Mm Goi, One Tasty Meal That Helps The Community Please!
Mm goi, one tasty meal that helps the community please! These purpose-driven Hong Kong eateries have one goal in common: they serve yummy food while giving back. Here are 6 restaurants where you can fill your stomachs and fill your heart.
Operated by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals charity, iBakery Gallery Café promotes well-being in society by employing and training adults with special needs to make its quality baked goods and meals. The bakery in Admiralty is known for its various matcha (green tea) treats. Though mostly untrained, the kitchen staff of iBakery were trained by Hyatt Regency Kyoto pastry chef Yasuda Shunji and are always adding to their repertoire: they have recently rolled out a matcha roll cake, hojicha pound cake and matcha biscotti, all of which can also be found at iBakery’s network of shops, express counters and pop-up stores. The Admiralty store is the only outlet serving main dishes like roasted spring chicken with seasonal vegetables and Thai curry sauce (HKD108; approximately USD14). With the support of iBakery, their staff has also gone on to win a medal at the Abilympics 2016, a movement that covers a wide spectrum of work-skill activities that support the employment of people with disabilities.
2. Café Fusion
Through the provision of nutritious Chinese and Western foods, this café in Tuen Mun provides employment and internship opportunities for the disadvantaged so they can be equipped to “contribute to society”. In operation since July 2007, the restaurant and catering company serves lunch sets with dishes like: cold noodles with shredded chicken and mango yogurt sauce (HKD45; approximately USD6); stir-fried bitter melon with beef and rice (HKD40; approximately USD5) and; baked chicken steak fried rice in tomato sauce (HKD49; approximately USD6). The space’s tall, full-length windows allow natural light to fill the space – better for us to take in the healthy yet fun dishes.
3. Happy Veggies (Link is Chinese only)
Vegetarian restaurant, Happy Veggies, has five rules: less salt, less sugar, less oil, no monosodium glutamate (MSG), and no artificial ingredients. The three-outlet restaurant (in Wan Chai, Kowloon and New Territories) provides healthy meatless cuisine while employing the older unemployed as well as the hearing-impaired. Happy Veggie’s goal is to equip and improve the skills of these disadvantaged so that they can be self-reliant and can integrate more effectively into the bigger community. The chain serves typically Cantonese lunch set meals – cloud ear fungus with steamed tofu; deep-fried lotus roots; and mapo tofu – with options for brown rice and soup for HKD48 (approximately USD6) and dinner menus for groups of up to 12 persons (at the New Territories branch only) for HKD1,580 (approximately USD204).
4. Café 8
This kid-friendly rooftop café at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum is the museum’s collaboration with non-profit organisation, The Nesbitt Centre. The café is where Nesbitt Centre’s graduates with learning disabilities learn and develop workplace and social skills, build confidence and self-esteem, and feel a sense of inclusion. The menu of this bright, white-and-aqua-hued space is equally inclusive: it serves Western bites like salads, wraps, open sandwiches and pastries, a set lunch (HKD98; approximately USD12), an afternoon tea set platter (HKD58; approximately USD7) 6pm, a children’s platter (HKD58; approximately USD7), and dairy-free ice-cream (HKD40; approximately USD5). On warmer days, opt to sit outside, under the navy blue umbrellas where you can enjoy views of the Hong Kong Observation Wheel and gaze across the water at East Tsim Sha Tsui’s skyscrapers. Make sure you tap into the café’s free wifi to tell everyone about this hidden gem. This café is also featured in ‘From Shanghai to Siem Reap: 5 Restaurants With a Conscience Across Asia.’
This social enterprise eatery’s location at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence in Lei Yue Mun Fort should explain its maritime-inspired decoration. The homestyled Hong Kong and Western dishes, as well as homemade cookies, are made and served by a team of disabled employees – an arrangement that the café sees as a “win-win situation, meaningful for the community”: guests get to eat vibrant, flavourful dishes while job are created for this marginalized community. The tucked-away location of the patio-equipped Café makes it an ideal place to read a book while tucking in to dishes like pasta with sliced sausages, bacon carbonara and sandwiches – served in a vessel shaped like a boat, no less.
Coffee lovers listen up! Cafe 330 serves a mean cup of joe with instagrammable latte art that could rival any artisanal cafe. The social enterprise also trains and employs the "ex-mentally ill", helping those who have overcome mental illness to get a viable skill set, regain their sense of purpose, and reintegrate into society. The cafe's good menu includes self-grown organic veggies and fair trade products whipped up into healthy recipes using no MSG. The restaurant has three outlets. The University of Hong Kong - Room 203, 2/F., Chong Yuet Ming Amenities Centre, the University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, HK; The Chinese University of Hong Kong -101A, 1/F, Yasumoto International Academic Park, the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Prince of Wales Hospital -Level 1, Main Clinical Block & Trauma Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing Street, Shatin.
Interested in socially conscious living in Asia? Check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.
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