It’s a frequent assumption that Chinese cuisine isn’t particularly vegan-friendly… and the fact is that chicken, pig, and shellfish may be common in their dishes. In fact, it could be too common. While it’s possible to substitute plant-based components for animal products in most recipes, there are a few traditional dishes that are entirely plant-based. So, if you’re looking for a true taste of China, below are the classic Chinese meals that have always been vegan!
Numbing Spicy Fragrant Pot
This is a fiery meal from Sichuan region with an insane amount of delicious flavor once the spoonful of it reaches your tongue. You pick each item to go into the pot when ordering, so you may add meat and shellfish if you like, or you can keep it vegan by choosing tofu, veggies, and sweet potato noodles. After you’ve chosen your ingredients, they’re cooked combined with spices, chilli, black beans, and onion and served in a large dish to your table. Lotus root, potato, broccoli, all varieties of tofu, cauliflower, all types of mushrooms, and celtuce, a crisp Chinese vegetable, are all recommended components.
Stir-Fried Eggplant, Potatoes & Peppers
In Shandong cuisine, these three components are regarded as the “three earthly bounties,” and when combined in a stir-fry, they form one of China’s long-standing home meals. Simply cut eggplants, potatoes, and green peppers, then cover them in cornstarch before stir-frying with garlic cloves, soy sauce, and onion. That’s all there is to it!
Buddha’s Delight is a vegetarian dish that is widely popular in China among Buddhist communities, who are vegetarian and use only simple seasonings. It is also a very popular dish when it comes to ringing in the Lunar New Year! The dish gets its flavor from its rich broth-marinade of soy sauce, cooking wine, pickled cabbage, ginger, peanut oil and varied additional seasonings. Americanized versions of Buddha’s Delight typically just contain a variety of vegetables and often tofu, but authentic Buddha’s Delight can have a VERY long list of ingredients, some of them familiar, others, not so much.
Who doesn’t like a nice dish of vegetable dumplings? While many (if not all!) dumplings in Chinese cuisine are pork-based and occasionally contain shrimp and egg, Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine also has a plethora of veggie-packed dumplings. They’re usually packed with chopped pak choi, Chinese celery, sliced fungus, and jicama, as well as rice noodles. And you may prepare them in a variety of ways: fried, steamed, boiled, with soup noodles, and so on.