Kunming’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants

Kunming’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants
By Matt Poulter , eChinacities.com

An estimated 18000 plant species representing almost 5% of the world’s botanical diversity grow in Yunnan, and out of the world’s 600 species of edible fungus, 250 can be found in the province. It’s no wonder then that Kunming hosts some excellent vegetarian restaurants and that delicious veggie dishes can be found on any restaurant menu in the city. Here are a few of our favourites.

Kunming’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants 
Photo: treehugger.com

1) As You Like有佳面包店View In Map
Newly opened, As You Like is Kunming’s only western orientated vegetarian restaurant. If you’re not a fan of the fake meat dishes on offer at the vegetarian Buddhist restaurants in the city or if you’re being driven mad by forgetful fuwuyuan who keep adding dollops of meat to your vegetarian noodles, then you should definitely make a beeline here. The restaurant is small and homey and the staff attentive and welcoming. There are two types of pizza on the menu, tomato sauce based and cream sauce based. Both are good, but our particular favourite is the mushroom cream sauce flavour. There is also a selection of fresh baked bread, thankfully unsweetened, and as you might expect, a great range of delicious fresh salads. Last but not least, in what must be a first for a Kunming restaurant, As You Like also sells home-made chocolate!

Add: 5 Tianjundian Xiang, Wenlin Jie, Kunming
地址: 昆明市文林街天君殿巷5号
Tel: 087 1541 1715
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10:00-21:30
Price: mains around 30 RMB
Directions: Tianjundian Xiang is a small alley that runs between Wenlin Jie and Wenhua Xiang. Its entrance/exit can be found after Paul’s Shop on Wenhua Xiang or before Chapter One on Wenlin Jie.

2) Yuquanzhai玉泉斋View In Map
Yuquanzhai is one of the best known vegetarian restaurants in Kunming, and as you might expect being situated next to Yuantong Temple, it specializes in Buddhist style Chinese vegetarian. What this means is that many of the dishes are meat flavoured, without actually containing any meat. We’re not sure what actually constitutes the ‘chicken’ or ‘pork’ cubes you might find yourself munching on, but our best guess would be some form of tofu. The restaurant seems to have become quite a lot more expensive in the last year, but is still reasonably priced, especially if you’re coming from somewhere like Shanghai or Beijing.

The menu comes with handy pictures and probably the widest variety of Chinese vegetarian dishes you will find in Kunming. Watch out for the laonai yangyu, grandmother’s mashed potatoes, xilanhua chao roubing, fried broccoli and goat’s cheese, and always a trusty favourite, fanqie chao jidan (fried tomato and egg). Also worth a try are the cold dishes, which are normally plates of pickled vegetables, especially cucumber, with various vinegars and garnishes. Be warned, they can be quite spicy. In addition to the main restaurant, there is a small noodle restaurant attached to the side serving some of Yunnan’s specialty noodle dishes including mixian, rice noodles.

Add: 24 Yuantong Jie (next to Yuantong Temple)Kunming
地址: 昆明市圆通街24号(圆通寺旁)
Tel: 087 1511 1809
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10:00-21:30(ish)
Price: mains around 30 RMB

3) Green Mountain Vegetarian Restaurant高山青素食餐厅View In Map                           Although it is situated in Guanshang District, quite far away from most expat centres in Kunming, Green Mountain Vegetarian Restaurant shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s especially worth remembering if you have to head to the airport and have any time to kill waiting for late arrivals or just want a last mouthful of Yunnan before departing for home.
The restaurant has an eclectic mix of Southeast Asian flavours but Indonesian seems to dominate. The curried bean stew is very nice and the satay sauces make a nice change from the usual spicy garnishes found in Kunming. Having said this, the restaurant menu still has a large selection of more local flavours, including sautéed aubergine, garlic-spinach and lots of tofu braised in different sauces. The restaurant is clean and spacious. There is a picture menu available, which will help students or travelers struggling with Chinese, as the staff speaks little English.    
Add: 7 Guanpei Lu, Guanshang, Kunming
地址: 昆明市关上关培路7号
Tel: 087 1718 5295
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10:30-22:00(ish)
Price: mains from around 25 RMB
Directions: When traveling south on Minhang Lu towards the airport, Guanpei Lu is the final street on the right before you reach Guangshang Nan Lu.

4) Weitengsihai味腾四海View In Map
Weitengsihai is set around the expensive Green Lake area. While the prices are slightly higher than other restaurants on the list, the menu is still very affordable. We’ve included the restaurant mainly because of the hot pot option. If you’ve never eaten hot pot before, it takes the form of a large earthenware pot filled with a soup* of your choice, into which you then place whatever you feel like eating. The whole lot cooks on an internal gas stove, fitted into the middle of your table. Vegetarian delicacies that can be added to the hot pot include needle mushrooms, salty tofu slices and quail’s eggs, as well as all the usual common garden variety vegetables. The ingredients cook within minutes in the boiling soup and make a great feast with friends for that rare cold, rainy day in Kunming.

*You shouldn’t have any problems at Weitengsihai, but just to be on the safe side, emphasize that you also wish the soup to be vegetable based as opposed to chicken stock etc.     

Add: 12 Cuihu Bei Lu, Kunming
地址: 昆明市翠湖北路12号
Tel: 087 153 16088
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 11:00-22:00
Price: mains from around 35 RMB, small hot pot starts around 50 RMB, price depends on size and ingredients added.

5) Xianghaiyue Vegetarian Restaurant 香海月View In Map
Xianghaiyue not only serves great vegetarian food but is also fully committed to a sustainable and ethical production of food. The restaurant is strongly Buddhist and as such has a no alcohol policy and strongly discourages smoking. If you are a smoker however, never fear. The restaurant has a huge patio area at the front that also makes for great al fresco dining in nice weather. As the restaurant is on the third floor of a large office block building you also have a fairly good view of Kunming’s city lights.

Inside, the restaurant is not much to look at, but you probably won’t mind as you will be tucking into their delicious xiangchun doufu (fragrant braised tofu), or their san xianguoba (crispy rice cakes and vegetable sauce). As with Yuquanzhai, the restaurant has lots of fake meat dishes. The huangmengji (chicken and sautéed potatoe) is very good as is the tangculiji (sweet and sour chicken).

Add: Qingnian Lu, Binjiang Mansion Residence Area, Floor 3, Kunming
地址: 昆明市青年路延长线滨江大厦三楼
Tel: 135 2900 9586 / 5171567
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00-21:00
Price: mains from around 30 RMB

Not specifically vegetarian but featuring a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, the following restaurants are also worth a visit for non-meat eaters.

Heavenly Manna 吗哪View In Map
Add: Wenlin Jie, 74 Wenhua Xiang, Kunming
地址: 昆明市文林街,文化巷74号
Tel: 087 1536 9399
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10:00-22:00
Price: mains from around 25 RMB
Ganesh Bar and Restaurant 印象阁 View In Map
Add: 156 Wenlin Jie, Kunming
地址: 昆明市文林街156号
Tel: 087 1538 1855
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 11:00 until late
Price: mains around 35 RMB

Salvador's Coffee House萨尔瓦多咖啡馆View In Map
Add: 76 Wenhua Xiang, Wenlin Jie, Kunming
地址: 昆明市文林街文化巷76号
Tel: 087 1536 3525
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 09:00-23:30
Price: mains from around 35 RMB

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Keywords: Kunming vegetarian restaurant Kunming restaurants Kunming vegetarian

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