Brand new 100% plant-based restaurant Be Vegan Go Green has recently opened in Beijing’s Metroplaza Lido Hotel to offer a Song dynasty-inspired seasonal fine-dining experience made with only plant ingredients. The restaurant is an expansion of a local non-profit organic farm enterprise, and the founders hope that the concept will reignite the tradition of healthy plant-based dining in Chinese gastronomy and change the perception of veganism in the meat-loving nation.
Run by an organic farming social enterprise in Hebei, which was founded in 2016 with a mission to provide consumers with healthy plant produce, Be Vegan Go Green is a fully plant-based fine-dining Chinese restaurant that has recently opened its doors in the Metroplaza Lido Hotel in the heart of China’s capital Beijing.
Be Vegan Go Green currently offers a 10-course tasting menu featuring traditional dishes made with a wide range of seasonal plant ingredients sourced from the non-profit’s 400-acre Hebei farm. In addition to using locally grown organic ingredients, the restaurant concept is inspired by the culinary traditions from 10th century Song dynasty era, when cooking was guided by the solar terms of the Chinese agricultural calendar.
During the Song period, eating locally and seasonally was highly popular due to the associated health and wellbeing benefits, which placed plants at the centre of food creations at the time. While a number of restaurants in China have begun creating plant-based dishes with vegan pork and beef analogues created by new food tech startups, Be Vegan Go Green is focused on showcasing a number of primarily whole-foods based plant-centric dishes originating from the Song dynasty, such as vegetable sauce radish cakes, mushroom soup, sweet papaya dessert soup and durian mooncakes. The dishes which feature mock meats will be made out of whole plant ingredients too, such as lion’s mane mushroom “chicken”, a culinary practice also dating back to the 10th century Chinese food culture.
On top of offering upscale vegan dining experiences, the restaurant sells a number of specialty cooking ingredients suitable for recreating traditional Chinese plant-based dishes at home. These include preserved tofu, spicy sauces, sesame oil, fresh noodles and stone-milled flour – all of which are sourced and manufactured on their farm. With their restaurant concept and grocery corner, the founders hope to motivate a return to the tradition of healthy plant-centric Chinese cooking at a time when China’s consumption of meat and over-processed foods is on the rise.
Be Vegan Go Green is likely to fare well with a growing demographic of Chinese consumers who have showcased a dramatic shift in interest towards health and wellbeing. According to figures at last year’s Global Wellness Summit, China’s vegetarian population has grown to 50 million, and the regional demand for fitness services has boosted industry sales by 30% within a decade.
Be Vegan Go Green (奉善斋), 3/F, Metropark Lido Hotel, 6 Jiantai Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, Open daily: 10.00am – 10.00pm.
Lead image courtesy of Be Vegan Go Green.