Going vegan isn’t easy, but if you’ve been wondering whether it’s even possible in Hong Kong, there’s no better time than World Vegan Month (every year in November) to learn more about it.
We spoke with our newest contributor and long-time vegan, Liying Lim, to find out how she personally decided to go vegan and her tips on how to get started in Hong Kong:
When did you go vegan and why?
I initially cut out meat in university because I wanted to lose weight. It was a very unconscious decision, and I actually developed anorexia and various other eating disorders because of it.
I eventually saw a nutritionist but she didn’t understand the basis of my anorexia, and had given me hormonal medications that exacerbated the condition. With so much noise in the health industry, I started to do more research on what I could do to heal myself and find peace with my plate.
While I was getting hypnotherapy treatments during my recovery, I discovered a nutritionist called Kimberly Snyder and veganism really began to explode over YouTube. For me, I was able to go vegan once and for all after I exposed myself to the knowledge of what was really happening in the dairy and meat industries. I have no regrets and will never go back to eating meat and dairy, ever.
What do you miss the most, if anything?
I did find it a bit hard to give up on my yoghurt and milk, and occasionally eggs, but not meat in particular!
Did you encounter any difficulties, such as from your family/friends?
I have definitely seen all sorts throughout the years I’ve been vegan! My mum spent years understanding my diet and lifestyle, but after almost six years, she is now beginning to really cut down on meat and also happy to experiment with vegan dishes whenever I am home. My dad has converted to vegetarianism, but my friends and family are mostly not vegan. Luckily, I have great friends who are totally accepting of my diet.
How hard is it to be vegan in Hong Kong?
When I first moved here three years ago, it was tough. I remember craving for healthy vegan food and not the greasy Chinese vegetarian fare that is prevalent here. Flash forward to now, and you can get so many more options made with love! I think a lot of credit has to be given to Green Monday for really pushing the envelope here, and also, a heightening global awareness. Nothing speaks louder than consumer demand!
What are your usual vegan haunts in HK?
100 percent, Confusion! I like that they have a daily rotating menu, but some of my favourites are the Mexican Poke bowl, tofu steak set, and Indonesian curry… (the list goes on and on). Another favourite is Ahimsa in Fortress Hill. Nothing beats great service – and these two places really tick the boxes. Also, if I might give a special mention to Mimi2Go – it’s a Korean restaurant that is not 100 percent vegan, but they definitely have great options for vegans and gluten-free people!
Any favourite vegan cafes/restaurants elsewhere in the world?
How do you suggest someone gets started with going vegan?
First of all, eliminate all preconceptions of what veganism is and how “difficult” it is. There will be lots of people out there telling you it’s impossible, so you have to first and foremost know why you’re doing it and believe that you want and can do it!
Remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself and everyone else – it’s okay to take it slow, to fudge up sometimes, and for others not to understand what you are going through. Just remember that this is your journey, and you can do it your own way.
What are some great resources on veganism that you’d recommend?
What other social causes are you passionate about?
Mental health awareness and eating disorder recovery. I truly believe that deep programming of our minds is the root cause of many unhappiness in our lives. Shame, disrespect and fear – all these things should be given more light instead of being seen as a stigma in society.
Follow Liying on Instagram @liyingscribbles and look out for her future articles on Healthy HKG!