#culture /dining


The best French-fry alternatives in Hong Kong

Nov 02, 2017

Fries are delicious, but we found some tasty, healthy alternatives

Life is hard, that’s a fact, and there’s no getting around it. Taxes, deadlines, dating, traffic – it’s all unavoidable, and it’s all kind of terrible. Thankfully, this world has a few saving graces that make living worthwhile, namely the French fry.

Also known as ‘chips’ or, if you happen to be stuck in a 2001 time-loop – ‘Freedom fries— these humble batons of deep-fried potato goodness are the eternal solution to all of life’s woes. That is, of course, until you remember they’re laden with empty calories and saturated fats. Which brings us back to square one: life is hard.

But what if you could have the delicious, satisfying crunch of a fry, without the guilt? No, this isn’t a far-fetched fantasy – it’s an easily within reach reality. Here are our favourite guilt-free, healthy (ish) French-fry substitutes.

Lotus Root Chips

The lotus root chips and vegan 'Beyond Burger' at Grassroots Pantry

It’s a pretty good rule to live by in Hong Kong that if you want something healthy, you go to Grassroots Pantry. The homey-vegetable-forward restaurant is out to prove that nutritious food can taste good too. Check out their crispy Lotus Root Chips, served with Yunnan cashew ham and truffle mayo, as a French fry-substitute. They’re served alongside their limited edition Beyond Burger, and only available through the end of January. If you’re in the Wan Chai neighbourhood, Bread & Beast also serve amazing lotus root chips with a fu yue aoli and spring onions.

Grassroots Pantry, 108 Hollywood Road, Central 2873 3353 www.grassrootspantry.com

Bread & Beast, 3 Swatow Street, Wan Chai 2237 1868 www.breadandbeasthk.com

Check out our interactive map of all the places to get a Beyond Burger here.

Kale Chips

Freshly baked kale chips from Nood Food

Another rule to live by is this: if you’re craving potatoes, kale is not a decent substitute. But rules were meant to be broken, which is why we’re throwing Nood Food’s kale chips in here. The Krispy Tomato Cheeze-flavoured bites may not hit that exact french-fry spot, but they have a good crunch and are surprisingly moreish. They’re dairy-free and guilt free, and a great pick-me-up after a session at Pure (or a few too many steak dinners).

Nood Food (various locations) www.allnood.com

Zucchini Fries

The Zucchini Fritti at Osteria Marzia

Osteria Marzia, one of Hong Kong’s newest restaurants, whips of the elevated French fry substitute of your dreams: Zucchini Fritti (aka zucchini fries). They come to the table dry and crispy with just the thinnest coating of batter. For a heartier version, head to SoHo’s Posto Pubblico, where they come with nduja aioli. True, they are battered (and fried), but zucchini is a solid source of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and B-vitamins, so they make the cut. Both portions are meant to be shared, but we won’t blame you if you take them all for yourself.

Osteria Marzia, G/F Fleming Hotel, 41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai 
3607 2253 www.osteriamarzia.com.hk  

Posto Pubblico, 28 Elgin Street, Central 2577 7160 www.postopubblico.com

Check out our exclusive first dinner at Osteria Marzia here.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries will always be the best kind of fries

No ‘healthy’ French fry list would be complete without a shout out to sweet potato fries, the trendy-hipster cousin of the regular variety. Though they are often deep fried, chips made from sweet potatoes are lower in calories and higher in a number of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron. Also, they’re just delicious. When at all possible, you should order them. If you like them classic, head to Beef & Liberty or Honbo, a great new and independently owned classic burger shop (it’s actually owned by a doctor, so it has to be healthy(ish) right?). Maison Libanaise is the place to go for substantial roasted wedges served with a mix of chilli, fennel, lime and toum. Finally, if you’ve got a sweet-tooth you can’t go wrong with Morton’s The Steakhouse’s Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Fries, an ode to America if we ever saw one.

Beef & Liberty, 3/F California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Central 2450 5778 
www.beef-liberty.com/hk

Honbo, 6-7 Sun Street, Wan Chai 2567 8970 www.honbo.com

Maison Libanaise, G/F 10 Shelley Street, Central 2111 2284 www.maisonlibanaise.com.hk

Morton’s The Steakhouse, 4/F The Sheraton Hotel & Towers, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui  2732 2343 www.mortons.com/hongkong

Pita Chips

Pita chips are a healthy (ish) replacement for regular fries

Okay, this one is kind of a stretch.  Pita bread is still bread, so it’s not the healthiest option out there, but if you don’t get it deep-fried, it’s still better than chips!  Maison Libanaise makes the ‘healthy french-fry alternative’ cut twice for their pita, which is baked fresh daily. Also, pita tends to be low in fat, rich in fibre and contain minerals like thiamine and riboflavin, so pita it up!

Maison Libanaise, G/F 10 Shelley Street, Central 2111 2284 www.maisonlibanaise.com.hk


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Sarah Engstrand