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#1 Old 05-17-2011, 06:05 PM
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So I'm going to China during the summer, and I am very excited. My concern though, is about veganism. I take Chinese in school, but I am no way fluent, and I cannot even have a basic conversation. I am going on a tour group with a bunch of other high schoolers, and I'm assuming, based on the lack of vegan 17 year olds, I will be the only vegan there. My teacher has offered to help me memorize some phrases to use their about veganism, but when the person in China responds, I won't be able to understand. It is with a tour group, and they did say they can accommodate a vegan diet, but they said the food was very bland. I of course want to avoid this, and my teacher said they put meat in everything there, even in the tofu. He also said that the culture over there think of a vegetarian as a person that just enjoys eating vegetables. I read somewhere that someone just said they were Buddhist and they always got vegan, but that may only work it the temples. On a kind of different note, there is no drinking age in China, so I will be taking advantage of that. I follow the rules here in the US *wink wink* but I have no idea what alcohol is vegan and what is not. What is good and what isn't? Has anyone ever been to China while they were veg*n, and what was your experience like?

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#2 Old 05-17-2011, 06:24 PM
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So I'm going to China during the summer, and I am very excited. My concern though, is about veganism. I take Chinese in school, but I am no way fluent, and I cannot even have a basic conversation. I am going on a tour group with a bunch of other high schoolers, and I'm assuming, based on the lack of vegan 17 year olds, I will be the only vegan there. My teacher has offered to help me memorize some phrases to use their about veganism, but when the person in China responds, I won't be able to understand. It is with a tour group, and they did say they can accommodate a vegan diet, but they said the food was very bland. I of course want to avoid this, and my teacher said they put meat in everything there, even in the tofu. He also said that the culture over there think of a vegetarian as a person that just enjoys eating vegetables. I read somewhere that someone just said they were Buddhist and they always got vegan, but that may only work it the temples. On a kind of different note, there is no drinking age in China, so I will be taking advantage of that. I follow the rules here in the US *wink wink* but I have no idea what alcohol is vegan and what is not. What is good and what isn't? Has anyone ever been to China while they were veg*n, and what was your experience like?

Maybe see if you can pass by grocery stores once in a while and make your own food?
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#3 Old 05-17-2011, 06:26 PM
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Any real ideas?

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#4 Old 05-17-2011, 06:30 PM
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Any real ideas?

Don't go to China Especially for someone with such disregard for your counties laws. Be sure to check out China's legal system before traveling there, cuz I wont be flying over to bail you out
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#5 Old 05-17-2011, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamLayish View Post

So I'm going to China during the summer, and I am very excited. My concern though, is about veganism. I take Chinese in school, but I am no way fluent, and I cannot even have a basic conversation. I am going on a tour group with a bunch of other high schoolers, and I'm assuming, based on the lack of vegan 17 year olds, I will be the only vegan there. My teacher has offered to help me memorize some phrases to use their about veganism, but when the person in China responds, I won't be able to understand. It is with a tour group, and they did say they can accommodate a vegan diet, but they said the food was very bland. I of course want to avoid this, and my teacher said they put meat in everything there, even in the tofu. He also said that the culture over there think of a vegetarian as a person that just enjoys eating vegetables. I read somewhere that someone just said they were Buddhist and they always got vegan, but that may only work it the temples. On a kind of different note, there is no drinking age in China, so I will be taking advantage of that. I follow the rules here in the US *wink wink* but I have no idea what alcohol is vegan and what is not. What is good and what isn't? Has anyone ever been to China while they were veg*n, and what was your experience like?

Unfortunately, I think there IS meat (or meat stock) in a lot of stuff in China. I've never been there but my brother and dad went pretty recently, and from their description of the food I'd be very wary. If your tour group will help you, that's great -- at least you can stay vegan, even if the food's not the best you've ever had.

Re: alcohol, check out barnivore.com. Most hard liquor is vegan (with obvious exceptions like Bailey's Irish Cream.) Lots of beer is vegan. Wine can be more difficult.
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#6 Old 05-17-2011, 10:13 PM
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Suck it up and eat the bland vegan food. It's not like you're moving there, it's a trip. As for the alcohol, why risk it?

"If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company."
Jean-Paul Sartre
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#7 Old 05-17-2011, 10:27 PM
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http://circleourearth.com/vegan-trav...-guides/china/

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#8 Old 05-17-2011, 10:28 PM
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http://www.vegetarian-china.info/

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#9 Old 05-17-2011, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamLayish View Post

So I'm going to China during the summer, and I am very excited. My concern though, is about veganism. I take Chinese in school, but I am no way fluent, and I cannot even have a basic conversation. I am going on a tour group with a bunch of other high schoolers, and I'm assuming, based on the lack of vegan 17 year olds, I will be the only vegan there. My teacher has offered to help me memorize some phrases to use their about veganism, but when the person in China responds, I won't be able to understand. It is with a tour group, and they did say they can accommodate a vegan diet, but they said the food was very bland. I of course want to avoid this, and my teacher said they put meat in everything there, even in the tofu. He also said that the culture over there think of a vegetarian as a person that just enjoys eating vegetables. I read somewhere that someone just said they were Buddhist and they always got vegan, but that may only work it the temples. On a kind of different note, there is no drinking age in China, so I will be taking advantage of that. I follow the rules here in the US *wink wink* but I have no idea what alcohol is vegan and what is not. What is good and what isn't? Has anyone ever been to China while they were veg*n, and what was your experience like?

I must say I'm kinda surprised about what you've been told about vegan food in China... I've been living there for 2 months and no bland food has ever entered my mouth ever since
Granted, I do my own cooking most of the time but I can eat outside (not everywhere, that's true) and the food is really delicious and not bland at all. You can usually go pretty safe with broccoli, aubergines, black fungus and tofu (and steamed rice, of course ). Almost every restaurant has them. You might want to avoid soups and anything cooked in broth as it will contain meat or fish stock for sure (basically avoid every single noodle dish on the menu).

I'm in Shenyang (North East), by the way, not the most popular city in China, but if you happen to visit or be in the neighbourhood I'd be delighted to meet another fellow vegan (feel a bit lonely here )

'Hope you'll enjoy your trip, and if you have any more questions, just ask!
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#10 Old 05-17-2011, 10:52 PM
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I have no idea, but how different is mainland Chinese food from Taiwanese food? I had fantastic luck in Taiwan - tons of vegan restaurants, all marked by a lotus symbol.
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#11 Old 05-18-2011, 12:32 AM
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My understanding is that in Taiwan people "get" veganism to a much greater extent, and veganism is actually quite popular. In mainland China the situation is rather different, and the attitude is often that anything without animals is not a real meal. I've never been to China myself tho.

Tsingtao is a Chinese beer that is vegan.

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#12 Old 05-18-2011, 03:31 AM
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Where abouts is the tour in china going? I have been to Beijing as a vegetarian and ended up eating the 'western' buffet at the hotel because I wasn't sure what would be vegetarian in the restaurants (and spoke not a word of Chinese). I have just realised how wrong I was- there are so many options!:

http://www.happycow.net/m/asia/china/beijing/

If you are in Beijing maybe you can persuade your group or part of it to go there.

Shanghai is not bad too: http://www.happycow.net/m/asia/china/shanghai/

And definitely if you are eating at any Buddhist Monasteries I would think they'd be able to do something.

If you are eating out in more rural locations I think it will be difficult to avoid meat except by getting plain veg and rice, but you can always ask. When I was in rural Mongolia (completely different country, culture, food, but I imagine similar in the not-a-lot-of-restaurant-options in the villages factor) two times we ate out the vegetarians (there were 4 of us) were provided with really bizarre meal options. Once we got grated carrots in mayonnaise, and at another place it was mashed potatoes with cheese. Really complete healthy meals :S. If I had been vegan at the time I guess it would have been a plain old carrot to knaw on or a single boiled potato like in 'everything is illuminated'. Lol.

I think China should be much better than Mongolia though because Chinese food seems to be more veg and rice orientated whereas Mongolian food was all meat and cheese. Even the vodka was not vegan because it was made from milk!!
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#13 Old 05-18-2011, 03:55 AM
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Thanks everyone! More suggestions welcome of course

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#14 Old 05-18-2011, 05:24 AM
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Barnivore might be able to help, it's great for vegan booze, but I dunno about in china. You should be okay with spirits, though.

As for th eother thing, I'd say try a vegan passport and hepl from yr teacher. Other than that just go with bland stuff. My experience of SE Asia is that there's alsays chillies/pepper/soya sauce on the table, so that's better than nothing.

Unfortunately, it does seem that a lot od SE Asian vegetarianism is based on asceticism. Boooo asceticism.
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#15 Old 05-18-2011, 10:10 PM
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in the major cities they are starting to eat more westernized, aka more meat and animal products, but its still less than america. they still eat a lot of veggies there. if you could ask for them steamed or cooked without broth hopefully that would be vegan...assuming it's like other asian countries i've been to the broths will be meat-based and they probably use an oyster/fish sauce for flavoring in some fried rice and other veggies dishes.

the further u get from the cities, into more traditional china, they eat much less animal products.

anyway, i'd just bring some food, and then when you pass a market or store buy some fresh veggies or other foods.

give me some pointers when you get back so i can plan my trip :P
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#16 Old 05-18-2011, 10:51 PM
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Surprised someone hasn't post this yet.... I read this thread yesterday, then today I saw this article on CNN about how a lot of questions are out there about the safety around eating fruits and veggies in china

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/as...ook/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFHA4m-u2dg
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#17 Old 05-18-2011, 11:10 PM
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I lived in China for a few years and have visisted Taiwan as well. In Taiwan it's easy. There are veg*n restaurants on every other street corner. It's a veggie paradise. In China, it's a bit more difficult if you can't express exactly what it is that you want. The fact that Buddhism in Taiwan is actually real and in China it is more of a tourist attraction probably has something to do with that, as many of the veg*n restaurants in Taiwan were popular among the local monks.

If you could hunt down your own restaurants, cook your own food, etc., it wouldn't be so bad. And there ARE some very good vegetarian restaurants scattered around mid to large sized cities. But if you are going with a tour group (especially if it is a local guide), they will be bringing you to restaurants arranged in advance that pay the guide a commission based on what you order (the same is true for the "random" gift shops you stop at along the route). They will, therefore, be very reluctant to be flexible in regards to going places that weren't pre-planned because that would mean skipping the restaurants that provide them with a portion of their anticipated income. I would suggest carrying with you dense, high energy foods (like nuts), and plan on eating a lot of rice and noodles.

Wish I could give you better news :P But my guess is that your ability to find decent vegan food will depend on what kind of tour group you are with and how easy it is to get away from them and do your own thing.

"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine." Bruce Lee.

"On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero." Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)

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#18 Old 05-18-2011, 11:39 PM
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I spent a week and a half there.
Have someone write "vegetarian" on a piece of paper for you (or do it yourself), and hand it to the waiter or whoever. It gets the point across that you can't speak the language.
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#19 Old 05-19-2011, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by nomad888 View Post

I lived in China for a few years and have visisted Taiwan as well. In Taiwan it's easy. There are veg*n restaurants on every other street corner. It's a veggie paradise. In China, it's a bit more difficult if you can't express exactly what it is that you want. The fact that Buddhism in Taiwan is actually real and in China it is more of a tourist attraction probably has something to do with that, as many of the veg*n restaurants in Taiwan were popular among the local monks.

If you could hunt down your own restaurants, cook your own food, etc., it wouldn't be so bad. And there ARE some very good vegetarian restaurants scattered around mid to large sized cities. But if you are going with a tour group (especially if it is a local guide), they will be bringing you to restaurants arranged in advance that pay the guide a commission based on what you order (the same is true for the "random" gift shops you stop at along the route). They will, therefore, be very reluctant to be flexible in regards to going places that weren't pre-planned because that would mean skipping the restaurants that provide them with a portion of their anticipated income. I would suggest carrying with you dense, high energy foods (like nuts), and plan on eating a lot of rice and noodles.

Wish I could give you better news :P But my guess is that your ability to find decent vegan food will depend on what kind of tour group you are with and how easy it is to get away from them and do your own thing.

Thanks for that. When we went to Europe last summer we used a tour and I wondered why we stopped at those gift shops. That does make a lot of sense.

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