Ciao Bellas.

Whole foods. Peaceful mind. Nature inspired creations.

plant based in china

plant based in china

Every time I book a new trip, at least one person says "It's going to be hard avoiding meat there." Most of the time, that tidbit comes from someone who hasn't visited the country themselves! I am almost always able to prove them wrong, but it's not always easy. Here are a few tips that show off some of the things I ate in China, but could also be applied in any country:

1. Research

A simple Google search of 'the best vegetarian restaurants in (enter city)' usually does the trick. The Happy Cow app can also do this for you. It gathers the top vegan and vegetarian restaurants in your area or whatever destination you enter, and even includes restaurants with good veg options that aren't exclusively vegetarian to really give you lots of choices. This proved to be helpful when we were in Kunming, in the Yunnan province of China. The first option that came up was Sujixiang - a vegetarian buffet tucked inside a Chinese Medicine School. This buffet was FOUR DOLLARS!!

 In Buddhism, wasted food is frowned upon, so I had to eat it all.

In Buddhism, wasted food is frowned upon, so I had to eat it all.

2. Respect the language and the culture

I had a screenshot in my phone of the phrase "I am vegetarian" along with "no meat can touch my food" in Chinese. It made communicating my dietary restrictions quite a bit easier than flailing my arms trying to get this across in English. You are visiting a new country - and it's up to you to prepare for situations like this. It was always met with a nod and a smile. And delicious food of course.

 Spicy curry from Vegetarian Lifestyle in Shanghai.

Spicy curry from Vegetarian Lifestyle in Shanghai.

3. Just Ask!

When we arrived in Dali, Yunnan, the manager of our hostel spoke very good English. She was also very sweet. These people hold all of the knowledge! Google can only go so far. We all know that locals know the best spots. Dali was a pretty magical place because there was a Buddhist population in the city that follows a plant based diet. So finding a vegetarian restaurant wasn't hard, it was seeking out the best option that was the challenge. Our hostel manager recommended a Buddhist hot pot restaurant. We almost got lost trying to find it, but when we did, it was definitely worth it. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

 Diners filled up a basket with as many beautiful veggies as their hearts desired!

Diners filled up a basket with as many beautiful veggies as their hearts desired!

 I may have gotten a little over zealous with my veggies.

I may have gotten a little over zealous with my veggies.

 My spicy hot pot is cooking!

My spicy hot pot is cooking!

4. Backup Plan

Okay, so sometimes Google fails you, or you don't have internet, and NO ONE speaks English. This was our situation in Lijiang, Yunnan. We were tired. We didn't feel like sifting through menus and trying to figure things out. Days like this are why I always bring a box of Lara Bars with me when I travel. They are not meal replacements, but they tide you over while you're emergency hungry and looking for something to eat. Stopping at fruit markets for bananas and convenience stores for nuts is also helpful. After eating our snacks to tide us over, we were able to walk around and think clearly. Finally, we came across an 'Iron Plate Tofu' food booth. I like to think that when a place is making one thing all day every day, it's probably pretty good, and it was.

 Our Lijiang saviour.

Our Lijiang saviour.

 Hello, yes, I'll have ten servings of this.

Hello, yes, I'll have ten servings of this.

5. Open Mind

Living in the biggest city in Canada, following a vegan diet is very easy. I feel pretty fortunate that I can walk into any neighbourhood and find a plant based place to dine. But if you want to explore another part of the world, you have to keep an open mind. Some places rely on meat, others have it ingrained in their culture. My opinion is that we are in a privileged position to have a choice, and the ability to make a difference. So keep an open mind abroad. Eventually, your empty belly will be full.

 I love the consistency of Chinese curry. Can someone teach me how to make it?

I love the consistency of Chinese curry. Can someone teach me how to make it?

 Matcha on the outside, red bean paste on the inside. A wonderful dessert.

Matcha on the outside, red bean paste on the inside. A wonderful dessert.

 Beautiful bean salad from Faye in Dali. A restaurant run by monks.

Beautiful bean salad from Faye in Dali. A restaurant run by monks.

 Warm cucumbers, pumpkin and flower pedals. This was at Godly in Shanghai.

Warm cucumbers, pumpkin and flower pedals. This was at Godly in Shanghai.

oven roasted avocado corn

oven roasted avocado corn

parmesan + lemon asparagus

parmesan + lemon asparagus

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