Being vegan in Shanghai?
I'm going to be living there for 5-6 months and intend on staying vegan through my stay. I realize China is very vegetarian unfriendly as it is, so I know it will be a challenge.
What kind of options do I have for food though? Plain rice with steamed veggies? What should/can I bring from home to snack on... like peanut butter possibly for extra protein?
Phrases to indicate I do not eat meat, seafood, eggs, or milk?
I know authentic Chinese food has a lot of vegetables, the problem is that a lot of the time Chinese people do not understand the concept of complete vegetarian, so there ends up being oyster sauce or bits of pork in the seemingly innocent veggie dish...
- Lim YuanLv 68 years agoFavorite Answer
It is better that you stay away from the restaurants in China complete if you want to follow a vegan lifestyle it is better that you cook at home.
I'm not going to tell you on how to be a vegan and cook your own food, you should know that your doing.
The main problem with being vegetarian in restaurants is that they often don't have a idea of what being a vegetarian let alone what a vegan is. It would be better to say that eating milk etc will make you ill rather than saying that you don't eat them. Often with so-called veggie dishes are cooked in animal fat, or seemly tofu dishes will have bits of meat in.
However, all is not lost, the links below will help you with being a vegan in China.
- Anonymous4 years ago
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- 8 years ago
Most chinese are not unfriendly to vegans, they just think thats new stuff.
and shanghai is a big city, you can buy and encounter every thing there, i know may chinese do not understand the concept of complete vegetarian, but i believe their should be some restaurant understand this concept and offer complete vegetarian food in shanghai.
cos shanghai is an amazing city, it has everything.
BTW, you can not take food to china, custom does not allow that, i think fresh food is not permitted, but snack is ok.
BTW, i am vegetarian in Chinese is "war shi chi soo de"Source(s): Chinese, used to live in a city near shanghai, been to shanghai many times.
- longliveabcdefgLv 78 years ago
Being Chinese myself I find it much easier to be a vegan living in China than in the US. In Chinese culture, there is only people who eat meat and those being a vegan, basically nothing in between. 素食者 strictly means vegan. Buddhist monks and nuns who are vegans do NOT eat anything coming from animals at all including eggs, dairy. Oyster sauce is strictly prohibited, also onion because it's considered too "tempting".
I have never seen any vegan restaurant in the US, but there are many inside China. Everything they serve are made from vegetables, plants, mushroom, nuts, beans only and the variety is much more than found in the west. If you go to the markets, you can buy your own vegan food easily, there are so many products you can choose from: tofu, tofu skins, dried tofu, mung bean vermicelli, beans of all colors, tuber plants of all colors, all kinds of fungi and mushrooms, seeds including sesame and lotus seed, nuts, grains etc. You just need to learn what to look for at the beginning.
Search online for Chinese vegan, or even vegetarian, recipes and you'd be surprised of the varieties.
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- ExcoLv 78 years ago
EDIT - Then you just have to cook for yourself, this way you can ensure all of the ingredients are vegan-friendly.
Let me be honest, vegetarianism isn't that big in China, you can't even expect all American restaurants to have vegan options, let alone China.
If you intend to eat in restaurants (I suggest you avoid street food if you're that strict about ingredients), ask them exactly how the food is prepared.
The Chinese phrase for "vegetarian" is 素食者 (su4 shi2 zhe3), vegetarian food 素菜 (su4 cai4), that's the Mandarin pronunciation, which is the standardised version of Chinese used in all parts of China, even in places like Guangdong where the primary dialect is Cantonese.
Most restaurants have su cai, as light dishes to complement the more heavy-flavoured dishes. These dishes are still tasty in their own rights.
You don't think the average Chinese family eats "sweet-and-sour chicken" or "pork chow mein" do you?
Vegetables is an even larger portion of Chinese diet than in America, MUCH larger as a matter of fact. All the vegetables you can buy in America you can buy in China, plus more.
No, you probably won't find "veggie burgers" or other sorts of synthesised foods you can find in Walmart, but Chinese cuisine is one of the oldest in the world, they have found infinite number of ways to make food, if you know how to cook, and most of these dishes are pretty simple, you won't need to eat the same dish twice through the six months.
There are varieties of spices, sauces and other means to add flavour to dishes than just "plain steamed". You can make your own sauces, but if you're not bothered just buy pre-mixed spice sachets from the supermarket, pour it into boiling water, voila, lazy way to make tasty dishes.
Soy products are common in Chinese, or Asian diets, you'll find plenty of that, along with other stuff like tofu.
And they do have peanut butter, when I was in China I knew a family-ran shop that made their own peanut or sesame pastes, tasted even better than peanut butter.
And you'll find China doesn't lack for staple foods - varieties of noodles, bread, mantou (steamed bread/bun), and obviously the rice.
All in all give a country that has some 4000 years of history some credit, that thing they sell in American Chinese take-outs doesn't even qualify as Chinese cuisine.
- 8 years ago
I am currently living and studying in Shanghai. well it wil be hard for u to be a vegan there. and you will no get accustomed to chinese food.
- WalleLv 58 years ago
step1: go find your local muslim noodle place,
step 2: marry it
step 3: eat cheaply and vegetarian everyday.