I lived in Beijing for nine years, though it was only in my last 1 1/2
years that I went vegetarian. I knew quite a few vegetarians and vegans
in Beijing, though of course most of us cooked our own meals and ate out
only occasionally. It is not difficult to get a vegetarian meal,, though
as everywhere else in the world, the word vegetarian may be interpreted
as "don't eat pork" or "seafood isn't meat". The best bet is to tell
the wait staff that you are Buddhist and eat a pure vegetarian diet.
There are several vegetarian restaurants in the city; thelatest Lonely
Planet will list the most famous and trendy though they do come and go .
Ordinary restaurants usually have a" vegetable dish" list on their menu
and you can always ask if they have any "green vegetable" (e.g. rape or
spinach) though it will, inevitably, be stir fried in oil.
VLF is extremely difficult in Bejing. Oil abounds even in vegetarian
dishes and special requests such as "no oil" will be met with puzzled or
hostile stares from the waitperson. Good luck!
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