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What are the Different Types of Vegetarian Chinese Food?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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Vegetarianism is a popular way of life in some societies. Many people believe that being a vegetarian is too restrictive. There is, however, a wide variety of food available that meets the needs of people who abstain from meat. Chinese cuisine, for example, has numerous dishes suitable for vegetarians. Fried rice, vegetable lo mein, and spring rolls are a few examples of vegetarian Chinese food.

Spring rolls are a commonly eaten Chinese appetizer. A spring roll consists of a pastry that is rolled over and around a variety of vegetables. Before it is served, the item is deep fried, making the outside golden and crispy. Spring rolls may be eaten as they are, but they are commonly dipped into duck sauce.

Spring onion pancakes are another vegetarian Chinese food that can be eaten as an appetizer. Some people eat them as a snack. These thin pastries are basic but many people find them delicious. Making spring onion pancakes involves making dough and littering it with onions. Once this is done, the dough is separated, flattened, and shallow fried.

Starches generally play a major role in Chinese cuisine and there is no exception to that rule when it comes to vegetarian Chinese food. Fried rice is a prime example. This dish usually includes white rice which is boiled then fried. It is common for fried rice to have vegetables such as carrots, onions, and peas in it. This dish can be eaten as a main course or it can be an accompaniment.

Vegetable lo mein is prepared in much the same way. Instead of rice, however, noodles are used. Since the noodles are larger than rice, it is common for the vegetables to be larger. There may also be a wider variety of vegetables included in this dish such as cabbage and broccoli.

Those who enjoy eating a single vegetable may enjoy broccoli with oyster sauce or mushrooms with oyster sauce. The broccoli is generally steamed, but it may be cooked in a wok. When mushrooms are served with oyster sauce, they are almost always sautéed. Both of these items are generally served with white rice.

Tofu is food that is made from soy milk. This is a good item to look for on a menu for those who want vegetarian Chinese food. Although some tofu dishes may also contain meat, it is common for the tofu to serve as a meat substitute. Dishes that are usually suitable include stir-fried tofu and pepper tofu.

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