Even though we all live and breathe on this blue planet, why do some go to bed hungry while others suffer from obesity?
To put this phenomenon into context, almost 1 billion (yes, with a ‘b’) people face hunger every day, when 1.5 billion others are eating too much. You may think that increasing food production can solve the problem of hunger. Food is obviously vital. However, distribution is key. Increasing the size of the pie means nothing to those who are not even allowed near the table.
Why don’t we transfer excess calories from our plates to a hungry child’s plate? How do we do that?
To encourage those in developed world to eat healthily, while feeding hungry children, Table for Two was founded in Japan in 2007 to help address food imbalance. More than 14 million TFT-branded meals have been sold in partnership with restaurants globally since, from which HK$2 is donated towards school lunches in countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and China.
There is now a Hong Kong chapter, and to celebrate the glorious summer, the lovely team behind TFT is bringing us ‘Healthy Summer Dining Experience’ (HSDE) for the month of August with 9 partnering restaurants/bars. I was very honoured to be invited along for a restuarant crawl for a preview of 6 of the 9 venues with the team on Saturday, which coincided with the first blue sky since Typhoon Vincente hit earlier in the week.
1) Grassroot Pantry
As I sadly missed the first stop at The Genie Concept (please see Janice and Ale‘s write up on the pineapple and kale juice), I arrived a little bit earlier than the rest of the group at Grassroots Pantry and had a little chat with the darling chef Peggy Chan. A vegetarian herself, this is her outlet to make a change in the food industry. Everything is homemade from scratch in house, and all ingredients are local, organic and sustainable produce sourced from local farms (Zen Organic Farm is a favourite). Can’t have a more perfect partner for healthy eating!
The hand-drawn menu not only shows you what the quinoa salad looks like, but also with a brief explanation of the ingredients. Look out for the TFT sign which indicates HK$2 from each salad will go towards funding school lunches in Africa and China!
Quinoa, dubbed the ‘king of grains’ for its nutritional values, provides complete protein which makes it a staple for vegetarians and vegans alike. This salad is filled with boiled red quinoa (slightly lower fat and higher in fibre content than white quinoa), drizzled with orange hazelnut dressing. You can also find dried figs and cranberries hidden among the greens and browns which bring a natural sweetness to the dish. Perfect for a hot summer afternoon.
Add: 12 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Tel: 2873 3353
2) Light Radiant Food
Perched on the steep Eastern Street is Light Radiant Food, a popular vegetarian restaurant. Hidden behind 2 giant potted plants, it is unpretentious and welcoming, just like its owner and long-time Lamma resident Stephanie Ng. Blessed with high ceiling and airy decor, this is an escape from the hustle and bustle right outside the doorstep.
Her philosophy is simple. She wants everyone to come in, taste her food, and feel better when they leave. Someone who believes in the power of food that is good for you, not just tastes good.
This vegetarian burger rivals any beefy version I have tried. The salad was fresh and a great complement to the burger, on homemade wheat bun (love the slightly-dry texture) and the black bean patty (with bell peppers and spices) that came with a crispy edge was so moist and flavourful. Not to mention the handmade pickled Chinese zucchini. This instantly wowed and won us carnivores over.
Light Radiant Food
Add: 1 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong (entrance on Eastern Street)
Tel: +852 2559 9098
3) Mana! Fast Slow Food
Mana! has already become one of my favourite pit stop in Central for a quick healthy bite. They are also on board with their signature platter to support TFT this summer.
Filled to the rim with hummus, baba ghanouj, black & green olives, freen salad and the famous classic flats topped with zaatar, it has everything that I love about the Mediterranean, but a healthy version.
Mana! Fast Slow Food
Add: 92 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2851 1611
This quaint and cute cafe / zakka / lifestyle shop all under one roof was masterminded by the equally adorable Nana. I was so glad that our restaurant crawl includes this as our dessert stop as I tried to visit a month ago but it was closed.
In line with its philosophy to love our community, Teakha is supporting TFT with its lemon tart with ginger crust. There is something about citrus scent/taste and summer. The two are just match made in heaven.
The lemon cream is light and just sweet enough, with the distinct refreshing scent of lemon. But the highlight has to be the crust. I have always loved ginger, be it Chinese or Western, savoury or sweet. This gingersnap crust was gingery and spicey in the best way possible. Definitely coming back to chill out on a sunny weekend afternoon.
Add: Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2858 9185
5) The Flying Wine Maker
The Flying Wine Maker is the only wine bar participating in HSDE this summer. On the corner of Wyndham and D’Aguilar, it was the perfect location for a glass or two to kick start your evening out. Owner / winemaker Eddie McDougall has kindly offered his Australian 2010 Cabernet Merlot as the TFT wine of choice.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are amongst the most popular red wine varieties throughout the world. When blended together, they form a classic
combination that is identified by breeding and distinction. Dubbed ‘the perfect mellow red’, it is a medium-bodied yet robustly flavoured red. I love its incredible intense blackcurrant aromas with a full rich ripe palate of berries and plums.
Unfortunately we did not have enough time to sample all the partnering restaurants for this campaign, but please check out the full list including Veggie SF, Fofo by El Wily, and Pure Bar + Restaurant.
Order for one, feed two, and help the world eat better.