Are you a new vegetarian? Even though vegetarian and vegan eateries will provide you with plenty of options, you can still eat at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Before you order your next meal, take a look at the top Chinese food options for people who don't eat meat.
What Types of Appetizers Can Vegetarians Eat?
Whether you're a fan of egg rolls or have always enjoyed dumplings, some of your favorite Chinese food picks are also available in vegetarian varieties. If you're not sure what apps to order now that you've gone meatless, ask the restaurant's staff if they serve the following options:
- Veggie spring rolls. Like egg rolls, spring rolls are (as the name implies) rolled in a wrap. But instead of the crispy, bumpy texture of an egg roll, spring rolls are light and smooth. While both are often available in vegetarian versions, spring roll wrappers are typically eggless, making them a vegan option.
- Salads. Even though you may not think of a salad as part of Chinese cuisine, many restaurants offer this vegetable-packed option dressed with a sesame, ginger, or other spiced toppings.
- Vegetarian dumplings. Pork dumplings are no longer on your appetizer menu. But now you can start your meal with the vegetarian alternative.
- Noodles. Sometimes noodles are a main meal choice—and other times noodles with veggies or sauce are an appetizer.
Along with these options, some Chinese eateries may offer vegetarian soups. Before you order, ask the staff whether the soup broth is made from chicken, fish, or another similar non-vegetarian base.
What Main Menu Items Are Available for Vegetarians?
Now that you have an idea of what you want to start your meal with, it's time to move on to the next course. Popular Chinese cuisine options for vegetarians include:
- Tofu. Some restaurants will switch out beef, pork, chicken, or seafood for tofu. This could include friend, sweet-and-sour, garlic, orange, General Tso's, or another tofu selection.
- Vegetables. Vegans and vegetarians can eat sauteed or steamed veggies as part of a meal or the main course.
- Noodles. Aside from a noodle appetizer, you can also choose a meat-free main course. Even though noodles alone are vegetarian, some menu items that include noodles may have beef, chicken, or seafood included. Specify that you want a completely vegetarian version.
Like noodles, rice is a menu option that is sometimes completely meat-free. A main menu item may include either steamed or fried rice with vegetables or tofu. If you're a vegan, make sure vegetarian fried rice is also egg-free.
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