Especially in the countryside, the emphasis on fresh vegetables makes Chinese cuisine perfect for vegetarians. The pillars of Chinese cuisine, noodles, rice, tofu and vegetables, are fine for vegetarians. Another good start to the meal is spring rolls with vegetables that often come packed with mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, and spices such as ginger and garlic, inside a spring roll wrapper. The exact filling and sauces may vary, so always ask for the ingredients if you're not sure.
Following a vegetarian diet in China can be difficult or simple, depending on your expectations. Fortunately, vegetables (shūcài), cereals (gwù) and beans (dòuzi) are staples of Chinese cuisine, so surviving as a vegetarian in China is certainly possible. To get started, read How to Make Your Own Vegan Chinese Dishes at Home and, if you're gluten-free, see How to Make Great Vegan and Gluten-Free Chinese Food. Steamed vegetables, sautéed green beans, sauteed snow peas, fresh asparagus, mixed vegetables, sauteed broccoli, Chinese bean cottage cheese, tofu with black mushrooms and soy sprouts, Chinese eggplant, Sichuan tofu or seitan, General Tso tofu, Moo Shu vegetables, bittersweet tofu, orange tofu, kung pao tofu, kung pao tofu, vegetarian chow mein, Buddha's Delight.
Chinese stew at home is a warm and comforting social meal to enjoy with family or with a small group of friends during the Chinese New Year. Interestingly, many Chinese who tend to consume meat choose to abstain from consuming animal products on certain dates, including the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month, as well as the first day of the Lunar New Year, a custom rooted in Chinese Buddhism and related popular beliefs. For much of the 20th century, many Chinese people only had the opportunity to eat meat during major holidays, such as the Chinese New Year. While ordering vegetarian Chinese food may seem easy at first glance, it can be more complicated than you might expect.
While it's possible to eat a delicious meal at a Chinese restaurant, you may decide that you prefer to prepare your own Chinese food at home. When you order food at a Chinese restaurant, you can't just assume that General Tso's Lo Mein of tofu or vegetables is vegan. But once you know what to pay attention to and what questions to ask, it's easy to order and enjoy vegetarian Chinese food with confidence. Before I get into a list of normally vegetarian Chinese food to order, I want to start by saying that if you're not sure about something, ask.