G/F, Shop D, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan HK
+852 2873 3353
If you are serious about clean and healthy eating, Grassroots Pantry is a saviour of sorts. With a focus on sustainable farming and slow food practices, the socially conscious eatery has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of Hong Kong’s most innovative and inspiring restaurants.
The success of Grassroots is no surprise given the young pioneering trailblazer at the helm. A visionary and vegetarian of almost 20 years, Peggy Chan has been deemed by many as a local food hero, using her restaurant as a platform to draw attention to a wider range of issues surrounding food sustainability and clean eating.
A passionate and diligent chef, Peggy started her career training at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa before making the rounds throughout kitchens in Montreal and Chang’an, China. After adding a degree in business and hospitality management from Switzerland to her resume, Peggy undertook front of house training at Four Seasons Hong Kong and The Peninsula Tokyo. Throughout the years, Peggy worked as everything from dishwasher to front-of-house – all to help realize her dream of opening her own restaurant.
What started as a small operation in 2012 in Sai Ying Pun, quickly outgrew itself as word of mouth spread. This led Peggy to relocate to a much larger space on Hollywood Road in late 2015. Inspired by Scandinavian minimalism, the new incarnation is adorned simply. Potted succulents and wooden utensils hang from the walls, exuding a distinct sense of calm and community.
That Grassroots focuses on plant-based cuisine is largely beside the point – both vegetarians and non-vegetarians have the restaurant on their permanent weekly rotation, and even devoted carnivores will tell you that a meal here is a splurge rather than a sacrifice.
Take the raw spicy ‘tuna’ hand roll, a textural flavour bomb with a raw ‘tuna’ pate to mimic the taste and texture of fish, amped up with dehydrated cauliflower rice; or the buckwheat pappardelle Bolognese which subs tofu for beef, featuring a tangle of wide vegan pasta tossed in a garam masala-infused sauce that’s as rich and satisfying as the real deal.
Other items from the satay skewers to the Indian tikka make clever use of hedgehog mushrooms to replicate the taste and texture of meat. Not a believer? Try the popcorn “chicken” which has fooled many a skeptic, served with a zippy coconut kefir sour cream. It’s the definition of a virtuous bar snack, pairing brilliantly with one of the certified organic, high quality liquors from the selection of “Grassroots Twists” cocktails.
Each dish is thoughtfully prepared and meticulously sourced from local suppliers, with an assortment of heritage grains, organic produce and whole foods composing the bulk of the menu. While the food is undeniably delicious, the restaurant’s mission of eco-conscious eating extends far beyond the scope of its own kitchen.
Started from small beginnings with a powerful and persuasive agenda, Peggy Chan has sparked a conversation that has since reverberated throughout Hong Kong’s culinary ecosystem, a ‘Grassroots’ movement – if you will – that continues to incite change through the power of food and knowledge.