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When our children have grown up, they will have their own small family and it is only on family days or some festive occasions that the entire family will get together for a meal. In Hong Kong, household area is small and this applies to the kitchen. There may not be enough space to prepare food and entertain a large number of people for a meal. The children may not want to see their parents spend so much time and efforts in getting the food ingredients and preparing a meal. So they would often choose to eat outside. Another thing is that after we retire, we would have more time to meet our friends and it is likely that we would go out and find some good places to eat.
Hints when ordering food
When we eat outside, we may prefer food which looks good and tastes well. But we should also think about whether or not they are healthy. We should pay attention to the following when ordering food:
  • We should have more vegetables and less meat. Choose dishes which are mainly vegetables and supplemented by a suitable amount of meat.
  • Choose food which is low in sugar, salt and fat, such as fish, tofu, vegetables, lean meat.
  • Eat less cured food and processed meat, such as salted fish, preserved meat, luncheon meat and so on.
  • Choose dishes that are cooked, scalded in water or baked as less oil is used; do not choose dishes that are pan fried or fried as they are more oily.
  • Tell the waiter that the food should be cooked with less salt, sugar and oil.
  • Choose dishes which do not have any sauce or ask for the sauce to be served separately.
  • When ordering cold or hot drinks, ask for sugar or syrup to be served separately.
  • Order the right amount of food. Do not waste food and do not eat or drink excessively.
  • Besides considering the preferred taste of family members or friends, order dishes that suit your taste.
Choosing a restaurant
  • People often say that diseases come by way of the mouth. When we eat outside, we should pay attention to the hygiene of the restaurant. The premises and the eating utensils should be clean and we should also make sure that food is handled in a safe and hygienic manner. The Centre for Food Safety and the catering industry have drawn up a food safety charter. Eating establishments which join the charter pledge that they will do their best to ensure food safety.
  • If we cook at home, we can control the amount of salt, sugar and oil used. When we eat outside, we should pay attention to the amount of salt, sugar and oil to be taken. When we eat in a restaurant, we can ask for a reduction of the amount of salt, sugar and oil used to cook food while taking into account our personal needs and taste. The Centre for Food Safety has launched a scheme called “Reduce Salt, Sugar, Oil. We Do!” The participating eating establishments will prepare food according to guidelines in reducing the use of salt, sugar and oil. They will also ensure that requests from clients to use less salt, sugar and oil will be met.
  • Under the principle of more vegetables and less meat, we can choose eating premises which provide more vegetable dishes. The Department of Health has a list of eating premises which have joined the EatSmart Restaurant Campaign. These restaurants have been checked and will ensure that they provide eatsmart dishes with more vegetables and less salt, sugar and oil.
  • With ageing, it is inevitable that we will have some problems or special needs in our body. We should consider the environment and the facilities of the eating premises. Just imagine we have arranged to meet our family members and friends for a meal, but we find out that the place does not have a lift and we have to use a stick and walk for one or two floors. Or we may find out after we have arrived that the place has very narrow access and is not wheelchair accessible. All these will not only cause inconvenience but will also make us feel disinclined to go out, and hence impede our social activities. There is now a mobile phone application which provides information on barrier-free eating premises for people in need. These include old people, people who do not hear or see well, and people who are on wheelchairs or use a stick. The database now has information of over 300 eating premises with barrier-free facilities. In addition, there are also restaurants which provide friendly facilities such as braille menu for those in need.
  • As we enjoy good and healthy food, there is also a chance for us to discharge our social responsibility. There are eating premises which provide job opportunities for the vulnerable groups. This is to help them develop their potentials and integrate into society. If we eat in these places, we can show our support and help the people in need as well as those who want to help others.
We have collated in this page a list of caring restaurants according to information found in the related websites. Readers may browse the page for a list of healthy dishes and friendly facilities.
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