Vegetables with a Vengeance: Meat-free Dining in Chengdu

Vegetables with a Vengeance: Meat-free Dining in Chengdu

Like most other Western foods in Chengdu, or China for that matter, many vegetarian restaurants never seem to get it quite right. However, there are a few that are surprisingly good, even if their menus overly emphasise tofu-based dishes. That’s fine, if you really love your tofu. However, for those who like variety, there are realistic alternatives; vegetarian restaurants that feature Western and traditional Chinese food, and less tofu. Here are three of the most popular options in Chengdu.

1) Jujubetree Vegetarian Lifestyle Restaurant 素食 View In Map
A previous experience with this chain of restaurants was in Gubei, Shanghai, and the Chengdu kitchen is just as impressive. They come on a little too strong about their “no smoking, no alcohol, no egg, no meat policy”, and they wouldn’t allow a photo. But once you get past all that, it is probably the best vegetarian food in Chengdu. The menu includes favourites from around China and the West, and is written in Chinese, English and Japanese. Service is quite good.

They have a lot of imitation meat dishes, which seems to appeal to some vegetarians, while sending others into a rage. Imitation is certainly a plus for the non-vegetarians, and there are also plenty of non imitation meat dishes to make up for it. The servings are a little small, and the price a little high, but if you want the best, you must be prepared to pay for it.

Add: 4F, Bojincheng Shopping Plaza, 27 Qinglong Jie, Qingyang District, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8628 2848

2) Wenshuyuan Temple Vegetarian Restaurant 文殊院素 View In Map
This restaurant is apparently vegetarian because it is located inside the grounds of the Wenshu Monastery. It has quite a large selection of traditional vegetarian and meat substitute dishes. The menu is written in Chinese and English, and has pictures. Even though there is at least one English speaking waiter, staff are a little slow at times, and need to be called when service is required. Prices are reasonable. There are also two outside dining areas.

Particularly enticing is the fake meat dish called “Sweet and Sour Pork”. It tastes just like the real thing, but hopefully a lot healthier. Another quite enticing meat substitute is “Vegetables with Bamboo Shoots”. Also recommended is the mashed potato fake fish dish, “Douban Yu”. It is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Chengdu, and is independent. For this reason, it seems to have a more local flavour.

Add: 15 Wenshuyuan Jie, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8693 8703

3) A Lotus on the Water Vegetarian Restaurant 清水荷花 View In Map
This is sometimes confused with the vegetarian restaurant inside the monastery, so make sure you have the right one. Many foreigners recommend this restaurant, and for good reason.  The food is tasty, the setting is pleasant, and the service is friendly. However, many foreigners are also critical of the large number of fake meat dishes. This criticism of vegetarian restaurants seems unwarranted. Any business should cater to as large a clientele as it can, and many people don’t want to go to a restaurant that has all tofu dishes.

There are a lot of fake meat dishes, but they are good quality fakes. They taste just like the meat they claim to be imitating. Many Australians enjoy Beef and Black Bean in Australian Chinese restaurants, and the Lotus vegetarian offering tasted just like that. However, the menu is only in Chinese, so it is a little difficult to order if you can’t read Chinese, even with the pictures in the menu.

Add: 2F, 31 Baiyunsi Jie, Wenshu Fang, Qingyang District, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8692 1839   

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Keywords: Vegetarian dining Chengdu meat free restaurants Chengdu vegetarian restaurants Chengdu


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