It's not always easy to eat out when you're vegan, but despite the prevalence of meat in Chinese recipes, there are a number of popular Chinese dishes that are suitable for vegans. You'll want to check with your server that a dish truly is suitable by asking them to confirm the type of fat used for frying and whether the dish was cooked with fish or chicken stock, as meat stocks are common in certain Chinese cuisines, such as Lu cuisine from the Shandong province. Wondering what you may be able to order at a Chinese restaurant? Here's an overview of four Chinese dishes that are vegan-friendly:
Steamed Dumplings And Dipping Sauce
Steamed dumplings are ideal if you're looking for a light lunch. They are made with a simple dough that contains no dairy products. Flour, yeast and water are mixed together and the dough is rolled out and filled with shredded greens and beansprouts before being steamed. Choose a soy and sesame oil sauce to complement the dumplings without overpowering the delicate flavour of the filling.
Kung Pao Tofu
This fiery dish consists of fresh vegetables and pieces of firm tofu stir-fried with hot chillies and peanuts. Hoisin sauce, which has a rich, smoky flavour that comes from combining soybeans and chillies with just a little sugar, is added to the stir-fry just before serving. Enjoy this dish with steamed rice and jasmine tea.
Cashew And Vegetable Fried Rice
This is a classic dish that's widely available and packed with fresh flavours. Seasonal vegetables, such as bok choy, broccoli and carrots, are lightly stir-fried with rich soy sauce, fragrant ginger, creamy cashews and al dente rice. This is a hearty dish that's ideal for dinner and high in protein, thanks to the cashews.
Hot And Sour Soup
Hot and sour soup makes a delicious starter or lunch dish. The soup has a base of hot red chillies and sour vinegar and contains tofu, shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots. If you want to enjoy this soup as a main course, you can make your meal more filling by adding a side order of seasonal greens or bao, which is a type of steamed bread.
As you can see, it is possible to visit a Chinese restaurant without compromising your commitment to avoid consuming animal products. The restaurant may not have a separate vegan menu, but your server can point out the vegan-friendly options on the main menu. To try out some of these dishes, or other Chinese cuisine that make strike your fancy, visit a restaurant like Han Palace in your area.