Most foreign vegetarians will travel or move to China with no local language skills, which can be quite a challenge trying to explain your dietary requirements to the waiters/waitresses. Being a vegetarian myself, I understand how frustrating it can be after hours of explanation, your food still arrives with bits of meat in them. So we have compiled this Survival Guide for the vegetarians/vegans living in this fascinating part of the world. We’ve included some basic Chinese phrases that allow you to explain your dietary preferences, and also a list of our favorite vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai.
wo chi su
wo chi quan su
I don’t eat…
wo bu chi…
Fish, shrimps, clams
鱼, 虾, 蚌
Yu, xia, bang
Jia qin lei
Chicken, duck, geese
Ji rou, ya rou, e rou,
Dou wu you zhi
Nai zhi ping
Milk, yogurt, cheese
niu nai, suan nai, nai lao
I don’t like eating meat
wo bu xi huan chi rou
I only eat vegetables and soy products
wo zhi chi shu cai he dou zhi ping
Tofu, soy milk
dou fu, dou nai
Methods of preparation
The following are the most common phrases used to describe methods of food preparation.
Pan fried (seared)
Vegetarian Restaurants in Shanghai / 上海
Kush is Shanghai’s first international vegetarian restaurant. They mainly serve up western styled dishes from fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and imitation meat dishes cooked in a healthy style in line with the philosophy of a light diet. Their menu has a plentiful choice of appetizers, salads, pasta, and desserts and drinks in generous servings.
Yanping Rd Branch
Address:98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu, Jing'an District
Address: Pudong New Area, 1378 Huamu Rd Kerry City Room B111
Tel.: 021 50610618
From two American-born Chinese comes Sproutworks, an eco-conscious, sustainable "fast casual" dining. In the West, the concept is far from groundbreaking—a menu of affordable, rotating salads, sandwiches, and sides—but there's not yet a single other place like it in Shanghai. It's easy to stay healthy tucking into sides like shredded Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and Parmesan, or a delicious cous cous salad with raisins and roasted almond flakes.
Donghu Lu Branch
Address: 167 Donghu Rd. (Xinle Rd.)
Hours: 11:00 ~ 22:00
Tel: 021 5466 1667
Super Brand Mall Branch
Address: Super Brand Mall, B2-06-07 168 Lujiazui Lu
Anna Maya Vegetarian Cafe
This vegan café is focused around a macrobiotic philosophy–natural, whole and unprocessed. The lemon-sorbet walls instantly creates a cheerful, spring feeling with antique furniture, along with its antique furniture make this a perfect place to relax and enjoy delicious vegetarian cuisine. Sip on a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy some vegetarian quiches, cakes and pastries.
Address: 3 Taojiang Lu (near Hengshan Lu), French Concession
Tel: 021 64334602
Blissful Butterfly / 心乐蝶舞
Located on the sixth floor of the Expo Culture Center, this vegetarian haven turns out high-end dishes. Only set menus are available, with main courses like "lamb chop" whose texture was so much like meat that could even fool the biggest carnivore. Go at night and request a table overlooking the bridge; there's nothing like an illuminated Expo for a dinner backdrop.
Address: 6/F, Expo Culture Center, 1200 Expo Avenue, Shanghai Expo Site
Tel: 021 20251080
Godly Vegetarian Restaurant/ 功德林
Shanghai’s oldest vegetarian establishment, having served up Chinese vegan cuisine since 1922. Devoted to the meat-free lifestyle, Godly is a relatively quiet oasis for the veggie-conscious; it offers everything vegetarian, from delicious salads to slightly weird mock meats made from bean curd. Vegans who have had to avoid the dessert menu at other restaurants, will be happy to learn that they also have vegan cookies and desserts available.
West Nanjing Road Branch
Address: 445 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Chengdu Bei Lu), Jing An District
Tel: 021 63270218
Wukang Road Branch
Address: 97 Wukang Lu (near Wuyuan Lu), Xuhui District
Tel: 021 64718909
Jendow Vegetarian / 人道素菜
An upscale buffet establishment hidden away next to Long Hua Temple in Xuhui District, upon entering the restaurant, one is transported to a large, tastefully furnished hotel-like dining area with a seemingly never-ending, well-presented array of food. Its offerings range from create-your-own salad to Chinese-style cold dishes, from a Japanese sushi/sashimi and tempura station to dimsum and Taiwanese snacks. There are also a couple of stations where cooks will make you a bowl of soup noodle, a plate of pasta, or a veggie hotpot on the spot. Drinks include juices, Chinese herbal teas, coffee, and even Hong Kong style milk tea.
Address: 2787 Longhua Lu (near Tianyaoqiao Lu), Xuhui District
龙华路2787号 (近天钥桥路) Hours: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-9pm
Tel: 021 64572299
Vegetarian Lifestyle / 枣子树
Detoxify with a vegetarian feast at this restaurant with good prices, good service and a clean environment. Non-smoking and drinking rules apply, but their delicious spinach dumplings and meat-flavored vegetarian dishes, such as the Saysade, will make you forget what's missing.
Jingan Temple Branch
Address: 258 Fengxian Lu (near Jiangning Lu), Jing An District
Tel: 021 62157566
Address: 848 Huangjincheng Dao (near Shuicheng Nan Lu), Gubei/Hongqiao
Tel: 021 62751798
Address: 77 Songshan Lu (near Huaihai Lu), Luwan District