Healthy = vegetables, right? But HKD$100 for a tiny plate of raw leaves? No thank you. Money is quality when it comes to eating salad greens in Hong Kong. If you don’t want a stomach full of pesticides after your meal, you’re going to have to pay for imported veggies – and that can get expensive fast. I love eating salads, but I definitely don’t love dishing out mounds of cash in overpriced restaurants. Luckily, God has answered my prayers. Enter Papa Deli, a cheap healthy eating spot in North Point I recently stumbled across.
Papa Deli serves #cleaneats at Hong Kong cha chan teng prices all day – think $30 for a huge bowl of salad with a generous amount of toppings including a drink. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a vegetable-lover yet, though. To cater to the locals, they don’t only offer greens. Their menu extends to mixed rice dishes, clear soup noodles and healthier versions of fast food, such as burgers. And yes, this is all within a price range of $60 including a drink!
The brightly lit interior of Papa Deli instantly differentiates it from the rows of dull, local eateries on grimy Tsat Tsz Mui Road. Although essentially a Hong Kong-style restaurant itself, it stands out with its clean design and colourful furnishings, both of which helpfully hints to its menu of healthy options.
Papa Deli is dressed in a natural colour scheme not unlike OVOCafé and Grassroots Pantry. And just in case the customer forgets they’re being served healthy meals, there’s a large (fake) tree that screams “organic!” plonked right in the middle of the restaurant.
Rows of seats line the space to accommodate the influx of office workers that spill in during lunch time on Mondays to Fridays. On weekends, in exchange of workers in black suits, Papa Deli is filled with families who live in the neighbourhood. Getting these empty shots of the restaurant for your reference was hard work!
My companion and I went during tea time. We ordered two sets, a Western-style Potato Salad and Tomato Soup Macaroni tea set and a Japanese Tofu Salad lunch set. Both came with cha chan teng-style drinks. Though cheap, the portions were huge. The potato salad was enough to fill a grown man’s belly and my Japanese Tofu Salad came with large helpings of pumpkin, quinoa, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and a slice of garlic bread. You definitely won’t leave Papa Deli unsatisfied.
However, there’s one thing to note: don’t expect authentic western salads here if you’re not from around. The Western-style Potato Salad, as you can see, is anything but western-style. The same goes for the Apple Fruit Salad that I also tried out during a second visit. Both of those options are smeared with mayonnaise, which is a typical Hong Kong way of serving salads.
Unlike Central and Sheung Wan, North Point is not really a place to go if you’re looking for a salad. The demographic is different. It’s more of a local neighbourhood. For those who work in the area and crave something other than rice or noodles for lunch, though, Papa Deli is a life saver.
The budget-friendly prices may make you wonder about the quality and flavour of the salads, but I’d say that even if you’re worried about the origin of the ingredients, once in a while is definitely okay. I myself found my bowl of greens delicious. If you’re not accustomed to local food, Papa Deli may not be for you, but I highly recommend you to give it a go before judging.
G/F, 14-16 Tsat Tsz Mui Road, North Point, Hong Kong
+852 3709 2875
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