Woodstone has opened as a new restaurant marketed as vegetarian. However, you eat there at your own risk. Here’s why.
This is how Woodstone is marketed on their ‘about’ page in facebook:
“We wish you have a new perception of vegetarian food through our homemade style dishes. We apply policy of no MSG, no mock meat, always fresh veggies and fruits for our dishes from soup to mains to bring pleasant surprises to our customers.”
Pleasant surprises? It seems the surprise for Woodstone customers is being fed dead animal parts. Woodstone was visited on 23 January 2017. Contact was made with the owner, Kidd Wong. The usual sort of questions were asked to get an idea how serious and rigorous this place is being managed as a vegetarian restaurant. On asking a few questions Kidd admitted that he himself is not vegetarian. That in itself may not necessarily be an issue. However Kidd’s knowledge and especially his attitude towards vegetarians is very troubling:-
- Kidd had no idea about dairy cheese being coagulated with rennet. Rennet is a slaughter by product of veal.
- Kidd had no idea about alcoholic beverages (especially wine) being manufactured with extracts of any of fish, cow, pig or crushed crustacean shell to remove the yeast
- An explanation was given to Kidd of these pitfalls. This was followed up with an email explaining ways to get around these and source cheese and alcoholic beverages that have no such worries. There are cheese and alcohol products that are completely free from animal derived ingredients (e.g. Daiya cheese that also has none of the GMO animal gene spliced coagulants used in many dairy cheeses packaged as vegetarian)
- Kidd chooses to ignore these concerns. He told us he is very focused on cost and will sell out his existing stock before he considers sourcing alternatives that he knows to be vegetarian
It then gets worse. On a follow up visit on 4 February 2017 we asked how he was getting on with the points previously brought to his attention. He said that the dairy cheese that he still uses is Parmesan. To quote this statement from the Vegetarian Society website fact sheet on cheese:
“There are some cheeses which are always made using animal rennet, for example, Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano).”
Yet this doesn’t seem to worry him.
It gets worse still. Today the following has been posted on the Wooodstone facebook page (A screenshot is below in case the message is deleted after this article is sent to Woodstone):
The translator in facebook can be a bit off sometimes. From referring the translation to a native Chinese speaker, facebook translation seems to have done a decent job in this case. And he has the audacity to use an accompanying hashtag of #Vegetarian? In light of the concerns explained above, Kidd’s message and his philosophy seems to be utterly disingenuous.
Not only is Kidd’s attitude contemptuous to vegetarians. It also unfair to honest restaurateurs (unlike Kidd), who take the time and cost to source products that genuinely fit the philosophical premise on which the restaurant is marketed (namely that everything sold or consumed there is genuinely vegetarian). Take for example a vegetarian restaurant near Woodstone called Home. Home take the time and trouble to source booze that is not just vegetarian but also vegan. Time is money. Why should Woodstone be allowed to cut that corner? Kidd’s attitude is worryingly similar to that of the January 2017 Worst Restaurant of the Month, Veggie Express.
As we always say attention to detail matters. Since Mr Wong is cutting these corners at Woodstone, what other liberties is he taking with the principles of vegetarian customers? We are now in the realms of whether or not management of this restaurant can be trusted. Decide for yourself.
The above concerns have been submitted a moment ago to the HK Customs Dept for false advertising. If they take action to tackle the Woodstone deceptions then great. If they do not have the teeth to do so then that cements the need for a watchdog service such as that provided as part of this website.
It’s never a pleasure publicising info like this. People though have a right to an informed opinion on where they spend their money.