Hong Kong’s TREEHOUSE Brings Chef-Quality Plant-Based Food To The 'Big Human Family'
In partnership with Food Made Good

Hong Kong’s TREEHOUSE Brings Chef-Quality Plant-Based Food To The 'Big Human Family'

Winner of the Food Made Good Landlord’s Choice Award, sponsored by The Henderson Land Group, TREEHOUSE's message is simple: healthy humans, healthy planet.

I often say that my cooking videos are “accidentally educational”; my hope is that entertainment will draw the audience in, but they’ll walk away having learned something new. So, when TREEHOUSE founder Christian Mongendre described his food as “accidentally vegetarian”, I felt I may have found a kindred spirit. 

TREEHOUSE’s food is first and foremost, tasty – it just happens to be vegetarian. It also happens to be good for your body… and happens to be good for the earth. Christian is a classically trained chef with a solid background in high-end French restaurants, yet he concluded that a career in fine dining wasn’t the fullest way to express his love of food and more deeply, its power to change people. Personally, I’m happy he had this realization, because every delicious bite of my lunch at TREEHOUSE was seasoned with finesse, thoughtfulness, and creativity. 

Related: How to Cook, Eat and Order Climate-Friendly Meals

Here are some highlights:

Cold Hiyashi Kelp Ramen

Kelp ramen. Photo by Debbie Wong 

This bowl featured flavors that leaned towards Japanese: a punchy sesame sauce provided creaminess, but it’s unexpected lightness and slight acidity made it especially moorish. The spiced tofu was tender and full of flavor, and notably served warm – I love a temperature contrast. The kelp ramen (a superfood, as it is made of sea vegetables) is calorie-free, and had the most unique and satisfying texture: bouncy, yet crunchy, a bit like konnyaku, and the pickled cucumbers were an absolute standout – perfectly sour and sweet, with a hint of nutty sesame oil.

Related: Hong Kong’s SpiceBox Organics Is A Small Business Making A Big Impact

Banyan Wrap

Banyan wrap. Photo by Debbie Wong 

If you put fried eggplant and a soft-boiled egg in anything, I am likely going to order it. This wrap featured a Middle Eastern flavor profile, which is one of my favorites. Green za’atar provided an earthy base, roasted garlic hummus gave moisture and richness, tomato and cabbage for freshness and crunch, and amba sauce, an Israeli condiment made with pickled mango, provided an appetizing acidity.

Related: Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong Serves Up Contemporary Fine Dining

Polenta Fries

Polenta fries. Photo by TREEHOUSE

Crispy and creamy, with the unexpected addition of salty briny black olives, these tasty polenta fries are served with an addictive smoky chipotle sauce. 

Christian’s relationship with food and nature is intimate, and lifelong. He grew up in France preferring a vegetable-forward diet - he would occasionally have some quality farmed chicken, but didn’t particularly like eating meat. He was also raised around animals and plenty of green space. Despite this ingrained connection to the natural world, he hadn’t yet developed a belief system until the health-related passing of a loved one, which motivated him to educate himself on our controversial global food and medical systems. This coupled with his diverse education in culinary arts, business management (and cinema studies!) were the catalysts for Christian’s ultimate goal to bring “environmental, cultural and personal health to the masses.”

Related: Food Made Good HK Awards Shines A Spotlight On Sustainability

With TREEHOUSE founder, Christian Mongendre. Photo by Debbie Wong 

Upon returning to Hong Kong, the place of his birth, he became a pioneer of the plant-based movement in the city, and co-founded the first eco-friendly, plant-based fast food restaurant in Hong Kong, MANA! which is still thriving today. He then branched out on his own and opened several other businesses both in Hong Kong (Home, Eat to Live) and in Portugal (Juicy) before launching TREEHOUSE, which, after our conversation, feels like a fully realized expression of his journey and mission.

Related: Hong Kong’s MANA! Changing the World 'One Bite at a Time'

Segregated waste bins. Photo by Debbie Wong 

Like its namesake, TREEHOUSE feels grounded, positive, and invitingly aspirational. It is a thoroughly modern green business, because it’s inclusive and unintimidating - walking inside is like entering a friendly future. Aside from supporting local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and recycling and composting their waste, TREEHOUSE is also active in “cross-industry collaborations'', working with LAP Lifelong Animal Protection Charity, a re-homing organization for dogs and cats in Hong Kong, and Foodlink Foundation, a hunger relief charity that works closely with Hong Kong’s F&B businesses. Of course, it only makes sense that they’re also involved in tree planting - in fact, every menu purchase with their tree icon goes to funding a reforestation project.

Related: Healthy Asian Takeaway? Fete Up Shows Us How, With The Help Of ‘Rainbow Vegetables’

TREEHOUSE’s motto. Photo by Debbie Wong 

TREEHOUSE’s motto is ‘One with Nature’; we hear variations of this phrase often, but after my visit, I digested it with a renewed perspective. I was reminded that humans aren’t just born on this planet, we are born of it: the air, the soil, the water. Earth is us, and we are the Earth. Through TREEHOUSE’s delicious, planet-friendly food, I’m hopeful that we are a few steps closer to remembering our roots as beings that don’t just exist on this planet, but actively invest in it, as it has always invested in us. 

 

Follow @treehouse.eco on Instagram for the latest updates on TREEHOUSE.

Debbie Wong is a professional cook, writer and classically trained actor based in Hong Kong. She is the host of Food Wars Asia, Kitchen Quickies, and her ongoing international culinary series on YouTube - Debbie Wong’s Wok and Gong. Follow her on all socials @ms.debbiewong.

This article was created in partnership with Food Made Good HK.

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