Jing Xin Lian
Voted The Beijinger’s ‘Outstanding Vegetarian Awards’, Jing Xin Lian serves very fine and creative vegetarian cuisine, which are elegant and full of traditional Chinese characteristics. Run by monks, Jing Xin Lian is a restaurant saturated with religious symbols, such as their Buddhist dish names, decoration, and even their plates and bowls. For dishes, One Finger Zen is their most popular dish; it is a veggie sausage made from Konjac and beans, providing a tender and meaty taste. Their boiled fish with pickled cabbage and chilli is also amazing, making you feel numbly spicy but cannot stop eating.
Jing Fan Café
Jing Fan Café is considered to be somewhat of an oddity in Beijing, as they mainly provide diners with Western-style vegetarian food like pizza and panini. Though most of their food looks like it could be found in any European or American restaurant, Jing Fan Café blends Eastern and Western vegetarian food styles to create a new kind of vegetarian cuisine. Their food is presented in such a way that it even appeals to non-vegetarians, and in many cases, as is the case of the tofu on their classic Sun-dried Tomato Pizza, it tastes and looks like real meat.
Beijing Gongdelin opened in 1984, and is identical to its sister restaurant Shanghai Gongdelin, first established in 1922. Rather than trying to turn the concept of vegetarian fare on its head by coming up with whimsical new combinations of ingredients, Gondelin sticks to preparing simple and traditional Buddhist-style cuisine. One characteristic of the dishes on the menu is that they try to imitate meat-based meals as much as possible. Popular options include the sweet and sour ‘pork’, the crispy ‘goose’, and the steamed curry ‘fish’.
Gong De Lin, 158 South Qianmen Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, +86 10 6511 2542
Jing Si Su Shi Fang
Hidden in a narrow winding alleyway known as a hutong, Jing Si Su Shi Fang is a small restaurant that can seat up to 52 diners. The mission of this restaurant is to make sure that their dishes, though completely vegetarian, look and taste like meat by making use of creative combinations of flavors. Due to this focus on taste, the dishes often come in small portions, but still pack a punch with delicious aromas and textures.
Cao Mu Jian
Originally a tearoom, Cao Mu Jian later transformed into a restaurant and now mainly serves healthy dishes, with properties rumoured to help maintain beauty and youthfulness. They love using ingredients traditionally thought to have medicinal properties, such as aloe, honey bean, ginkgo, taro, white fungus, and lily extracts. Moreover, they’ve stayed true to their origins and still serve a wide range of Chinese tea, which serves as a perfect accompaniment to their wholesome dishes.
Bai He Su Shi
Housed in a traditional Beijing courthouse (siheyuan), Bai He Su Shi’s ample outdoor dining area provides a beautiful backdrop of bamboo trees and lotus flowers in which to enjoy delectable vegetarian cuisine. The interior design is also remarkable due the ample collection of books and Chinese paintings lining the walls.
He Tang Yue Se
He Tang Yue Se offers a relaxing dining experience, with surroundings intended to reflect and embody the spirit of Zen. The mouthwatering dishes, true to their poetic names, are beautifully presented and meticulously crafted, and small side dishes tend to be served alongside the main course as a thoughtful finishing touch. The lighter options are colourful and creative, and include Tibetan yogurt, Chun Jiang Shui Nuan (a salad-based meal), and coconut milk with taro.
Tian Chu Miao Xiang
When visiting Tian Chu Miao Xiang, you can choose from an extensive array of filling vegetarian dishes, each of which come with a special blend of brown and white rice. Their Ji Xiang San Bao (Three Treasures) is one of their most popular options. Made from tofu, green pepper, carrot and red pepper, it tastes just like their stir-fried kung pao chicken.
Bo Wei Tang
Bo Wei Tang is a vegetarian restaurant infused with Buddhist elements and focused on promoting a Zen atmosphere. Their simplistic vegetarian fare combines traditional favourites with creative new twists. For example, they’ve added konjac and bearded hedgehog mushroom to their version of One Finger Zen (a vegetarian sausage-based dish).
Purple Pipal serves up a wide variety of healthy vegetarian dishes, using high-quality ingredients imported from Hong Kong. The restaurant focuses on blending Oriental styles of cooking with Western culinary flair. Traditional Chinese side dishes are a key point of pride for this establishment, and consist of sweet soups, snacks and even tea.