Guide to Vegetarian Food in Shanghai

How prevalent is vegetarian food in Shanghai?

There are many choices for vegetarians in Shanghai. The Chinese language word for vegetarian food is Sù shí (素食).

There is also a community platform for vegans in Shanghai operated by Plant Based Consulting. This group holds events and runs a community platform on WeChat called Vegans of Shanghai (VOS). You can join the VOS WeChat official account by scanning the QRCode in this posting.

We have a list of vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai at the end of this article.

Buddhist Vegetarian Food in Shanghai

China has a long tradition of vegetarian food connected to its own indigenous Taoist religion, as well as the imported Buddhist religion. Buddhist vegetarian-style food in Chinese language is called Chī zhāi (吃斋).

Although not all sects of Buddhism are vegetarians, and in fact Buddha himself ate meat occasionally, the sect most popular in China is predominantly vegetarian and strictly requires its monks to be vegetarians.

The Tibetan and Japanese Zen sects of Buddhism, however, are much less strict towards vegetarianism.

Some Western vegetarians might not like traditional Chinese vegetarian foods due to the predominance of mock meat dishes made with Seitan (pronounced "say-tahn"), (miàn jīn - 面筋) or Soybean Tofu (Dòufu - 豆腐).

Seitan is actually wheat gluten, so people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance need to be careful when eating vegetarian food in Shanghai.

Vegetarian Food in ShanghaiDashu Wujie Vegetarian Restaurant

Western Style Vegetarian Food in Shanghai

Fortunately, there are more and more Western-style restaurants with vegetarian food in Shanghai as well as Chinese vegetarian restaurants with more focus on vegetable dishes than mock meat dishes.

One of the most popular western style Shanghai vegetarian restaurants is Pure and Whole which was established by expats.

Many other Western restaurants and chains in Shanghai, such as Element Fresh, Wagas and Sproutworks offer a wide choice of vegetarian food on their menus.

Shanghai Stores Selling Vegetarian Food

You can find vegetarian food in Shanghai at many stores such as Sproutworks and Hunter Gatherer which also have small restaurants at some of their branches.

You can also order vegetarian and vegan food from many online stores such as Kate and Kimi.

Vegetarians in Shanghai will also be happy to know that organic vegetables are widely available here. You can find organic produce at many supermarkets including Carrefour, as well as order online directly from many organic vegetable delivery services in Shanghai.

Vegetarian Restaurants in Shanghai

Restaurants with Western style vegetarian food in Shanghai:

  • Pure & Whole Shanghai 
    Jingan Shanghai Center (Next to Portman)
    1376 West Nanjing Rd.
  • My Wheat Shanghai
    Jingan District
    Xinzha Road 1990, No. 5
  • Green Vege Café
    Xuhui District: 3/F, Touch Mall, 679 Zhongshan Nan Er Lu
  • Anna Maya
    Xuhui District: 3 Taojiang Lu, near Hengshan Lu 
  • Sproutworks Shanghai
    Xintian Di, Pudong, Hongqiao, Changshu branches
  • Hunter Gatherer Shanghai
    1. JingAn district135 Yanping Rd., Shanghai (Near Wuding Rd.)
    2. HuangPu district150 Hubin Road

Taoist style vegetarian food in Shanghai:

  • Five Taoist Temple Vegetarian (Wu Guan Tang)
    Changning District, 349 XinHua Rd., near Dingxi Rd.
  • Taoist vegetarian food introduction article.

Buddhist style vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai:

Modern Chinese vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai:

  • Dashu Wujie Vegetarian Restaurant
    1. Xujiahui: 392 Tianping Lu, near Zhaojiabang Rd.

    2. The Bund: 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, 4/F
  • New Age Veggie
    5/F NO.988, HUAIHAI ZHONG ROAD, SHANGHAI
  • Veg Inn (Sichuan style)
    Xuhui district: 1585 Huashan Lu, near Taian Lu, 
  • Vegetarian Lifestyle 
    1. Jingan, Jiangning Rd. Store

    No.258 Fengxian Rd.
    2. Luwan, Huaihai Rd. Location
    1/F, No.77 Songshan Rd.
    3. Gubei Location
    NO.848 Huangjincheng Rd.
    4. Pudong Location
    3/F, Star Fitness Club, Yuanshen Sports Centre, NO.1458 ZhangYang Rd.
  • Green & Safe
    Xuhui district

    6 Dongping Lu, near Hengshan Rd.
  • Taiwan Jen Dow: 
    Jingan District: 151 Yuyuan Lu near Wanhangdu Lu 

You might like these

Return to our Shanghai Expat Health Main Page