Thursday, 14 March 2013

Fact of the Day: Hong Kong Loves Meat

Here's an interesting fact I came across today in the newspaper:

Hong Kongers are the biggest meat eaters in the world, according to the founders of Green Monday, a non-profit social enterprise that encourages a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Hong Kong has more meat eaters per capita consumption per year than anywhere in the world, reports the United States' Department of Agriculture's 2011 lifestock and poultry trade forecast.

Ruminants -- mammals such as cattle and sheep that rechew partly digested food returned from their stomachs -- produce huge quantities of methane gas when they feed.

In a daily digestive process, one cow can produce between 100 litres to 500 litres of methane gas -- comparable to the daily pollution created by a car.

"If everyone in Hong Kong would give up meat for only one day a week for one year, it would be like taking 86,000 cars off the road," says Green Monday's co-founder Francis Ngai who has been a vegetarian for four years.

This explains the non-stop openings of steakhouses in Hong Kong or restaurants putting more steaks on the menu.

But why do Hong Kong people need to eat so much meat?!

As it is Hong Kong has one of the worst carbon footprints in the world and on top of that more meat.

This city must be the most unsustainable one on the planet!
People checking out the farmer's market set up on Sundays at the Star Ferry

On the other hand on Sunday I happened to take the Star Ferry and was intrigued by the mini farmer's market set up by the ferry terminal. The tables set up in a square have all kinds of vegetables from kale and cabbage to potatoes, yam, tomatoes and cucumber. Did I really see rhubarb there? I will have to look again. Many of them were organic, and it was nice to see people keen to look at the produce and also specifically come down to buy it.

There are other farmer's markets around town and we hope people's awareness will prove demand for locally-grown food will increase. Chefs at top restaurants around town are starting to specifically source local vegetables and fruits, and it's only a matter of time before more locals do the same.

And hopefully -- and that's a big hope -- the government will finally realize Hong Kong really needs to grow its own food not just for food security, but for our health and future.


  1. I find it really hard to believe that Hong Kongers are the biggest meat eaters in a world which also includes Americans, Australians, Germans, etc. I wonder how the USDA got its stats...

  2. There are a lot of steakhouses in Hong Kong and restaurants that serve steak. Hong Kong people also eat a lot of processed meat especially for breakfast and soups mostly have some kind of pork in there for flavour. There are also lots of mainlanders who come here not knowing what to order in western restaurants and settle for steak. I wouldn't be surprised if Hong Kong was one of the highest consumers of foie gras too!