Being Vegetarian in Shanghai

In Shanghai, it is very possible for vegetarians to continue their dietary choices. Thanks to the many vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants, having a delicious and filling meal can be a convenient daily routine.

An increasing number of people in the world are choosing to adopt a vegetarian diet. Other than the original reasons of religion, animal treatment and environmental protection, the diet offers many healthy benefits. It is proved to lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol, which reduces the chance of developing heart disease and cancer. The regular vitamins and minerals consumed also helps with weight loss and softened skin.


Adhering to a restrictive diet always requires some before hand planning, whether you are home or in a foreign country. Although China is a very meat-hungry country, you can find some delicious vegetarian restaurants in all of Shanghai’s districts. When you are looking for some new places to try, check out these that come recommended:

1) Bukhara
Most Indian restaurants always have good and plentiful vegetarian options. Weekly evening dining can get pricy, but their weekend brunch specials offer an unlimited buffet of both meat and veggie options (and Budweiser!) all for 158RMB. Bukhara is also acclaimed the classiest Indian restaurant in Shanghai, so it is certainly worth checking out.

2) Haya’s
This Mediterranean Deli offers some of the best veggie dishes in Shanghai. They offer multiple options such as falafel pita sandwiches, Israeli salad, Jerusalem majadara, tzatziki, hummus and pita, etc.

3) Cal Kitchen
If you like some veggie burritos, check out this Cali and Mexican restaurant blend. It is said they serve some of the best vegetarian burritos which are even better than their meat burritos!

4) Bistro Burger
If you are just craving a veggie burger, you’ve got to check out this American diner. They offer many burger options, including choices for vegetarians. They have a “Hippie Veggie” for 60RMB with a pattie made from mushrooms, peppers, onions, pumpkin, and tofu. Yum! If you are vegan, you can easily ask to remove any cheese from the dish. Oh yeah, they also have spiked milkshakes.

5) Noodle Bull
This place offers a delicious vegetarian noodle dish which comes with sesame sauce and you can order a couple of side vegetable dishes to go with it. The noodles come with egg, so vegans should be aware.

6) Lynn (Shanghainese)
A Shanghainese restaurant that has veggie dumplings and a recommended wok fried mixed mushroom dish. You can always order a side of rice for some extra filling. It has cheap lunch special prices so it is a great place to try for lunch in the Jing’an business district.

7) Qimin Hot Pot
If you are a hot pot lover, this place has great vegetarian lunch options. It is also vegan friendly.

8) Origin
This is the place to go for the best salad in the city. You may find that other places serve salads that are mediocre, but you won’t be disappointed if you go here. They also have a fresh juice bar.

9) Matto
A great pizzera to visit for a variety of vegetarian options. The Spaccanapoli pizze comes recommended with four types of mushrooms, topped with white sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil and drizzled oil. The crust is served thin. The best deals for this restaurant are during lunch, when you can get a whole pizza, a soup or salad, and a coffee or soft drink all for 98RMB.

10) Vegetarian Lifestyle
If you are a fan of faux meat, this restaurant has many options for you. Most of the dishes are vegetarian versions of traditional Chinese dishes, but they are also a few fusion attempts as well. It is said they do well to get the texture right, especially in the delicious black pepper “beef” and the Turkish eggplant with pork. A great place to go to “have a taste” of traditional Chinese dishes!

TIP: If you are vegetarian you may need to know where the closest fruit and vegetable market is to your new home. Make sure you ask your property agent for clear details as they can be hidden away. If you’re looking for a new home feel free to contact Adrienne Farrelly at or call her on +8613122810421.

Helpful Chinese Phrases:

I am a vegetarian. I can’t eat meat.
Wǒ shì yí gè sù shí zhú yì zhě. Wǒ bù néng chī ròu.

Don’t put any meat in the dish!
Yì diǎn hūn cài bú fàng!

seafood – 海鲜 hǎi xiān
shellfish – 贝类 bèi lèi
shrimp – 虾仁 xiā rén
shrimp paste – 虾酱 xiā jiàng
oyster sauce – 蚝油 áo yǒu
meat – ròu

You can also simply say you can’t eat something:

I can’t eat (seafood).
Wǒ bù néngchī (hǎi xiān).

adrienne-black-top-smallAdrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Additional Vegetarian Restaurants in Shanghai:


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