Despite all the rice, vegetables, and tofu, vegetarianism and veganism are often considered strange phenomena in China. Your insistence of a meat-free diet may be met with looks of confusion or a comment that meat is good for you. When ordering at restaurants, you may end up getting a dish with meat despite specifically requesting one without it. Whether you care about animals and the environment, are looking for a healthier diet, or just want to try something new, here are some great vegan and vegetarian dining options.
One of the top restaurants in Beijing, Tianchu Miaoxiang offers delicious vegetarian food at affordable prices. Like many popular Chinese vegetarian restaurants, the menu contains many dishes that mimic the taste and texture of meat. This restaurant is not only well-known for their fake meat dishes, but also for their dishes featuring a wide range of mushrooms.
260, 2/F, Bldg D, Chaowai Soho, 6 Chaoyangmen Waidajie, Chaoyang District (5900 1288)
Although quite pricey, King’s Joy offers tasty and diverse vegetarian menu items that loosely resemble Chinese cuisine. The completely meat-free menu includes dishes such as sushi rolls topped with slices of purple dragon fruit designed to resemble tuna. King’s Joy also presents a range of set menus that you can order.
2 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District (8404 9191)
Tribes offers tasty dishes suitable for those with vegetarian, vegan, organic, paleo, and gluten-free diets. One of their highlights is their grain bowls which can be filled with tofu, lentils, and other vegetables.
China View Plaza, 1/F, Bdg 3, Gongti Donglu, Chaoyang Distric. 朝阳区工体东路2号中国红街大厦3号楼一层. http://tribeorganic.com/
The diverse menu includes delicious dishes such as curry, dumplings, vegetarian spin-offs of mu shu pork and kung pao chicken, and a heavenly selection of tea. You’ll order off an English menu via an iPad on which you can see photos of the dishes.
23A Caoyun Hutong, Dongzhimennei Beixiaojie, Dongcheng District. (6405 2082) 东城区东直门内北小街,草园胡同甲23号
This simple vegan eatery serves fast and delicious set meal with no MSG. Items to try include healthy green smoothies, avocado broccoli soup, curry bean stew, and vegan ice cream.
Stall 0912, 2/F, Bldg 9, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District. (5869 9856, 139 1172 9610) 朝阳区东三环中路39号建外Soho9号楼2层0912
Juice by Melissa
Although known mainly for being a healthy juice bar, the menu does have more eatable food items. A largely vegan food menu features a selection of dips, soups, and salads.
101, Dongwai Gongguan, 3 Xinzhong Dongjie, Chaoyang District (130 4112 1556)
Mocktails, tofu strips, and vegetarian duck – these are just some of well-prepared, aesthetically pleasing, and appetizing items offered on the menu.
144 Dongzhimennei Dajie Dongcheng district. 东城区东直门内大街 144号.
Samadhi Vegetarian Tea-house
On the menu is a variety of Chinese teas and light vegetarian food. Although it is a small tea-house, it proudly boasts a massive range of beautifully presented and scrumptious menu items.
2/F Shifanghaoting, 16 Xinyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District. (8453 1644) 朝阳区新源南路16号世方豪庭2层