Meat production is a major polluter, and let’s face it, when we can’t even trust that our beef is not just pork soaked in chemicals, then there is something wrong. Fortunately, Beijing’s culinary landscape is full of delightful vegetarian options, whether it’s tofu-made burger or some taro with pumpkin casserole. Let us take you on a tour of vegetarian restaurants that will make you wonder why people ever started eating meat in the first place.

The Veggie Table 吃素的 Beijing’s newest vegan hot spot is committed to providing the Beijing community with healthy, plant-based Western and international cuisine, which shines, despite its non-use of animal ingredients. The Veggie Table sources organic where possible, and is expanding their menu to include more wheat-free and sugar-free items. They also serve as a pick-up location for the organic Little Donkey Farm.11am-11pm. Closed Tuesdays. 19-2 Wudaoying Hutong, Yonghegong (Lama Temple), Dongcheng District (6446 2073,BeijingVeggieTable@gmail. com)东城区雍和宫五道营胡同甲 19号

Element Fresh 新元素 This Shanghai-based chain’s fresh, healthy meals are a hit with pretty much everyone, and vegetarians are well looked after with a good range of salads, meat-free pasta options and the delicious hummus – virtually a meal in itself. There are also a few vegetarian sandwiches, like the “California Hippie.” The salads come in huge portions, so be sure to bring a friend. 1) Mon-Fri 10am-11pm, Sat-Sun 7am-11pm. S8-33, Bldg 8, Sanlitun Village South, 19 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6417 1318) 朝阳区三里 屯路19号三里屯Village南区8号楼 S8-33; 2) Daily 10am-11pm. 6 Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (6433 5058) 朝阳区将太路6号

Jing Fun Veggie Cafe 净饭 Known as probably the only place in Beijing to find the Indonesian traditional food tempeh, this western style vegetarian restaurant imports ingredients globally, focusing on pure veggie dishes. Daily 10am-10pm. 1 Bishui Yuntian, Wanliu Zhonglu, Haidian District (8256 5205) 海淀区万柳中路碧水云 天底商1号楼 (海淀国税局西)

Lily Vegetarian 百合素食 Voted “Outstanding Vegetarian” in the Beijinger’s 2011 Reader Restaurant Awards, this place presents scrumptious mock meat dishes. The sweet and sour pork is highly appreciated, as is the pumpkin soup. 1) Daily 11am-10pm. 23A Caoyun Hutong, Dongzhimennei Beixiaojie, Dongcheng District (6405 2082) 东城区东直门内北 小街,草园胡同甲23号; 2) Daily 10am-10pm. South Gate of Yiheyuan (Xinjian Gongmen), Haidian District (6287 8726) 海淀区颐和园 南门(新建宫门)

Lotus in Moonlight 荷塘月色 素食 Quiet and relaxing, Lotus in Moonlight is a good spot for an escape from meat. 1) Daily 11am-2pm, 5-9.30pm. East Gate 4, Workers’ Stadium, Chaoyang District (6268 0848) 朝阳区工人体 育场4号门; 2) Mon-Fri 11am- 2pm and 5-9pm, Sat-Sun 11am- 9pm. 3/F, Disanji Creative Space, 66 Beisihuan Xilu, Haidian District (6268 0848/1318) 海淀区北四环 西路66号第三极3层; 3) Mon-Fri 11am-2pm and 5-9.30pm, Sat- Sun 11am-9.30pm. 12 Liufang Nanli, Chaoyang District (6465 3299) 朝阳区柳芳南里12号楼

Pure Lotus Vegetarian 净心 莲 Voted “Best Vegetarian” in the beijinger’s 2011 Reader Restaurant Awards, Pure Lotus knows how to impress you on a breath-taking level. Whether you’re a real veggie or just merely curious, put on your napkin and brace yourself for an amazing dining experience. Daily 11am-11pm. 1) Tongguang Bldg, 12 Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6592 3627, 8703 6669) 朝阳区农展馆南路12号 (通广大厦内); 2) 3/F, Holiday Inn Lido, Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (8703 6668, 6437 6288) 朝阳区首 都机场将台路丽都假日饭店三层

Still Thoughts Vegetarian Restaurant 静思素食坊 Enchanted by a series of beautiful and complicated Chinese titles for their creative offers, you’re surely going to experience an authentic Buddhist meal. Daily 10.30am-10pm. 1) 18A Dafosi Dongjie, Yuqun Hutong (turn right onto Yuqun from Dafosi, which continues from Meishuguan Dongjie), Dongcheng District (6400 8941) 东城区大佛寺东街甲 18号育群胡同(美术馆东街往北); 2) 30A Gaoliangqiao Lu (inside the Meiyuan Hotel), Haidian District (6225 5792) 海淀区高梁桥路甲30号 (梅苑饭店大院内)

Tianchu Miaoxiang Vegetarian 天厨妙香素食 As indicated by its name, this veggie place brings in the taste of heaven. It’s been highly popular and regarded since its opening in 2003. Both Chinese and European dishes are available. Daily 10am-10pm. 1) 1/F, Chuangye Bldg, Qinghua Keji Yuan, Haidian District (6279 7078) 海淀区清华科技园创业大厦一层; 2) Ste 260, 2/F, Tower D, Chaowai SOHO, Chaoyang District (5900 1288) 朝阳区朝外大街乙6号朝外 SOHO大厦D座2楼0260号

Vegan Hut 维根小屋 If you’re craving some simple and fresh veggie fare but are afraid of MSG and overuse of oil and salt, you can save yourself the worry at Vegan Hut. Popular items include their vegan tofu hamburger and vegan ice cream. Daily11.30am- 10pm. Stall 0912, 2/F, Bldg 9, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District (5869 9856, 139 1172 9610) 朝阳区东三 环中路39号建外Soho9号楼2层0912

Xu Xiang Zhai Vegetarian Restaurant 叙香斋 This is definitely a vegan place worth trying after hitting the Lama Temple and Guozijian. The buffet, with a set price of RMB 68/person, is always a good deal. Daily 10am-9pm; lunch buffet 11.30am-2pm, dinner buffet 5.30-9pm. 26 Guozijian Dajie, Dongcheng District (6404 6568) 东城区国子监大街甲26-1号

Samadhi Vegetarian Restaurant and Teahouse 三摩地素食茶 艺空间 This Buddhist-themed eatery starts its presentation with some faintly-scented candles and long-drawn-out Ch’an music, followed by genuine vegetarian dishes (non-mock meat) made by organic ingredients. Their chrysanthemum and tofu soup has also stolen the heart of many eaters. Daily 11am-10pm. 2/F Shifanghaoting, 16 Xinyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (8453 1644) 朝 阳区新源南路16号世方豪庭2层

 

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