Amritsar Express in Tsim Sha Tsui have a clearly sign boarded tagline of, “Punjabi Vegan Delicacies”. In the past that tagline has been misleading causing potentially hazardous consequences for those on non-dairy diets. We are in the process of trying to find out if things are fully remedied and management there are now true to those advertised words. Here’s why and how.
Immediately outside Amritsar Express take away are two highly noticeable shop boards. One is wooden and one is illuminated. Both these signs very clearly state:-
- Amritsar Express
- Punjabi Vegan Delicacies
So the implications of those words are this:-
- At Amritsar Express you can buy in complete confidence if you’re vegan or on any kind of other non-dairy or non-egg or non-honey diet
- Everything for sale has been verified as suitable for those dietary needs
Sounds great. But it’s not as simple as that. For example, a sign incorrectly implying all is vegan is a hazardous risk to milk allergy sufferers. That is when dairy products are used in the food or beverages sold. That is before considering the risk to people choosing not to eat animal derived products for philosophical reasons.
The email below was sent to Amritsar Express on 6th August 2016 (there’s a minor typo of a missing bracket).
I hope this email reaches the lady who is the owner of Amritsar Express. You may remember I came into Amritsar Express not long after it opened. We discussed the following:-
* that the advertised tagline for Amritsar Express is clearly advertised as, “Punjabi Vegan Delicacies”
* at the time while everything you were selling was vegetarian, not everything you were selling was vegan grade vegetarian
* Specifically some of the food contained milk products. This was thus a possible risk to anyone eating your food (or beverages such as lassi) who is on a milk free diet (e.g. vegan grade vegetarians, people with milk allergy or intolerance)
I was in your establishment again a few weeks ago (and again last week. It was great to see that you seemed to be no longer selling paneer (paneer as we obviously both know is made with milk and thus isn’t vegan). Can I ask please is all of the food & beverages you now sell 100% vegan? That would be made without honey and without any milk products such as:-
* milk (obviously)
* other milk derived cheese
* cow ghee
* anything else you know of as an expert on Indian food that may contain some sort of milk product or other animal derived product.
I hope this reads in the intended constructive tone. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.
(Can milk allergy sufferers and vegans now eat in confidence at Amritsar Express? Or is milk still used in the food?)
In the absence of a reply to the above and to a chaser email, two visit have been made seeking to engage the owner in person. The owner was neither at Amritsar Express nor the adjacent travel agency she also manages. The lady working in the take away today was asked if the owner was around. She helpfully replied:-
- The owner received the email and is aware of the concerns re the sign indicating veganism
- This is being reviewed on their part with the owner who has just returned from overseas
The optimal way forward seems to be to ensure a retail policy at Amritsar Express where all food and beverages are verified as vegan. The benefits of this are:-
- No need to makes shop sign changes
- Amritsar Express would have a genuine competitive differentiation from the other Indian eateries in Hong Kong that purport to be all vegetarian. Specifically none of the other Indian vegetarian places in HK are all vegan
- Being all vegan could bring promotional benefits. e.g. a) the Amritsar Express listing on the HappyCow worldwide restaurant directory would be upgraded to all vegan (the HappyCow website highlights all vegan establishments ahead of non vegan places). b) Amritsar Express could be added to the 5 minute Hong Kong vegan guide
Another way forward of course would be for the shop sign to be corrected. This though would not have the benefits mentioned in the points listed immediately above. This is of course ultimately a decision for Amritsar Express to decide on.
With people’s health at stake this obviously needs tackled quickly by the Amritsar Express owner. This web posting will be emailed to Amritsar Express for their awareness. A further update will be provided in future on this website based on their response.