Knowing exactly what you’re eating in China can be a challenge – partly due to the flowery menu translations (“Red Burned Lion Head” “Chicken without Sex” etc. etc.) and partly because a dish may contain bits of meat for flavoring, even if the dish is listed in the vegetable or tofu section. We know that vegetarians have an especially difficult time in Shagnhai, which is why we launched our Vegetarian Voyage food tour last year. By visiting a variety of restaurants, noodles shops, street food vendors (and we can’t forget dessert) we showcase just how delicious eating vegetarian can be.
If you’re looking for a DIY veggie dining experience, here are just a few of the veggie-friendly places we’ve written about over on our sister site, Culinary Backstreets. We’ve included an ordering guide so you know just what to get, with confidence that you won’t find any pork hiding out in the tofu!
Shanghai’s Top Buddhist Restaurants:
Lucky Zen: Just south of Xintiandi, this 2nd floor restaurant-bookshop has all veggie meals with a perfectly zen atmosphere. Address, ordering guide & more info.
Wu Guan Tang: Simple food that showcases the original flavor or the vegetables. Plenty of monks here usually. Address, ordering guide & more info.
Shanghai’s tastiest vegetarian-friendly noodle restaurants:
Wei Xiang Zhai: The sesame-peanut noodles here are hands-down the best thing under 10rmb in Shanghai. Bet you can’t eat just one! Address, ordering guide & more info.
Henan La Mian: You can’t leave Shanghai without ordering the specialty scallion oil noodles, freshly pulled for each order. Address, ordering guide & more info.
Lanzou La Mian: These family-run shops dot Shanghai’s streets, serving up freshly-pulled noodles, stir-fry dishes and more from China’s western, predominantly Muslim regions. With pictures on the wall, you’ll know exactly what you’re ordering, even with minimal language skills. Address, ordering guide & more info.
Lilian’s Bakery: These Shanghai-style Portuguese egg tarts have us coming back again and again. Address, ordering guide & more info.