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Kathy Aug 26th, 2001 07:17 PM

Chinese Vegetarian
Any tips on how to find/order vegetarian (no meat or dairy)food on an upcoming trip to Beijing? <BR>Are there restaurants which specialize in this type of thing? When the rest of the group is eating their Peking Duck, any suggestions about what to ask for? <BR>Thanks in advance. <BR>Kathy

Lisa Aug 27th, 2001 07:56 AM

I've been to Hong Kong and southern China three times in the past four years. Don't worry--vegetable dishes are very popular and easy to find. I would say that probably every restaurant serves vegetable dishes. In my experience meals in most restaurants are served family style. There is a large lazy susan in the middle of the table and the servers bring out dish after dish and place it in the center of the table. Everyone helps themselves to the dishes they are interested in. Since I am afraid to be served dog or cat in China I always ask for vegetable dishes. The Chinese eat a lot of vegetables anyway, so it's not uncommon. There are a lot of unusual vegetables and things you don't see in the US but most are quite tasty. I've not been to Beijing but I would think it's similar to Hong Kong with respect to restaurants. It is difficult to find dairy products in China so avoiding them will be simple. <BR>Have a good trip!

Michael Aug 27th, 2001 01:10 PM

The previous post is correct, lots of vegetable dishes wherever one goes in China. To clarify one thing: dog is a delicacy. So, restaurants will not substitute dog for beef or pork.

Peter Neville-Hadley Aug 28th, 2001 08:16 PM

Furthermore, dog is a regarded as a 'heating' meat, and is more often eaten in the winter. In Beijing it's more confined to specialist restaurants. <BR> <BR>On vegetarian food, the earlier poster is right that restaurants in general have a wide variety of meat-free dishes, although some that appear to be vegetarian on the menu may come garnished with chopped meat. But in general there's no problem, except that it is more than likely that the wok used to make your dish has just been used to cook meat. Fresh oil will have been added, but if you are that fastidious, then China is a problem unless you go to specifically vegetarian restaurants. <BR> <BR>In Beijing there are two well-known ones specialising in making just about anything from soya ingredients, for instance (very impressive to see, although the point rather escapes me). There are numerous hot pot restaurants where you can just order vegetables (you add to the hotpot yourself, which gets you away from the wok problem--if that is a problem). But care is needed there, too. <BR> <BR>I have two favourite mushroom hot pot restaurants both of which seem idea for vegetarians and carry a huge variety of mushrooms, but only one of which produces broth without a (whole including head) black chicken in it. <BR> <BR>As for vegetarian specialities, I'd strongly recommend asking for doufu (tofu) dishes, but being careful to emphasize your lack of interest in meat, chicken, fish, etc. Fresh creamy Chinese doufu really is a delight. <BR> <BR>Peter Neville-Hadley <BR>

David Leung Aug 31st, 2001 03:10 PM

There is even lots of restaurants catering for only Vegetarian in Beijing, like Gong-De-Lin chain restaurants. <BR> <BR>David Leung <BR>Escort Service in Beijing <BR>

Peter Neville-Hadley Sep 2nd, 2001 08:17 AM

Gongdelin *is* one of the restaurants mentioned above which strives to imitate meat. Neither atmosphere nor service are very good--like other long-standing restaurants, this one hasn't quite caught on to the market economy. <BR> <BR>For those interested in imitation meat (even fake lobster), the Tian Shi at Dengshikou Dong Jie 57 is a far better bet, although--unsurprisingly as it's just off Wangfujing--it's rather pricey. <BR> <BR>Probably most vegetarians will prefer their vegetables to be vegetables, and in addition to the large numbers of vegetable dishes at ordinary restaurants, there's always the option, at least in larger cities, of pizza, and restaurants of various other nationalities with safe salads. <BR> <BR>Peter N-H <BR>

Dave Sep 3rd, 2001 07:21 AM

Kathy- <BR> <BR>I am in a similar situation. I am a vegetarian and planning to go to China as part of a group which will go to all restaurants. How to avoid meat is a concern. I would be most interested to see how you made out. Will you post your experience here when you return, or email me? Many thanks.

C Sep 3rd, 2001 01:33 PM

I am a vegetarian and had no trouble while in China. Like other posters have said, there are plenty of vegetable dishes. Keep in mind that Americans eat far more meat than other countries. I got hooked on the peppered green beans that I ate everywhere as well as large bowls of fresh snow peas. <BR> <BR>Cheese pizza is always an option if your friends choose to go to an American style restaurant one evening.

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