Vegan in China – Fuzhou, Fujian

Fuzhou, capital of Fujian – a province of immigrants who brought their culture all over the world. Coming from a country with many Fujian descendants, yet Cantonese cuisine being more dominant, the new dishes were an eyeopening and biggest treat to the taste buds! These are favorites picked from 2 of the best restaurants I went to.

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First, from Ji Shan Zhai Restaurant – a Fuzhou specialty is lychee pork. This meat-free version is made from monkeyhead mushrooms, an unique mushroom used in Chinese food for its juiciness and similarity to fatty meat – smooth, tender and melt-in-your-mouth sweet and sour pieces!

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Fuzhou is also know for bamboo shoots! Crunchy with a subtle sweetness – this one is done with savoury Chinese olive sauce.

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This is what the vegan world loves – seitan, or mian jin (wheat gluten), has been used since thousand of years ago as protein for vegetarian monks. One main characteristic of this spongy protein is that it can absorb flavours fully, and magnify them.

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Most excellent meal was from Lotus Teahouse – a posh kind of place that I won’t usually go. But fine dining has its merits, every dish was full of surprising combinations with some ingredients I’ve never heard of. Soup must be in every meal in the south – I thought this was a chrysanthemum flower but it turned out to be soft tofu skillfully cut into this flower shape, sitting in a superb truffle broth.

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I never knew things like these existed – a cold dish of a type of fungi that grows on bamboo! The crispness and crunch was indeed reminiscent of fresh bamboo shoots, addictive and refreshing!

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Lotus roots are common but baby lotus roots is a first time – this was made into crunchy pickles. Those cute little holes soaks up the sweet vinegar perfectly!

Next post will be Beijing 🙂

Vegan in China – Shenzhen, Guangdong, Part 1

38 days grad trip in 10 cities and towns with some of the most simply amazing food, places and people. China, despite popular assumptions, can be very vegan-friendly. Because China had a long history of religions that advocate vegetarianism, and is the land where tofu and seitan originated. With agriculture produce and cuisines as diverse as the cultures and the most of the cuisine traditionally don’t use dairy, China should be on the good vegan food radar – if you know where to go and what to say. Happy Cow was a great help but there are some places I stumbled upon, or so hidden that only locals knew. Click on the Chinese restaurant names for links to their address and details.

So here’s my picks from Shenzhen, a bustling city in the southern province of Guangdong.

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Refreshing and creamy coconut juice from the tropical island of Hainan is available in almost every supermarket, convenience shop, roadside drink stalls in the cities!

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First meal out was at 大秦面馆 (Da Qin Noodle House), a chain of non-vegetarian noodle restaurants that serve traditional Xi’an style noodles  – we simply told them “no this and that” and the staff recommended 油泼面 (Youpo noodles), a (traditionally vegan) handmade noodle dish that’s generously drizzled with a very high temperature chilli oil that cooks and caramalises the toppings, giving its unique spiciness.

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 怡新素食 (Yi Xin Vegetarian Restaurant) at Foshan, another city near Shenzhen. The only dish I liked is this stew spiced with Chinese red peppers, chilli oil, holding generous amounts of veggies and pieces of chewy Baiye tofu soaking up the soup! I’m sure usually the quality should be good but we went near 2pm when the kitchen crew was having break time..

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法味轩素食馆 (Fa Wei Xuan Vegetarian Restaurant ) has a focus on charity – they have a 10 yuan lunch buffet and free flow of soy milk and porridge for anyone, poor or rich. You can have this if you want quantity. For quality go for the excellent menu!

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Stir fried glass noodles (made from green bean, not glass!) with fermented black bean bits – springy and savoury with sweet crunch from the capsicum bits – a must try, gluten free too.

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Spinach noodles in soup was a favourite! The clear broth is so richly umami with a slight smokiness.

锅巴 (guo ba) – think rice crispies freshly deep fried with salt and cumin spice mix generously sprinkled on it. A traditional gluten free snack that’s common and easily made vegan.

Next post will be the part 2 of vegan in Shenzhen! Then it shall be Macau and Hong Kong and more! If you need help with Chinese or are going to these places in China and need info please PM me 🙂