Vegan in China

China has always placed an emphasis on preventative and gentle medicine based around herbs and spices for maintaining healthy defenses. It is said, that the doctors are only paid while their patients are in good health and when they become ill, they no longer have to pay, because it is deemed that the doctor has not done his job. Looking at the rising life expectancy in the 20th century, China has kept up with it's wealthier neighbours despite the massive technology gap.

Traditionally Chinese cuisine was always largely plant based. It is what led to the "China Study", the seminal book by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, which sparked a wave of interest in plant based lifestyle in the west. A lot of rice, vegetables, beans and tofu. As China emerged from poverty, meat eating was seen as a sign of wealth and success. Unfortunately as the diet gradually changed, western illness developed at the same rate, leading to more statistic proof of the benefits of eating a plant based diet.

People in China are now waking up to the idea that they have gone too far down the meat eating path. With increasing international travel, the plant based message is being brought home. There are an estimated 30 to 50 million vegetarian/vegans in China and when a vegan event is organised you can expect 10,000 people to show up.

Beijing Vegan Festival

1. Pop Market

The food section will consist of international F&B brands making food on-site for customers to experience Beijing’s amazing plant-based culture. The branded products section will feature healthy, organic, and green brands in the categories of sports, clothing, culture, art, beauty, etc.

2. FitFest

The first-ever “Everyone Sweat” outdoor sports event in Beijing, featuring various different exercises and classes taught by leading fitness coaches from Beijing and Shanghai—yoga, Zumba dance, fit aerobics, TRX, CrossFit, etc. You can try different exercises for the whole day while exploring healthy food and trendy fitness clothes. Dry skiing brands “Summer Air” and “No Baday” will join for the main performance.

3. Rock Moon Night

China’s first-ever plant-based party night! Inspired by London’s “Vegan Nights,” this party gives you an opportunity to release yourself after a day of healthy eating and exercise. Taking place at a trendy indoor venue, the party will feature live DJs, tasty plant-based food, craft beer, organic wine, and delicious cocktails.

Regional Cuisines

Historically, the Four Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine are Chuan, Lu, Yue and Huaiyang, representing West, North, South and East China cuisine correspondingly

The North

The food in the north has to be hearty, in response to the colder weather. Cold winds come down from Siberia, cut through the Gobi desert and go directly to Beijing. So the food can be rather stodgy and heavy. The north is a wheat-growing area. There are a lot of buns and types of bread based things. They're also famous for different types of dumplings.

The Chinese steamed buns are known as baozi and can be made without meat, just using vegatables, usually including plenty of cabbage. They are like a sandwich that has been steamed;

The Southwest

The southwest includes the famous Sichuan cuisine. Sichuan Province produces the most widely served cuisine in China. Sichuan is known for what they call mala, which is hot and numbing food. They throw in lots of peppercorns along with plenty of chili and spices; it is all very fresh and numbing at the same time;

Sichuan food is most well-known for its hot and spicy flavor, though it may include sweet and sour flavors too. The most commonly used spices you can find in most restaurants are "The Five Fragrances" which consist of fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove; chili and Sichuan pepper.

Sichuan cuisine cannot do without Sichuan pepper, black pepper, chili, broad bean chili paste, shallots, ginger, and garlic. These are must-have seasonings that bring out the intense flavors the dishes are renowned for.

A famous dish is mapo doufu, which is tofu braised in the typical peppery sauce.

The South

The south is home to Cantonese cooking. Everything is about freshness and the wok being hot, a minimum amount of cooking so that freshness can come out. The dishes are lightly seasoned and do not have strong flavours, they are often tend to be a little sweet.

You see rice fields everywhere and because it's so warm, they can grow three crops of rice a year. The region is not the most vegan friendly, though the cuisine works well with Asian vegatables such as pak choi, Chinese broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, beansprouts and lotus root which has a unique, clean flavour. And tofu is great marinated.

The East

Shanghai and Fujian. Using exotic ingredients such as wild foods, wild herbs, varieties of mushrooms, bamboo. What is to be avoided is the heavy reliance on seafood; There are a lot of soups and the food presentation is important, with various decorations and cutting into shapes.

They enjoy cooking with red rice wine. This includes stir-frying with red rice wine, baking with red rice wine, quick-frying with red rice wine and deep-frying with red rice wine.

You need to be careful that seasoning sauces do not contain fish or seafood. Typical sauces include a sour seasonong with white vinegar and qiaotou (a vegetable similar to green onion and a sweet seasoning with brown sugar, anise, and cassia cinnamon.