Funnily I can’t even say if I found it hard or easy to be a vegan in Shanghai. But I guess if I think about it, I would say: there are places where it’s way easier to find vegan food choices. Maybe if you have a little bit of practice and routine of what to eat you’ll be fine, but definitely it is not the most vegan friendly city!
Over time I developed a “travel kitchen” that I bring with me no matter where I go. I never had any issues “importing” those items, but rather ALWAYS have been grateful I had them with me (those late nate hunger attacks in a hotel room are killers haha).
My steady travel buddies are
- corn crackers
- a spoon
- foldable bowl
Once I arrive (and no matter how tired I am) I go out to buy some bananas (or any other fruits) as well as a plant based milk. In America I find it easiest to buy Almond milk, here in Shanghai I found it easiest to find oat milk.
Often you are able to find vegan milks in the big supermarkets. In Shanghai I found the oat milk in a place called “Olé Supermarket” in a shopping mall.
In general, Chinese food consists of a lot of fish and meat. I was lucky enough to travel with a local girl who spoke perfect English as well as my native language, so I was able to ask her to tell the waiter (who often didn’t speak too good English) what I wanted and what I didn’t want.
If you don’t happen to travel with a local, use google translater to communicate with the waiter. It has saved my life so many times! (not literally haha)
If everything fails, traditional Chinese stamples are also rice and lots of vegetables – which happens to be vegan 😉
A really useful tool to use while traveling is an app/website called “happy cow“. Type in your location and whether you are looking for a vegan or vegetarian place and they will tell you where to go. Many of those restaurants offer meat substitudes.
If you are looking for more of a Western meal, I have heard of a place called “cool docks“. Supposably they have it all: Indian, Italian, American,….
Note: I am not sponsored by any of those brands! I just found this to be really helpful and want to share anything I benefit from 🙂