Shenzhen Survival guide – Staying Vegan

I am again at HK airport on my way back to India. The lounge here happens to be my favorite place for blogging. It has been interesting as well as challenging times both at HK and China. Just completed a pilot batch of cradles before CNY and carrying some of them back to India. This completes my nearly 8 month stay at China (broken into chunks of 2 month trips).

Before we proceed, let me set some expectations straight –

  • This blog is for vegans who are vegan for the following reasons –
    • Helps the cause of non-violence
    • Saves the planet
  • It is not for these types –
    • Strict vegans who don’t want to smell/taste meat. To be honest, as a vegan I find the smell at most restaurants disgusting, but I put up with it and don’t make a big fuss amidst friends of varied dietary preferences.
    • Religious vegans. Restaurants may have re-used the oil or the pan they used for cooking meat (exceptions being vegan restaurants).

If one is in for a long haul in Shenzhen, it is impractical to seek out a vegan place everyday. But a typical restaurant usually has 1-2 dishes (of about 50 dishes) that are vegan. Most Chinese laugh and pack me off when I ask them if they have a meal that does not have egg, meat or fish. But there are ways to work around that –

Case 1: You see something interesting, but the menu says it has egg/chicken. This is often the case with fried rice.

Say or show the following in a translate app –



Translates to –

Dont want meat, dont want fish, dont want egg. Only vegetables.Show me the items in the menu.

Try saying it like this (does not match the text above exactly, but this is what people seem to understand) –

“boo yaw rou, boo yaw yu, boo yaw jidaan. Soo-the” Show the menu and say.. “see-an-she”.

Case 2: You scan the menu with the waiter, but you cant find anything vegan.

Say or show the following in a translate app –


Translates to –

I want this one. Without meat, without fish, without egg.

You can say it like this –

“Wo yaw chege, may-yo rou, may-yo yu, may-yo jidaan”

Popular veggie dishes that are available in most places. One can order some vegetable with rice (say Mee-faan for white rice ) –

Beans, Eggplant or both. This is one of my favorites. Chinese eggplants are the best ones I have ever had.



Decent places around HQB for vegetarians –

Vegan (Sometimes, there is egg, but you can clearly see it). Futian has limited choices. Nanshan has more choices including some which have imitation meat.

  • Wanshan Tianchang Vegeterian Restaurant (万善天厨素食店) – There is a buffet everyday for lunch (on working days). Super good at supper low cost.
  • New Plum Garden Yuantong – (福田区深圳市广东省)
  • Namaste Indian Restaurant
  • Dawat Indian Restaurant – On the expensive side.
  • DingDingXiang – Plenty of veggie items to pick up and make your own bowl. Find it in Lotto near the escalators near Huanqiang plaza hotel.
  • Subway sandwiches – Just take the veggies.
  • NYPD pizzas – Has one vegetarian option