What vegetarians can eat in China?

Aug 31st, 2011, 11:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
What vegetarians can eat in China?

This question is for anyone who has widely traveled or lived in China. We are 3 persons traveling to China and Hongkong for about 20 days. Our itinerary is as follows.
3.11.11 : Fly to Kuala Lumpur from Kolkata
5.11.11 : Fly to Tianjin from KL and then stay in Beijing till 9th Nov.
9.11.11 : Travel by train to Shanghai
13.11.11: Travel by train to Hangzhou
14.11.11: Travel by train to Shenzhen, and then to Hongkong
17.11.11: Fly back to KL from Shenzhen and then to India.
We do not eat any meat, seafood or eggs in any form. But we eat milk products, cheese etc. Being Indian, we are used to eat food with spices.
I know it would be difficult in China but would appreciate your comments, suggestions, names of the veg recipes, and a text in Chienese language which would help us to explain the same in the restaurants.
angel1 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2011, 02:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
www.happycow.net good info for you

Veggie not a big problem at all rice is the base food.

Indian restaurants abound in towns cities...
qwovadis is offline  
Sep 1st, 2011, 03:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 28
Well, I personally remember only a few unmistakably vegetarian meals - tung choi or eggplant fried on garlic and soy sauce or corn soup, potato pancakes, etc. Not sure about the eggs in it, though. From time to time I came across strictly vegetarian restaurant most usually connected with monastery, or run by Buddhist monks/nuns, I believe I saw some list in Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.
Nevertheless, my vegetarian friends travelled to China and got them written a message in Chinese beforehand - just something like "vegetarian food", "no meat", etc. and if they couldn't pick anything from the English menu, they showed the message and it always worked out somehow.
hanabi is offline  
Sep 1st, 2011, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 76
There are plenty of vegetarian choices in China/HK.

For breakfast, look for rice porridge, soy milk, onion pancakes. Just stay away from noodles which may have eggs in it (Rice noodles would be okay.) Yogurt is available too.

If you do dim sum in HK, there are lots of vegetable options as well.

For lunch or dinner, there are usually all kind of stir fired vegetable dishes on the menu, plus tofu, mushrooms, etc., plus rice of course.

In the big cities, there are also usually vegetarian restaurants in town that can get really creative with their vegetarian dishes.

我 是 吃 素 的 Means I'm a vegetarian.

Just a thought about your itinerary. I suggest you to go see one water town in the Shanghai/Hangzhou area. We did Xitang the last time we were there and loved it. It is located between Shanghai and Hangzhou and can easily be done as a day trip from either. You can check out our report on that if interested.

wky123 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2011, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,207
There is lots of yogurt in China, but all is sweetened. So be prepared as you will not find the same sort of yogurt Indians eat with their meals.

Cheese is available but not too popular as Chinese are still getting used to the taste.

But vegetarian dishes are not too hard to find. You will have to ask your hotel personnel to write down on a piece of paper you want only food with vegetables and beans and no meat and eggs. Truthfully it can be hard sometimes as they use some sort of little meat to flavor even vegetarian dishes.

But you can find some good dishes of eggplant,potatoes onion pancakes like a paratha, rice with vegetables and also plain rice.

There are very good sweet yogurts with fruit. There are lots of varieties of fruits and thus you can manage easily.

Of course, you can find Indian restaurants in all large cities.
Good luck and happy travels.

It may be good idea for you to carry some small snacks so you can munch while hunting for a good place to eat.
ileen is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2011, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 373
The problem with eating in restaurants that serve meat, as you know, they often include meat broth in sauces so vegetables aren't necessarily vegetarian. But there's a tradition of entirely vegetarian restaurants in China. In a place that calls itself "vegetarian" the menu will have what appears to be all sorts of meat dishes and it can be momentarily confusing. However the "meat" is actually tofu made to mimic meat and it can be quite entertaining once one is used to the idea. So just ask where you stay to be directed to restaurants that are entirely vegetarian.
joannay is offline  
Sep 6th, 2011, 03:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 104
Thank you all for the suggestions. Wky123, thanks a ton for your recommendation on Xitang. After reading your post, I liked it a lot and it perfectly fits in the itinerary.
More suggestions on Itinerary will be welcome, as it is not as easy planning through internet searches as it is for Europe or other places.
angel1 is offline  
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