5 Healthy Days in Hong Kong8 min read
Despite the world-class smog and the often greasy cuisine, Hong Kong is a very healthy place. Residents there are committed to exercise, and it’s fair to say that there are plenty of healthy food options; you just need to find them.
So, as we continue our series of healthy itineraries for world class destinations, let’s take a look at a healthier way to visit Hong Kong.
There are some things that are must-do’s when you’re in Hong Kong – the shopping is terrific, and you’ll have to ride the Central-Mid-Level escalators. And it would be unseemly to not find a tea house for afternoon tea. So, with those as givens, let’s look at the healthiest way to see Hong Kong.
- Breakfast: Head to Café O for fair trade coffee and/or a refreshing smoothie. Or maybe a flaxseed muffin? Also, heads up: At some point this week you need to try the staple of any Chinese breakfast – milk tea, which is a frothy combination of coffee and black tea.
- Workout: If you’ve flown in from the Western Hemisphere, you could probably use a good stretch. So check out the Pilates class schedule at Ruth Hogg’s RH+ Studio.
- Lunch: For a healthy lunch, head to VeggieSF, a quirky, crunchy San Francisco-theme vegetarian restaurant on Stanley street. Perhaps a Portobello burger?
- Mind/Body Balance: Walk off lunch in Hong Kong Park, a soothing patch of green in the middle of the busy Admiralty business district.
- Must-see attraction: In the middle of the park, you’ll find the Museum of Tea Ware, dedicated to Chinese tea drinking culture through the centuries. You can see the tea sets and tea pots used by the various Chinese Dynasties, as well as exhibits about the tea manufacturing process. And of course, you can grab a cup of tea.
- Dinner: Head to Yin Yang, where all the vegetables and herbs are organic – they grow their own – and they even grind their own flour. Go for the Yellow Earth Chicken – one of their signature entrees.
- Breakfast: Classified is one of Hong Kong’s power breakfast spots. Go for the egg white frittata with vegetables and tomato chutney.
- Workout: Boxing is a hip way to work out, and Muay Thai Boxing is even cooler than that. So let’s climb into the ring at Rush Muay Thai Studio in Wan Chai.
- Lunch: Try Ah Sin Vegetarian in Tsim Sha Tsui, a very popular lunch spot that offers vegan fare. There’s a Dim Sum counter on the ground floor, and the restaurant is upstairs.
- Must-see attraction: The Hong Kong Museum of History offers you a great glimpse at the city’s rich cultural heritage. And right next store is the Hong Kong Science Museum.
- Mind/Body Balance: Get your “om” on at the Plum Village Mindfulness Center. They offer meditation instructions in English and a one-hour group practice every weekday evening.
- Dinner: Yan Toh Heen at the InterContinental Hotel has partnered with Hong Kong Adventist Hospital to create a healthy menu specifically designed to prevent disease such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Using ingredients known to combat these conditions, Yan Toh Heen offers healthy versions of Cantonese classics.
- Breakfast: Okay, we’re cheating a bit here, but it’s hard to find a healthy breakfast in Hong Kong. So head to London import Pret-A-Manger, where there are some healthy options.
- Workout: Check the class schedule for one of the five Pure Fitness locations. Your best bet is a ViPR class, which puts you through “3D movement” to give you a simultaneous cardio and strength workout.
- Lunch: Right next door to Pure’s Soho location is a restaurant fittingly called Eat Right. Everything on the menu is calorie counted and all the ingredients are healthy. The portions aren’t too big – that helps that calorie count. Of course, it could leave you wanting more.
- Must-see Attraction: Let’s get away from the city. No, really – it’s not too far away. You can reach outlying islands like Lamma and Cheung Chau in 30 minutes on a ferry, and spend the afternoon taking a hike or swim.
- Mind/Body Balance: While we’re here, let’s relax on a beach.
- Dinner: There are so many choices in cosmopolitan Soho, including Nepalese, Australian, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and Mexican restaurants. How to decide? Well, we’re supposed to be healthy, so we’ll steer you towards the Life Café Organic Restaurant and Bar, where everything is made from scratch on the premises. And of course, if you want to cheat and go to one of Soho’s other great restaurants, we won’t tell.
- Breakfast: Let’s head back to Café O, this time in Sheung Wan, for the blueberry yogurt with muesli.
- Workout: Sign up for a class at Kosa Fitness & Health to get the blood flowing this morning.
- Lunch: Try Sinmei, a café hidden away in a commercial building in Sheung Wan. It’s one of the trendiest vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong.
- Mind/Body Balance: Head to the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan, the largest Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong. The temple is dedicated to the civil god Man Cheong and the martial god Kwan Tai. This is a chance to reconnect, and also to admire the traditional Chinese architecture.
- Must-see attraction: Hong Kong’s spectacular antiquing district begins right at the temple and runs the length of Hollywood Road. As you move back towards the Central District, the price and quality of the memorabilia and antiques rises.
- Dinner: Moving back towards the Wan Chai, we’ll investigate the traditional Chinese school of thought of food therapy. Head to Man Ho in the JW Marriott Hotel, where the chef believes that specific ingredients strengthen specific body organs. In other words, to strengthen your heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidneys, you’ll eat foods that are five different colors (red, yellow, green, black and white) and five different flavors (bitter, sour, salty, sweet and spicy).
- Breakfast: We’ll start the day at Organic Land, where you can grab a healthy breakfast for takeaway.
- Workout: For a traditional Ashtanga yoga class, join yogi Sri K. Pattabhi Jois at The Landmark Mandarin. Before the class begins, you can enjoy flavored water or hot ginger tea.
- Lunch: Grab a humongous salad at Dressed. They have every ingredient and topping you can imagine.
- Mind/Body Balance: Looking for a place to find serenity, we steer you to the Su Bong Zen Monastery in the Wan Chai District.
- Dinner: Try the salmon salad at La Brezza Café in the Tai Hang neighborhood. Delicious!
- Must-see attraction: After dinner, let’s close out your trip with A Symphony of Lights over Victoria Harbor, a nightly multimedia show that the Guinness Book of Records calls the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show.” It might not quite be “cultural” enough for some folks, but it’s a big bang way to end your visit.