need be.
Ji Long tea restaurant
24 Boundary St, Mong Kok
Are there other local eateries giving back to the community that we should know of? Let us know in the comments section below!