My post holiday vegan diet has been the bane of my social life this month. I never imagined how much of a turnoff it would be to friends who innocuously say “let’s get a drink.” When I respond gleefully suggesting a venue that serves herbal tea and raw foods, I suddenly find that all bets are off.

“How about coffee?” said a relative new acquaintance who I was trying to connect with.

“Er how about a smoothie?” I respond. “Pure Yoga has a great new juice bar called Nood Food.”

“Why don’t we plan to meet when you are pure and wholesome again.”

What and start tumbling head first downhill again from the day after my month of veggification?

“Please start drinking,” she texts. “It’s so much easier to get to know someone over a glass of wine.”

Whatever happened to our latent cellular memory of our hunter-gatherer dietary habits? Why aren’t more people drawn by the appeal of fruit and veggies? Or is that way too judgmental a question?

As I have been traversing the green lunch paths with non green friends, I find there are simply not enough vegan food options at regular restaurants in Hong Kong. Everywhere you go, the menus reek of every kind of meat prepared in every style imaginable. Vegetarian options almost always include cheese. Add to this the fact that you are trying to stay steer clear of grains and you are more than likely doomed.

Of course, there are great green cuisine places in the city — Grass Roots Pantry, Mana and Life Cafe to name a few but I find that my lunch dates don’t always want to be ‘subjected’ to ‘healthy cuisine’ (read my eyes rolling here).

But I know there are some others like me so when I do chance upon vegan finds in non-vegan food spots, I wanted to be sure to share them.

So I took a stroll down Wanchai and discovered 22 Ships.

22 Ships

22 Ships

As trendy as it is delicious, this is probably the most hip and happening tapas bar in Wanchai, heck maybe even in the entire city. It irks me that having known about this place for some time, it completely slipped my mind when hubby and I were seized by a craving for Spanish tapas a couple of months ago.

The vegetarian menu is not extensive but you can get a cruciferous fix with an order of roasted cauliflower, capers, raisins and mint. Or try a portion of pardon peppers with garlic and green chili. Top that off with a dessert of Thai green apple, peanut and compressed celery, and you’ve got yourself a vegan feast. One that doesn’t cause you to pass out.

I have to say that when I am back to my regular eating habits next month, I will head back there to satisfy my curiosity for other tapas that I couldn’t indulge in this time around – the Spanish breakfast, beetroot cured salmon, Brittany oysters with ginger and lime relish, and the scallops ceviche with apples, walnuts and yuzu.

Hmm…. not sure about getting to know someone over a glass of wine but when it comes to getting to know these tapas over a glass of Fantinel Pinot Grigio….well that’s another story!