While not many Chinese are vegetarian, there is a rich buddhist tradition in China and many people chose not to eat meat for religious reasons. As a result there are plenty of vegetarian options available. LTL offers vegetarian homestay options, Contact us to reserve your place.
One of our vegetarian students wrote this review of vegetarian restaurants in Beijing. We will keep adding restaurant reviews and tips. If you found any good restaurants you would like to recommend, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie’s Veggie Guide in Beijing
Vegetarian Restaurants to Try:
1) Vegan Hut
Location: Go to the Guomao subway station and go out exit D (this is on the southwest side of the street). Walk west to the next street, turn south, and go across one more street. It is in the shopping/restaurant complex that’s right there on the east side of the street, up an escalator to the second floor. There is a sign out front. When you go upstairs, look for the picture of Bill Clinton.
Food: This place had a large assortment of things to try. Mainly, the food is vegan/vegetarian versions of Chinese dishes. There are also smoothies, soups, and desserts to try. I liked the dumplings and the fish dish that I had. The hotpot tasted good, but something in it made my mouth tingle in a not-so-good way. I think I might have been allergic to something in it. In general, the food is heavy on the fake meat. I happen to like fake meat products, so I was okay with that.
Other: The place has vegan propaganda books to peruse and seems to be one of those places promoting a vegan lifestyle. It’s a friendly, comfortable place, with a nice, quiet atmosphere. Prices were probably 20-30 元 per dish.
2) Fu Hui Ci Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: It took me forever to find it because the directions I had were terrible, but it’s actually easy to find. Walk north to the end of the Wangfujing pedestrian mall, cross the street, and walk about one more block. On the west side of the street, look for a sign that points the way to the vegetarian restaurant (picture below). You will turn left and go a short ways down an alley.
Food: Mostly fake meat dishes that are intended to imitate meat focused Chinese food. It probably wasn’t as good as Vegan Hut, but not bad either. There is alcohol on the menu. Pictured below is an entire mock fish in chili oil.
Other: Lots of Buddhist and other books/items are sold here. The place was mostly empty, except for some other foreigners that I assume came off of Wangfujing just like I did. Very quiet. I think prices were around 30元per dish.
3) Veggie Table
Location: Go to the intersection of Yonghugong St. and the WuDaoYing Hutong (near the Lama Temple). It’s not too far down the alley.
Food: This place wins for best-tasting food. If you are looking for high quality food without a lot of meat substitute, this is the place to go. There was kale salad, pizza made with squash, and many other delicious things that I could not stop eating. The day I went, I hadn’t eaten much and I was so glad I had enough room to fill up here. There is wine and beer available as well.
Other: This is a pricier place (probably you will pay at least 60元 for a decent meal) but it is worth it. It is adorable inside, with some tables that have couches to sit on.
4) Xu Xiang Zhai Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: I was wandering around by the Lama Temple on my last day in Beijing and thought about going back to Veggie Table, but instead just stumbled on this place. All you have to do to find it is go south a few blocks from the intersection of Yonghugong Street and WuDaoYing Hutong, look for the gate shown in the picture (I couldn’t find a name for this hutong), and go down the alley a short ways. It is big and not easy to miss.
Food: Go there when you are hungry and get the buffet. For 88元 you can get an all-you-can-eat buffet, which is nothing short of amazing. There is a salad bar, dessert bar, and variety of soups and breads. The highlight is a ridiculous variety of dishes made with every kind of mock-fish, chicken, and other meat that you will not be able to taste them all before you burst. Dishes are labled as to whether or not they have eggs and dairy (most do not). I had vegan dessert (several, actually) and sampled all the fish dishes that I wanted to try. It was spectacular.
Other: Vegetarians and vegans should not miss this place.
Things I found helpful: I found a bunch of vegetarian restaurants online (like at happycow.net) and tried to venture out and find them. This had mixed success. Some of them had been closed, and some were so difficult to find that I never found them. Other people may have more success than I did. If you go this route, be sure you have plenty of time to get lost.