It's summertime in Hong Kong, and with it comes the promise of rain and typhoons, tans and endless sweating. There's nothing like walking around looking like you've just taken a shower for the last hour to help you to come to your senses that maybe, just maybe, you should consider something a little more refreshing and lighter than that burger you were planning on having for lunch. Here are some dishes to try this summer in order to beat the heat (and that stomach into submission – that beach bod ain't gonna pitch up on its own!):
Beetroot and pomegranate salad at Beef & Liberty
We don't like boring salads, especially salads that are just leaves and nothing else. But we don't have to worry about that with Beef & Liberty's beetroot and pomegranate salad ($88). Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants galore, this red salad is made with beetroot, red endive, pomegranate and kale tossed in a tangy sherry vinaigrette, and it's one of a handful of new dishes from the #Leaves&Liberty campaign designed to increase green, vegetarian foods on B&L's menus.
23 Wing Fung St, Wanchai, 2811 3009 (see here for other branches)
Super green salad at Dan Ryan's Tai Koo
We announced late last month that Dan Ryan's is back on the island – and they've brought a revamped, greener menu with them. Though healthy stuff may not be what you love most about the all-American grill, we've tried and tested their new, ambitious super green salad ($188), which ticks all the right superfood boxes: baby spinach, quinoa, avocado, blueberries, pine nuts and juicy pears are present and accounted for. Your body (and your taste buds) will thank you.
Shop 311, 3/F, Phase 1, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo, 2845 4600
Moon Bear at HOME – Eat to Live
Eat good and do good is the motto of HOME – Eat to Live, and their newest dish does just that. In collaboration with Animals Asia, the healthy fast-casual restaurant has launched the Moon Bear ($80), an all-natural, nutrient-dense earth bowl with a base of black rice and black sesame, mushrooms, nutritional yeast, chilli flakes, onions and celery, topped with walnuts and plump cherry tomatoes for a whimsical look. It's great for a post-gym pick-me-up or a hearty, healthy lunch. On top of that wholesome feeling, each purchase guarantees one rescued moon bear's weekly fruits and veggies!
Shop G01 and 101, Nexxus Building, 77 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, 2777 4777
Wild rice with pomegranate seeds and pistachios at 3/3rds
For something refreshing and filling, look no further than 3/3rds. This Wong Chuk Hang café operates on a weekly rotating menu, and their wild rice with pomegranate seeds and pistachios (S: $60; L: $90) is always a welcome sight. Rich in flavour, vitamin C, potassium and fibre, with pistachios serving as protection against diabetes and hypertension, this dish does all things good for your body and mind. Another special shout-out goes to their chargrilled broccoli with garlic and chilli for being some of the best greens we've ever had. We feel rejuvenated just soaking up the sun amongst all the herbs and budding produce on their rooftop nursery.
22/F, Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street, Wong Chuk Hang, 3462 2951
BBQ popcorn 'chicken' at Grassroots Pantry
Don't be fooled; plant-based wholesome cooking pioneer Grassroots Pantry isn't serving meat on their new menu, but this guilt-free snack is just as good, if not better. An addition to their recently launched happy hour bites, the BBQ popcorn 'chicken' ($70) is made from fried hedgehog mushrooms tossed in a homemade BBQ sauce and coconut amino dressing, served with celery slaw and cashew ranch. For those uninitiated in this particular brand of mushroom, prepare to have your mind blown; it doesn't just cut and look like chicken, it also tastes almost entirely too similar to chicken, and it packs a plentiful punch of fibre and vitamins. A perfect umami-rich snack for those who can't give up meat quite yet but still want to feel good about indulging.
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2873 3353
Buckwheat pappardelle bolognese at Grassroots Pantry
Grassroots Pantry is doing such awe-inspiring, I-can't-believe-this-isn't-meat! things on their new menu that we just had to include them twice. Classic Italian techniques and flavours come together to form the buckwheat pappardelle bolognese ($168). Meat free and vegan friendly, shiitake mushrooms take the place of pancetta, the liberal shavings of 'cheese' on top are actually tree nuts and organic tomatoes from local farms create the roasted marinara base. Homemade pasta aside, buckwheat is one of the healthiest, nuttiest, most versatile whole grains on the market. Who says you can't have it be healthy and delicious?
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2873 3353