Hello, i am a vegan and I just moved to Kunming for a year to study chinese. I am having a bit of difficulty here with the food though, and I couldreally use some advice from more experienced people. I have already found the lists of vegan and vegetarian restaurantsin Kunming, but Iwanted to ask about the usual chinese restaurants, because i have heard that even when they make you some dish only out of vegetables, then the sauce still probably contains some animal products, like the broth used to make the sauce etc. Is that true, should I stick to only the vegan and vegetarian restaurants if I want to stay vegan in Kunming?Also, are the baozi-s which dont contain any meat vegan or just vegetarian, and the mantous should be vegan right? I feel that the people here arent very helpful with the vegan thing, the waitresses seem to be a bit bothered when i say I want only a vegetarian meal, so I am already afraid to ask sometimes. Also, when there are any vegans or vegetarians living here who would like to meet me i would be really happy.You can just write to my email - [email protected]
It's probably the best place for vegans, as you find many fruits and vegetables on the market all the year round. Cook yourself.
If you're concerned about the quality of food then cook yourself. The majority of restaurants use "recycled" oil. Just ask your friends/neighbors about gutter oil( digou you) if you need motivation to cook at home.
Besides that even when you ask for no meat it usually comes with it. Then heaven forbid you send it back/refuse to pay... If you don't know the owner/cook/someone who works there it can be a lot of trouble ensuring it's vegan.
If you do fancy eating out, there are a number of Buddhist temples that serve food. Nice environment and I assume vegan.
As for other chow houses.
Beware vegetable dishes as they will often be cooked in chicken/pork stock.
Try this place out: www.gokunming.com/en/listings/item/tus_33006/tusheng_shiguan
Certainly no digou you there and they are really nice people. I'm sure you'll have no problem getting good vegan eats there.
Hey, thanks for the advice everybody so far, i will definitely try out the restaurant Kirkpatrick suggested, and also I guess then stay away from the usual chinese restaurants. As for cooking myself, I would not have any problem with the motivation but i am living in a dormitory where I cant cook, so that is a bit problematic. I will see though, maybe I will still find an apartment, because I cant really imagine not cooking for a year, especially in a place where there are so many good things to make food from.
If you are on a specific diet it is well worth getting your own pad.
I think people here don't know what is a vegetarian, I even heard some Hui people(Muslim) eat at a han resturant, what they say is "just no pork". No offense, just some truth. So I think maybe the resturants here even don't know what is a "vegan". Wish you good luck.
I think "As you like it" has vegan dishes, certainly no less than vegetarian. My vegan friends used to go there.
Honestly, I would just do like I do and repress everything about what oil the food might be cooked in, otherwise I could never eat in restaurants in China. Then one could just order most vegetable dishes and be happy, it's not like the chinese usually use milk in their dishes anyhow, and eggs are quite easy to avoid because the name of the dish usually contains some reference to them.
The sad truth is probably that if you are not prepared to do this, your restaurant options in China will be extremely limited, and this will be insanely bothersome if you ever go travelling, for example.
The only other option would be to really be prepared to be a bit obnoxious, and tell every restaurant that you go to exactly what your requirements are for eating there. If you have enough language skills to do this, it should work, I've seen it work for one girl in Japan, you just have to be prepared for some cooks giving you weird looks and such.
One problem with this later approach though, is that restaurant owners in Kunming might not even have a clue whether there are animalic products in their cooking oil or not; it might even have been dragged up from the sewers. So back to my repression option...