International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

International Meat Free Day is celebrated on November 25th. It is also known as International Vegetarian Day.

The special day was proposed for November 25, 1986, the birthday of Sadhu Vaswani, the educator who initiated a mission to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.

It is estimated that there are 50 to 68 million vegetarians in China and the number is growing every year. In Shanghai alone, there are 298 registered vegetarian restaurants on Dianping.com, a restaurant rating app.

Vegetarian diet has a long tradition in China. Before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), when meat sources were scarce, the majority of the population had to follow a vegetarian diet. However, there are records of the promotion of healthy eating in Master Lu’s Annals of Spring and Autumn (吕氏春秋), a classical Chinese text dealing with health in excess satiety around 239 BC.

The Yellow Emperor’s Esoteric Writing (黄帝内经), an ancient Chinese medical text (compiled 221 BC), promoted a balanced diet, saying the diet should be centered on grains, supplemented with vegetables and fruits. In addition, meat also has health benefits, it said.

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Main grains consumed in China.

The vegetarian diet underwent major development in the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 9), when a plethora of new vegetables and seeds were introduced from the West, including celery, coriander, broad beans, cucumbers and garlic.

In the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), an important development in the vegetarian diet was the invention of dishes made with vegetables that resembled meat.

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Konjac is said to look like tripe

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

A bean product processed with tofu that looks like fish

The two main ingredients for these vegetarian dishes are bean products like tofu. A food originally from China, it has been part of Chinese cuisine for over 2,000 years, since the Han Dynasty. No wonder it has become one of the most popular vegetarian dishes.

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Fried tofu with sweet and sour sauce

Another important ingredient in bean-based dishes is suji (素鸡). It’s made from tofu and its chewy texture is similar to meat, so it’s also called veggie chicken. It can be made into dishes that taste like fish, shrimp, and even pork.

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Bagged veggie chicken sold in an overseas supermarket.

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Suji alone can be made into a delicious dish.

There is also a popular vegetarian food ingredient – wheat gluten (面筋). Made from flour, it can be used to prepare a number of mock meat dishes. Thinly sliced ​​and seasoned with spices, it looks and tastes like meat.

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

As health preservation and environmental protection are increasingly embraced by the public, vegetarian food has attracted increasing attention over the years. In a 2019 industry report, the industrial gross production value of vegetarian food industry in China reached US$11.952 billion.

If you want to try highly rated vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai, here are some recommendations.

Qingchun Perma

The top rated vegetarian restaurant on Dianping.com. Dianping users recommend their black truffle fried rice the most.

Location:

4th Floor in Taikoo Li Qiantan Shopping Mall. W-L4-01

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue
International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Fried rice with black truffle

The Lakeside Vegetables

Dishes recommended by Dianping users: Fried lotus root with sweet and sour sauce; Matsutake soup and sliced ​​mushroom.

Location:

#016-017, 2nd Floor at Poly Sunny Walk Plaza (#230, Ruiping Rd)

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue
International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue
International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

Fried lotus root with sweet and sour sauce

VEGEGOOD

Dishes recommended by Dianping user: Taiwanese burdock rice, Dai flavored bean cutlets, avocado salad with flaxseed

Location:

No. 411, Madang Rd

International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue
International No Meat Day: Fake meat dishes and other vegetarian dishes are in vogue

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