David Yeung is the founder of “Green Monday”, the Hong Kong-wide campaign that has worked tirelessly to promote vegetarian options in more than 1,000 restaurants all over the city. He’s also the founder of Green Common, the health food store that just launched a massive outlet in Central in collaboration with Ovo Cafe. He talks to Liv Magazine about why we need to believe in the power of plants.
Green Monday is an entry point for anyone looking to establish a green lifestyle. Everyone should try being a vegetarian at least one day a week.
We chose Monday because it’s the start of the week, a perfect time to begin a new resolution.
Many people’s awareness of green issues is still stuck in the 1990s, when it was just about saving paper, wasting less water and using less electricity.
I have been a vegetarian for 15 years, and it is all because of my love and compassion for animals.
My father actually became a vegetarian before I did, so the whole family was very supportive.
In Hong Kong, people are discouraged from a plant-based lifestyle because of a lack of choice, convenience and taste.
There’s a misconception that plant-based means inferior nutrition. They often have no idea about how to cook vegetarian meals at home. They think vegetarian meals mean only vegetables and salads.
In three-and-a-half years, Green Monday has considerably boosted interest in vegetarianism in the city. More than 1,000 restaurants now offer vegetarian options on Mondays. The scheme has also been well received by schools, covering 800 schools and reaching 600,000 students.
My proudest moment is seeing people’s behaviour change as a result of Green Monday. After our efforts, 23 percent of Hongkongers and more than 40 percent of school kids go for a green diet at least one day a week. It makes me so happy when my friends come to me and say they are practicing Green Monday.
As an international commercial city, I hope that corporations in Hong Kong can take on more social responsibilities, and that consumers can act and live more consciously. I also want Hong Kong to be more bike-friendly.
On a typical weekend, apart from writing, I save the rest of the time for my family. I take my daughters to the park, meet friends and relatives, and just enjoy family time. I also save a little bit of time for exercise, especially now that autumn is here. Hiking is always a favourite activity.
Grassroots Pantry is my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong. I always love their fresh and innovative dishes, and my favourite dish is the signature mixed mushroom linguine.
But sometimes I still have cravings for instant noodles. It’s clearly not healthy
but I just can’t resist for some reason!
Green Common X Ovo Cafe, Shop 1, L/1, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, 2263-3153, greencommon.com.