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Do most Chinese restaurants have items that are truly vegetarian?

Question by Heron By The Sea: Do most Chinese restaurants have items that are truly vegetarian?
I know all the Chinese restaurants have a “vegetarian” section, but I’m not sure if it is really what I would call vegetarian. I’m afraid they may be making things with fish or oyster sauce, or even other meats for flavoring.

I used to eat the Buddhist Delight until someone told me it was probably not actually vegetarian.

The problem is, I can never communicate well enough with the employees in the Chinese restaurants in my area to make them understand what I’m asking when I ask about the ingredients. And I can’t easily understand their response to me either. 🙁 I love them to death – they are the nicest people. I don’t mean to stereotype or anything.

Best answer:

Answer by Miss Fig
i dont think so

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9 thoughts on “Do most Chinese restaurants have items that are truly vegetarian?”

  1. How important are these minor vegetarian “indiscretions”I am Vegetarian but i don’t quite take it to that limit, which is not to say that that would be wrong, just for me at this point, it is not that deep! I want to be healthy and happy and strike the best balance that will help me achieve both ends! For now, that means sticking to “vegetarian” but not going the extra step!

  2. it shouldn’t be so hard to tell them what you want. No meat, no oyster sauce – only begetables.

  3. Most probably do have real vegetarian foods The typical brown sauce depends on soy for the meaty tang.
    Most of the Chinese restaurants in the San Francisco area have genuine vegetarian choices. Many have a lot of them. The Buddhist Delight I have encountered is definitely vegetarian.
    Your best bet is study a good Chinese cooking guide for the names and ingredients in vegetarian dishes.

  4. Well, you can ask them like this – “Zer ke yo mei yo ro”?
    It’s as simple as I can put it for you in mandarin. It means – Does this have meat in it?

    And most CHinese restuarants probably do not really cater for vegetarians.
    A true Chinese vegetarian restuarant – especially the ones you find all over South East Asia, even in high-tech Singapore, do not mix utensils or even share cooking space with shops that sell meat. They run their own shops or completely separate sections with different cooking spaces.
    Plus you should see their menus, pages and pages of different vegetarian dishes.
    Not because they’re holier than thou, but more like because they don’t want to get the meat and veg all mixed up.

    Try looking for a Chinese vegetarian restuarant, where you won’t have to keep probing the waiters and waitresses (sometimes they just tell you yes yes, even though they might not understand you, just to get it over with) whether there’s meat in it.

    You can also try out Indian vegetarian (very varied and huge selection!).


  5. I dont think Chinese restaurants have pure vegetarian menu. Even those you think don’t have anything in it, are being seasoned with meat and fish sauces to taste. Chinese foods are known the world over for their sauces.. even the smallest dimsum could not stand alone without the special sauce which is a mix of starch, sugar and oyster sauce..

    Now, if you really wanted to follow your vegetarian diet strictly, then let the chef know you don’t like fish sauces of any kind in it, then suggest what you prefer for that. When you say it, say it out loud, slow and easy and you will be understood (believe me…i must know)..anywayzzz, they would always comply since most of Chi restaurants follow the concept of ALA MINUTE which means cooked anyway you like!

  6. Well they use Ajino moto( i hope i spelled it right) which is essential and definitely not that vegetarian.

  7. I haven’t found Chinese food to be truly vegetarian so I wont eat it. Thai food is, they cater for vegetarians and respect the fact that no animal products can be served.

  8. I’ve been in this situation many a time and get many mixed signals from the waiter/waitress. It’s totally not there fault but it does get somewhat frustrating. I’ve found that most Chinese dishes do contain fish (flake or oil) or oyster sauce. Usually there is one thing on the menu you can eat, and just because it contains tofu is no indication its vegetarian. Try looking for a younger staff and once you find a dish cling to it for dear life. Below is a website with a list of vegetarian restaurants all over the U.S. Good Luck!

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