SocialVegans love MEET
I follow a vegan diet and I experience first-hand the difficulties faced by my fellow vegan eater friends in Hong Kong - lack of dining options, stress of going to non-vegan restaurants, guilt of objecting to non-vegan restaurant suggestions by your friends, and many others.
Our mission is to help vegan eaters enjoy their social life while staying true to their diet, whether or not for religious, animal rights, environmental, health or other reasons. If you follow a vegan diet, you should not be judged for your choice of diet, and you should not be excluded from the social scene just because of your dietary preference. There is nothing to be ashamed of and you should not feel guilty for having to order something different from the rest of your friends. It is just like you choosing Lunch Set A vs someone choosing Lunch Set B. We are trying here to ensure that Lunch Set A actually exists.
We also hope that by including vegan options in more menus, this can raise awareness of vegan diet and make it easier for people to switch over if they so wish. No one is forcing a diet on anyone but everyone should at least be given the option.
If you follow a vegan diet like myself, you may have the same observation about the dining scene in Hong Kong:
Most eateries in Hong Kong do not offer vegan options and even for the very few that do, there is no clear indication on the menu which items are vegan. A lot of menu items contain dairy products and eggs even though the name of the dish looks like it is vegan.
Most eateries in Hong Kong do not have adequate understanding as to what vegan diet means.
Most people in Hong Kong go out to eat in non-vegetarian/non-vegan eateries and it is quite unlikely that a big group gathering will be hosted at a vegan restaurant.
This means that if you choose to adopt a vegan diet at all times or at least most of the times (as a vegan/flexitarian/someone with a plant-based diet, etc. whatever the label is. Let’s not get into the nitty-gritty details of vegan vocabulary!), you will likely face the below difficulties:
You may get rejected outright if you try to ask about vegan options in advance by calling or checking with the staff at the entrance of the eateries. If you are with a group of friends or colleagues when you are at the entrance of the eateries, chances are you feel really guilty of holding everyone up and shaking your head to nine consecutive suggestions of non-vegan items.
You may have to eat noodles in fish or meat broth or navigate your way in a bowl of fried rice with eggs while trying not to look concerned because you do not want to upset other people.
You may be slightly (or very) stressed when you say yes to gatherings without first knowing where the group is going and scrutinising the menu in advance.
You may have to pay an outrageous price for a plain dull plate of pasta with plain tomato sauce that comes straight from the can.
You may have to explain to an eatery ten times your dietary requirements before they stop asking if you would like pork dumplings or seafood risotto.
You may still be turned down even if you ask for just a plain bowl of rice and a plate of stir fry vegetables because the staff at the restaurant do not know what to do with your order unless you are ordering a dish listed on the menu. This happens frequently during lunch hour as a lot of restaurants only offer lunch set options, which normally do not include vegan options.
SocialVegan is here to help. We want you to enjoy your social time just like everyone else. We want to take that burden off you, of having to call up restaurants and explaining your dietary requirements again and again. Simply put, we want to create a more vegan-friendly dining scene in Hong Kong so that everyone can be happy.