Shanghai is surprisingly full of great vegan eats! While Buddhist-inspired vegetarian food has long been a cradle of Shanghainese food culture, the city has seen more new modern plant-based offerings appear of late. From highend veggie fine dining to casual bowls of dumplings served on the side street or modern eateries with burgers and wraps, Shanghai is for sure friendly to vegans! Are you ready to taste all the delicious dumpling noodle soups that Shanghai has to offer? Below is Green Queen’s guide to the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in China’s financial hub.
Hui Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant
Hui Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly Chinese restaurant full of meat-free Shanghainese classics. The no-frills diner is usually crowded, a testament to their delicious menu. Most of the food contains mock meats with an array of fresh vegetables cooked in all ways – braised, stir-fried, steamed. And don’t miss out on tasting the dumplings Shanghai is famous for, meat-free of course!
Address: Hui Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant, 49 Huaihai East Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 11.00am – 9.00pm.
If Vegan is an all-vegan restaurant serving fusion dishes inspired by both Western and Chinese cuisine. Part coffee bar, part flower shop and part restaurant, If Vegan is the ideal place to drop by for a plant-based meal when you have some time and need a place to hang out. You will find some classic Shanghainese tofu-based dishes on their menu, as well as a range of healthy international fare, from salads to pastas.
Address: If Vegan, 408 Shaanxi Bei, Jing An District, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 11.00am – 9.00pm.
Green Vege Café
Address: Green Vege Café, Shop 3-301 Zhengda Lecheng, 699 Zhongshan South 2nd Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 11.30am – 9.00pm.
If you’re looking for more veganised Shanghainese food, then check out Jujube Tree, a vegetarian restaurant with many animal-free options. They have an extensive menu comprised of many modern dishes, featuring ingredients like wild mushrooms, mock meats, tofu, seitan and yams. Make sure to try the visitor-fave: Deep Fried Monkey Head Mushroom with Satay Sauce. Yum!
Address: Jujube Tree, 258 Fengxian Road, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 11.00am – 9.30pm.
Pure & Whole
Pure & Whole is a vegetarian restaurant serving primarily Western dishes with a decent variety of vegan options. Their menu features many salads, soups, wraps, pastas, burgers and healthy drinks. It is perfect for health-conscious travellers or those looking for a “clean” bite, as the restaurant is committed to using only fresh ingredients without additives or flavourings and does not have single frier in their kitchen.
Address: Pure & Whole, 1/F, Portman Complex, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 11.30am – 10.00pm.
Craving Mexican cuisine in the middle of Shanghai? Don’t fret – Maya, a Mexican-Californian restaurant is the perfect spot to get your salsa and mole fix. Though the restaurant does serve meat, it does have an entirely separate vegan menu catering to plant-based folk. Expect Lentil Enchiladas, Veggie Fajitas, Mushroom Tacos, and more. Oh, and don’t forget to try dairy-free ice cream for dessert.
Address: Maya, 568 Julu Road, Grand Plaza, 2/F Clubhouse, Shanghai, China. Open Weekdays: 5.00pm – late; Weekends: 11.00am – 4.00pm.
BMS Organics is a Malaysian chain, but it now has three locations across Shanghai serving organic vegan-friendly food. Expect to find hearty curries, vibrant bowls and nutritious salads. A rare find in the city, its allergy-friendly menu that has options for everyone – gluten-free, nut-free and Buddhist-friendly (no garlic and onion).
Address: BMS Organics Pudong District, L102, 899 Gaoke West Road, Pudong New Area District, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 10.00am – 10.00pm.
BMS Organics Huangpu District, L406, Bailian Shimao International Plaza, 829 Nanjing East Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 10.00am – 10.00pm.
BMS Jing’an District, LG2-01, HKRI Taikoo Hui, 789 Nanjing West Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 10.00am – 10.00pm.
M On The Bund
An upscale restaurant with a perfect view of the Shanghai skyline, M On The Bund (long time Hong Kongers will fondly remember their now-closed sister restaurant, the inimitable M On The Fringe) also offers diners a stand-alone healthy vegan and gluten-free menu. It’s a little on the pricier side, but we can’t think of a better place to celebrate a special occasion, what with the fabulous food and sweeping views. Their vegan set menu includes colourful Western-inspired dishes like Chickpea & Golden Beetroot Summer Salad and Tahini Dressed Roasted Cauliflower, and killer homemade Raw Chocolate Truffles.
Address: M On The Bund, 7/F The Bund, 20 Guangdong Road, Huangpu, Shanghai, China. Open Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.15pm – 10.30pm.
Another upmarket restaurant suitable for a romantic dinner date is Wu Jie. They offer various set menus comprised of completely meat-free Chinese dishes presented with a creative modern twist and using only seasonal fresh ingredients. The restaurant has been featured on the Michelin Guide before and is highly popular, so make sure to book ahead. While Wu Jie is vegetarian, they are happy to accommodate fully plant-based diners if you call ahead. Bonus for Buddhists: the menu is entirely leek- garlic and allium-free.
Address: Wu Jie, 405-7, 4/F Bund 22, 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Road, Huangpu, Shanghai, China. Open daily: 11.00am – 2.00pm, 5.00pm – 10.00pm.
Lead image courtesy of Red House Spice.