Trying to find quality vegetarian options on the menu’s of many restaurants in Shanghai can often be an unrewarding task. Western restaurants may have one token vegetarian selection for you to ‘choose’ from, and Chinese restaurants will find innovative ways to sneak meat or seafood into their vegetable dishes – their flexible interpretation of the word ‘vegetarian’ doesn’t help.
Spare a thought then for vegans in China. For this small but steadily growing demographic, removing eggs and dairy products from the dining equation can make it hard if not impossible to eat out. Thankfully there are a growing number of restaurants that cater specifically to the vegan palate. These are five of the best …
1) Godly Vegetarian 功德林
Gong De Lin, or Godly Vegetarian, takes the prize for oldest vegan restaurant in Shanghai, having served up Chinese vegan cuisine since 1922. Their Nanjing Road restaurant, close to People’s Square, is a quaint, classically decorated vegan Mecca that’s normally packed with hungry diners. Along with a huge variety of traditional vegetable dishes their Chinglish-laden menu features a large number of tofu and bean curd based mock meat dishes as well. Vegans who have had to avoid the dessert menu at other restaurants, will be happy to learn that they also have vegan cookies and desserts available. It’s a pleasant setting, and the food is inexpensive but it has unfortunately started to gain a reputation for being inconsistent in quality. However, on a good day it’s cheap and cheerful.
Godly Vegetarian (Nanjing Lu Branch)View In Map
Add: 445 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6327 0218
Opening hours: Daily 11:00-14:00, 17:00-22:00
They have another smaller outlet, also called Godly Vegetarian, located on Wuyuan Lu that specialises in noodle-based dishes. Be warned, although the Wuyuan Lu restaurant says it’s open until 21.00, they do have a tendency to close shop early.
Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu Branch)View In Map
Add: 97 Wuyuan Lu, near Wukang Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6471 8909
Opening hours: Daily 06.00-21.00
2) Vegetarian Life Style (Jujube Tree) 枣子树
This chain restaurant has three locations in Shanghai and is one of the better-known Chinese vegan establishments around town. They do mock meats well, their portion sizes are generous and they have a great selection of fresh juices too. Some of their fare is a bit on the oily side so, depending on what you order, it may not be the healthiest meal you’ll ever have. They do balance this by having a no-smoking and no-drinking policy. However, it is good value and they have a wide range of dishes to choose from – their dumplings alone are worth the trip.
Vegetarian Life Style (Jing An Branch)View In Map
Add: 258 Fengxian Lu, near Jiangning Lu, Jingan District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6215 7566
Opening hours: Daily, 10:30-21:30
Luwan BranchView In Map
Add: 77 Songshan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6384 8000
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00-21:00
Gubei BranchView In Map
Add: 848 Huangjinchengdao Lu, near Shuicheng Nan Lu, Gubei District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6275 1798
Opening hours: Daily, 10:30-21:30
3) Loving Hut
The Shanghai branch of this international vegan Chinese restaurant chain opened last year and it has quickly become a big hit. It’s not the largest establishment and Loving Hut have focused their attention on the student population with their Shanghai branch not exactly conveniently located in Yangpu District, close to Fudan and Tongji Universities.
Location and size aside, Loving Hut seems to have everything else going for it - great food, big portions, low prices, and fast service from friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Loving HutView In Map
Add: 506 Guoding Lu, near Zhengmin Lu, Wujiaochangzhen District, Shanghai
Tel: 15021 818 032
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00, 16:00-21:00
4) Lucky Zen 吉祥草
Close to Xintiandi, Lucky Zen serves up healthy Chinese vegan cuisine in a chilled out, non-smoking environment. They have an extensive menu full of delicious, non-greasy dishes that won’t break the bank. This, coupled with friendly service that matches the relaxed atmosphere, has made Lucky Zen a popular destination with vegans and meat-eaters alike. They also have a store area that serves tea and sells vegan snacks, books and a random assortment of antiques as well.
Its reputation is clearly starting to precede it, so it’s worth booking a table if you’re going for dinner at the weekend. Be aware that although the restaurant is open, they don’t serve food from 14.00-17.00. They are happy for you to sit around sipping tea while you wait though. Very Zen.
Lucky ZenView In Map
Add: 2/F, 428 Madang Lu, near Hefei Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
地址: 上海市卢湾区2层428 马当路 （近合肥路）
Tel: 021 6373 0288
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-21:30
5) The Freshary 芮品乐食
Ok, so it’s not a restaurant, but for all your dessert and baked goods cravings The Freshary provides the answer. Only organic, vegan ingredients go into their cupcakes, cookies, pretzels, ice creams and more. With an emphasis on sustainable ingredient sourcing, their products are available from their eco-friendly outlets on Xujiahui Lu and on Julu Lu. For vegans who have felt constrained by the limited desert options available to them, this place is a godsend. Go and indulge.
The Freshary (SML Branch)View In Map
Add: B2, SML Center, 618 Xujiahui Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
地址: 上海市卢湾区徐家汇路618号日月光中心 B2
Tel: 021 6093 8282
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Julu Lu BranchView In Map
Add: 907 Julu Lu, near Changshu Lu，Luwan District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6445 2137
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00-21:00
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Keywords: vegan eating in shanghai vegetarian food in shanghai vegan in shanghai shanghai vegan restaurants
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