Vegan in China – Shenzhen, Guangdong, Part 2

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Shenzhen is considered a new city by China’s historical standards, is a bustling metropolis. Located in Guangdong province and right next to Hong Kong, it is the major financial power in South China. When I visited it was lychee season, thus lychees of all sizes where at every corner.

Chains of fast food kiosks such as 邓老凉茶 (Denglao Herbal tea) and 永和豆浆 (Yong Ho Soymilk) usually have breakfasts of you tiao (fried dough fritters), mantou (plain wheat buns) bao zi (stuffed buns but commonly with meat) and dou jiang (soy milk). At one 邓老凉茶 they just happened to have yummy handmade vegetable and mushroom buns!

There are cold and hot dishes in Chinese cuisine; cold dishes are not like chilled cold but are usually pre-cooked and served at room temperature. They are mostly appetizers or sides and hence savoury-sweet and tangy. We Chinese can’t stand much cold foods so the mains are piping hot!

These are from 福田林 (Fullness Vegetarian Restaurant on Happy Cow), the best place I’ve tried in Shenzhen. Almost everything is above average and here I’m only listing the 3 cold and 3 hot dishes that blew me away!

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Smoked beancurd skin. Basically it’s the layer of protein that is formed on boiling soymilk, dried, flavoured, rolled and steamed together into a roll.

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Silken tofu with sweet soy sauce is my favourite way to tofu. Theirs redefines the meaning of soft tofu! Melts in your mouth with the savoury sweet sauce.

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Looks scary but trust me it’s the best cold dish there. Soft, slippery and springy noodles made from kudzu root tossed in a spicy soy sauce. Gluten-free too!

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Mashed yam stuffed in fried beancurd skin and soaked in sweet sour sauce. Crisp, creamy and sweet haven in a two-bite parcel.

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Zha jiang mian (fried sauce noodles) is a famous dish from China with its Korean counterpart called jajangmyeon. Here the fried sauce is excellently rendered with textured soy protein minced with lots of peppery spices and fermented bean sauce. The only thing that’s slightly unsettling was the saturated green of the spinach noodles.

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French beans stir-fried with preserved Chinese olives and fried chilli. The rustic wok hei taste was rich and the beans, so so juicy! Which is amazing considering how much heat was used to achieve wok hei which will have turned any veggie dry. A highly skilled chef indeed! For the uninitiated, wok hei is a most unique taste in Cantonese cuisine. Not achieved by adding any ingredient, instead it is given to the food by the highly heated wok itself.

That’s the end of Shenzhen, there are much more places on Happy Cow that I couldn’t visit. More Cantonese food coming up from my travels in the south!

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 🙂