Eat your food raw for a healthier lifestyle!

Eat your food raw for a healthier lifestyle!

An urban farm in Causeway Bay is encouraging people to cook less to enjoy food more. YP cadet Andrea Zoen went for a raw lunch to taste the difference for herself

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Chef Gee Wong explains the benefits of raw food.
Photo: Living Lee Gardens

Have you ever tried raw food?" our guide asked as she led us to the roof of Hysan Place in Causeway Bay. We didn't know how to answer - wasn't raw food just uncooked? We'd eaten salads before - did that count?

Raw food is much more than just not cooking your meals, as we found out at the Our Farm to Table luncheon at Hysan Place Urban Farm.

In the middle of the rows of plants and crops, it was hard to believe we were in the heart of Causeway Bay.

The project is part of the new Living Lee Gardens installation. A set lunch is served in the middle of the urban farm: a rooftop garden with an array of vegetable and herb plots.

Farm to Table focuses on serving healthy, raw, vegan food. The mastermind behind this idea is Gee Wong, a 29-year-old chef whose wants to promote healthy eating by using her culinary skills and innovative ideas.

The four-course lunch starts with a refreshing pineapple cucumber gazpacho and ends with a rich orange chocolate cake. Everything served is raw and vegan, so it was surprising how delicious these dishes were.

Raw food is delicious and healthy.
Photo: Living Lee Gardens

Raw food involves either no cooking, or cooking below 42 degrees Celsius, and is popular because of its health benefits. Gee sat down with us after the meal to answer some of our questions about the whys and hows of a raw food diet.

The chef told us that raw food and veganism can help both your own personal health, and the environment around you. "Raw foods contain more enzymes in comparison to cooked food," Gee explains, "so are also known as 'living food.'

As they are more nutritional, they help strengthen your immune system and take less time to digest."

But Gee says the benefits aren't just inside your body. "Raw food can also make your eyes and skin appear more vibrant and can help with disease and illness," she says.

But the movement is about more than just improving health, it's also about environmentalism.

"Vegan food helps save the environment because the cooking methods I use don't use as much energy compared to normal cooking appliances," Gee explains.

"We use vegetables that are in season and grown nearby to minimise our carbon footprint."

To know what's in season, Gee visits wet markets to buy ingredients and to talk to local farmers. "They tell me a lot you can't learn in a textbook," she says.

"Did you know star fruits are sweeter after Mid-Autumn Festival? I learned that from the farmers." Gee describes the local farmers as an inspiration, and wants to support them.

Looks good ... and good for you!
Photo: Living Lee Gardens

There have been a lot of obstacles setting up the rooftop farm due to Hong Kong's rules on urban farming, but she still had it fairly easy.

"It is expensive to own a large size piece of land in Hong Kong. Local farmers are very hard-working and deserving of a better life so I'd like to help them" she says.

Gee has been preparing raw food for two years now, and is happy with the growing popularity of vegan food in Hong Kong.

"However, the trend isn't as popular when compared to places such as the US and Europe," she says. "More people in Hong Kong demand a healthy lifestyle so I'm glad we're here today under the sun enjoying food from the ground."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
You're gonna hear me RAW

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