Vegan in Suzhou

I visited Suzhou last month with course mates on a landscape architecture study trip. Beautiful rustic place – black and white houses lined with canals crossed by petite stone bridges. Suzhou’s heritage love their gardens and plants, evident from the famous Suzhou gardens to the numerous potted plants that dot residential streets.

 

Some of the street food we had:

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Sticky rice rolls coated with peanut powder and filled with anything from jam to lotus paste.

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Steamed goodies along Pingjiang Road, not all are vegan though. Luckily they do write out what it is, both in English and Chinese.

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I bought a couple of sticky rice cakes, the purple ones are taro flavoured rice cakes. The pig is actually a red bean bun! Lastly the cupped cake is soft black rice with taro topped with a hazelnut and that’s the yummiest!

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Fresh lotuses are sold for one or two yuan at many places on a pushcart. You have to break the shell, then peel the green coating off the seeds to reveal a white seed that tastes like a juicy almond.

Restaurants usually have a good selection of veg dishes like stir-fries or salads with rice or noodles. It’s still best to remind them not to use any animal oil, just as a precaution.

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Edamame, red capsicum, button mushroom and wood’s ear fungus stir fry. You’d find this fungus in Chinese dishes a lot, doesn’t look pretty but it’s full of minerals!

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Lightly stir fried potato strips. Unlike the Western potato dishes, this is not the starchy type but a very crisp one. You can find this in many places in China, not only Suzhou.

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Cold noodles are sold everywhere in the summer. Usually tossed in sweet vinegar, soy sauce and chilli oil, topped with coriander, sesame, crushed peanuts and sometimes shredded cucumber.

We had our last meal in a Cantonese restaurant at the airport.

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Wood’s ear salad for appetizer. The juicy fungus is tossed in a fragrant vinegar and bamboo shoots and served chilled.

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Soy milk tea! Full marks for presentation, and taste too because it’s rich and not too sweet.

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Stir-fried veggies in a fried taro ring. A common dish in Singapore Chinese restaurants too, yet this is better done than those I’ve had. What I loved most is that they used fried enoki mushrooms to line the dish, unlike the usual fried rice noodles which local restaurants use. Crunching on them is as addictive as potato chips!

Hope this helps you in your travels to China. It’s not impossible if you dine at restaurants, ask and communicate well 🙂

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2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for your entry! I’ll be studying in Suzhou soon and was worried about having to explain veganism in my basic Mandarin. It’s so good to know there’s options out there!

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