|Me at The Summer Palace|
In Part One, I talked about some of the struggles Steven and I faced trying to live healthfully in Beijing. Now, to cheer you all up, let’s look at our favorite restaurants in Beijing.
First let me say that Air Canada has the best vegan airplane food. I have eaten a lot of absolutely disgusting vegan airplane food that has made me very sick. Air Canada did a decent job and served us edible, not horrendous food. I would recommend Air Canada for long flights where you will be served several meals. Our flight from Toronto to Beijing was 13 hours and they consistently served us decent meals.
|One of my Air Canada meals. Quinoa and veggies, with a side of beans and a cookie.|
As far as restaurant going goes, during the week, we eat breakfast at home, lunch was provided at our school, and we cooked dinner at home every night. Once a weekend though, we would venture out to a different vegetarian restaurant for lunch. Let me just say that all the vegetarian lunches on the weekends were better than our weekday lunch. We ate white rice, onions, and cabbage pretty much every day during the week at the school.
|Typical lunch provided by our school. White rice, onions, and cabbage.|
Living in the big city of Beijing did have its benefits. There were several vegetarian (and even a few vegan!) restaurants spread out across the city. Unfortunately, we lived on the outskirts of Beijing so getting to these restaurants was a weekend day trip (it takes a good 2 hours to get from one side of Beijing to the other).
We tried a lot of different vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Some were great and a few were not so good. We ended up with two favorite restaurants where we were weekly regulars and three others that were decent that we would go to occasionally. I found all the vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Beijing on www.happycow.net. For directions to any of these and for a more complete list of veg restaurants in Beijing head over to Happy Cow.
Here are the vegetarian and vegan restaurants that get the vegan101girl seal of approval!
The Veggie Table
|Southwestern Bean Burger with Sweet Potato Fries and amazing coleslaw.|
The ultimate winner of the vegan101girl seal of approval!!!! This restaurant was a light in a dark place and our savior when we were really struggling. We went here every weekend after our 2 hour Chinese lesson. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without this place. The Veggie Table was like a little slice (get it? cause there's a picture of a pizza below?) of home.
|Pizza, the crust is not gluten-free. I scrapped the toppings off. It was worth it. They were yummy...|
This restaurant is all-vegan and serves international (meaning American) style food. We tried almost everything on the menu and it was all good. The most incredible yummiest dish was the Southwestern Bean Burger. I ended up getting this burger every weekend and thought about it all week long.
Side Note: Many items on the menu are not gluten-free. When in doubt of what to get, please get the Southwestern Bean Burger (it will change your life and knock your socks off all at the same time!) and just skip the bun if you are avoiding gluten!
|Chili Spaghetti (not gluten-free). My boyfriend eats gluten.|
|Hummus (a bit on the oily side and didn't quite taste like hummus). Good, but not quite there.|
Also be sure to try the lemonada drink which is a lemon/mint slushy thing. Oh my gosh. So good. Their chocolate peanut butter milkshake is also very good. So are their fresh pressed juices. And their hard cider. For heaven's sake, all their beverages are awesome!
|Cranberry Juice and Apple Juice|
|Chocolate Peanut Butter "Milkshake"|
|Lemonada. A delicious lemon mint drink.|
Jing Lian Zhai off Hepingli Street
This is our other favorite restaurant. It is vegetarian. It has a big picture menu which is great. We would regularly get fried lotus, bamboo, or the pumpkin soup. All delicious.
|Fried Lotus. Very Yummy. Probably not very healthy...|
|Bamboo. We love bamboo and ate a lot of bamboo while in China.|
|I think these are Chinese Sweet Potatoes.|
|An unfortunate example of ridiculously oily vegetables. Never ordered this again. Asparagus and mushrooms.|
Xu Xiang Zhai near the Confucian Temple and Lama Temple
There are a bunch of vegetarian restaurants around the Buddhist Lama Temple (including The Veggie Table). This is a Buddhist-vegetarian restaurant with a big buffet of yummy vegetarian food. They have a large assortment of fake meats that are pretty good. The seating at this restaurant consists of these long giant tables, kind of cafeteria style, but much prettier. Be prepared to possibly sit right next to friendly vegetarian strangers.
|Vegan, gluten-free Tiramisu cream thingy...in a dirty glass. Oh well. It was tasty.|
|My plate after scavenging the buffet.|
Baihe Vegetarian Restaurant
This vegetarian restaurant is a bit tricky to find. It was totally worth the millions of years it took to find though. It has a nice atmosphere and the food is great.
|Bamboo and veggies.|
This all-vegan restaurant is also a slight challenge to find. It is all vegan though, so if you’re sick of possibly eating meat or dairy everywhere else you go, it’s worth finding. The food is pretty good. Sadly, I can’t find my food pictures from this restaurant. Sorry!
This restaurant is not vegetarian, or really even veg-friendly. In fact, there was nothing all that great on the menu, except the most delicious pineapple rice ever! I wouldn't recommend specifically seeking this place out, but if you happen to be in the neighbor, I would definitely pop in for some crazy good pineapple rice. This is the address: 16 Minzu Daxue Beilu, Weigongcun, Haidian District.
There is one vegetarian restaurant that I DO NOT recommend. It is called Fairy Su and it is right next to the Lama Temple. The food is incredibly greasy and made me pretty sick.
Part Three of Vegan101Girl Go to (and Comes Back From) China will be out in a few days. I will be writing about what we cooked at home for dinner every night and what grocery shopping in China is like.