Students Go Vegan - Vegether, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Vegether is a vegetarian canteen located next to the swimming pool at the Benjamin Franklin Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Brimmed with natural light through its glassy walls, the restaurant offers students and teaching staff a broad view of scenery and a variety of high-quality vegetarian dishes at reasonable prices.

“I used to be a meat lover,” said Mr Varon SIU, the Manager of Vegether, “but I had an epiphany about five years ago. I’ve become a vegetarian ever since.” One and a half years ago, Varon heard about the tender invitation for a vegan restaurant at the CUHK. He decided to submit a tender with his friends, the co-owners of Luen Wo Vegetarian Restaurant in Fanling, and ended up winning the contract. They have been running the business together since then.

Tasty, Diverse Vegan Options at Affordable Prices
As most of the customers are university students, the menu prices are kept at a relatively low level to accommodate their limited spending power. The restaurant offers a wide range of food choices, including all-day breakfast, lunch set meals as well as light meals such as sandwiches, vegan burgers and vegan sushi. The dinner menu features stir-fried dishes and homemade delicacies. Vegan dishes in Indian and Thai styles are also available for pre-order. Among all the delicacies, vegan barbecued pork (char siu) and vegan lamb belly are the favourites of the teaching staff and students.

Making Every Effort to Promote Vegetarian Cuisine and Culture
Vegether prepares its dishes with less oil and salt and uses natural, fresh ingredients. An example is the vegetable broths, which are prepared with ingredients such as pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts. Apart from bringing out the flavours of the vegetables, the vegetable broths can be served as the soup of the day and used as the base for noodles and rice noodles. The restaurant also makes nourishing soups with seasonal ingredients (like chayotes, white gourds and lotus roots) as well as several healthy foods (such as corns, cloud ears, cowpeas and dates).

Vegether is committed to promoting veganism on campus. To encourage a greater intake of vegetables among students, it organises events with the Chinese Medicine Association and the Yoga Club of the CUHK. Varon believes that while there are more and more vegan options in Hong Kong, the media and the catering industry have to work hand in hand to promote vegan diets.

After going vegan a few years ago, Mr SIU happened to meet new friends who run a vegan restaurant business, and gained a deeper understanding of vegan issues. To establish veganism as a way of life, Mr SIU has been dedicated to participating in and promoting various projects in recent years.

Extract from CookSmart, Issue 27