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Top 10 Chinese Vegetarian Dishes

Veggie delight: a vegetarian in China is not confined to vegetarian restaurants only


If you think you are a vegetarian stranded in China, think again.


Vegetarians in China need not fear Chinese cuisine. Admittedly, the highlights of Chinese cuisine often include meat ingredients like poultry, pork, beef, and (somewhat to the distaste of many foreigners) intestines. The same goes for everyday dishes you are likely to come by on the street, as well as ethnic specials like Shanxi-styled rou jiamo (肉夹馍),  the Dongbei (northeastern) dish guobaorou (锅包肉), and south China’s cured meat (腊味 làwèi). But a vegetarian will not find his or her choices limited in the Middle Kingdom. Vegetarian Chinese dishes are just as delicious and as plentiful as ones with meat.


To get you started, here are China Adventurer‘s top 10 Chinese vegetarian dishes. But if that still doesn’t satisfy your taste buds  try Big Bowl Caulifower (大碗花菜 dàwǎn huācài), Chinese Spinach with Fermented Tofu (腐乳通菜 fǔrǔ tōngcài), Braised Eggplant (红烧茄子hóngshāo qiézi), or Hand-torn Cabbage (手撕包菜 shǒu sī bāocài). Be sure to say “no meat” (不要肉 búyào ròu) “I am a vegetarian” (我吃素, wǒ chīsù) before you order, so that the restaurants don’t throw in small pieces of meat as they usually do.


Beware that like the most Chinese vegetable dishes, many of the following can be laced with pork or shrimp. To see a purely vegan top 10 list click here: Top 10 Chinese Vegan Dishes


Via China Adventurer.



1. Peanuts and Spinach (花生菠菜 huāshēng bōcài)
From: All over China
Ingredients: peanuts, spinach, garlic
Spice Level: 0-3 (Can be spicy if they use wasabi root)


2. Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐 mápó dòufǔ)
From: Sichuan
Ingredients: tofu, ground pork (obviously request this to be left out), peppers, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, garlic
Spice Level: 3


3. Buddhas Delight (罗汉斋 luóhàn zhāi)
From: Shandong
Ingredients: lots of various vegetables, garlic, salt, sometimes egg and shrimp (request no egg or meat), mushrooms, tofu
Spice Level: 0-2

vegetable with mushroom

4. Green Vegetables with Mushroom (香菇青菜 xiānggū qīngcài)
From: Fujian
Ingredients: Bok Choy cabbage, mushroom, garlic, soy sauce, salt
Spice Level: 0


Click for Recipe

5. Potatoes, Green Peppers, and Eggplant (地三鲜 dì sān xiān)
From: Northeastern China
Ingredients: sauteed potato, green peppers, eggplant, ginger, onions, garlic, soy sauce
Spice Level: 1

tomatoes eggs

6. Tomatoes and Eggs (西红柿炒蛋 xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn)
From: All over China
Ingredients: tomato, egg, salt, green onions
Spice Level: 0


7. Broccoli and Garlic (蒜蓉西兰花 suànróng xīlánhuā)
From: All over China
Ingredients: tofu, ground pork(obviously request no meat), peppers, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, garlic
Spice Level: 3

seaweed and egg soup

8. Seaweed and Egg Soup (紫菜蛋花汤 zǐcài dànhuātāng)
From: All over China
Ingredients: egg, seaweed, dried shrimp (request this to be excluded), water, sesame oil, salt
Spice Level: 0

stir fried potatoes

9. Chilli Stir-Fried Potatoes (辣椒炒土豆 làjiāo chǎo tǔdòu)
From: Sichuan
Ingredients: potato slivers, peppers, salt, chili sauce, Sichuan peppercorns
Spice Level: 2

stir fried green beans

10. Stir Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆 gānbiān sìjìdòu)
From: Sichuan
Ingredients: green beans, Sichuan peppercorns, peppers, spring onions
Spice Level: 4-5


Read Tasharni Jamieson, a vegan’s response to this article: ‘Top 10’ Chinese Veggie List a Big ‘Missed-Steak’
Also read Kendall Tyson’s additional tips on avoiding meat in Chinese food.
Checkout a tasty recipe for the mother of all Chinese vegetarian dishes – Buddha’s Delight

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