is on the rise in China
, and with that comes a growing interest in the vegan side of things as well. Whether you're a full time vegan, doing veganuary (which, incidentally, is probably one of the worst words of 2018, as noble as its intentions might be), or just fancy something a bit lighter, there's plenty to choose from in Beijing if you know what to look for.
Image credit: Wikimedia.
A Chinese classic, this slippery and sumptuous aubergine extravaganza can be found in nearly every Chinese restaurant. It is vegan so long as you make sure to ask for a version without the surprise pork topping that the dish sometimes comes served with. We particularly like the Zhang Mama
rendition, which is deliciously sweet, and comes without pork as standard. 12RMB.
Yunnan food is a vegetarian's best friend in China, rich as it is in diverse vegetable dishes and tropical flavours that more than pack a punch alongside and meaty offering. The 'nine mushrooms' dish is worth a visit to Middle 8th
alone, as it isn't that common in other Yunnan restaurants and it is totally delicious. At first sight it looks like braised tofu, but the depth of flavour and melting texture make it a much more interesting meal than you might expect. 39RMB.
Touted as one of the best non-vegan vegan restaurants in town, Xian Lao Man
serves up a seemingly infinite selection of boiled (shuijiao
) and pan-fried (jianjiao
) dumplings, many of which are free of animal products or can be made so. The cabbage and peanut variety is particularly popular, and the nutty crunch makes it feel more substantial than other veggie options. 5RMB.
philosophy isn't dogmatically vegan – instead, it offers a simple range of power bowls that are mostly free of animal products, but can easily be tailored to be totally vegan or a bit more meaty depending on your preference. At 48RMB a power pop, Nooxo is cheaper than most of the similar options out there, and for pretty hearty portions. 48RMB.
You're in for a protein party with this bowl – we've got lentils, chickpeas, mixed grains and more in this squeaky clean offering from our healthy friends at Tribe
. It's not the cheapest of lunchtime options, but the lentil bowl defies anyone who claims that vegan food isn't filling, and you can't put a price on that feeling of wholesome smugness that comes as a free dessert with any Tribe order. 68RMB.
Chickpeas are a stable of any vegan diet – they're high in protein, versatile and delicious. You can have them two ways in Biteapitta
's classic falafel and hummus pitta – just be sure to ask for it without the yoghurt sauce to make it totally free of animal products. One of the few establishments on Sanlitun
's bar street to survive the great brickening
of 2017. 40RMB.
The beer and burger spot by the Liangmahe, Arrow Factory
, is trying veganuary on for size with a new meat-free menu. We're particularly intrigued by the jackfruit sandwich, in which the Asian fruit is barbecued, smoked and then pulled – much like pork, but with less death and suffering – into a crunchy burger with all the classic accoutrements. Much more inventive than the typical portobello mushroom veggie burger, we're impressed by this one. 65RMB.