Despite options becoming more widespread as the lifestyle increases in popularity, eating out as a vegan can certainly be a challenge sometimes. It's often particularly difficult to work out what you can have when you're eating international cuisine, as some of the dishes and ingredients are usually unfamiliar.
Chinese food can be confusing for vegans, particularly when some of the ingredients used aren't listed or names are used that you don't recognise. Luckily, Chinese food is frequently one of the most easily adaptable to a vegan diet. Just follow a few simple tips and you'll be able to find plenty you can eat.
Tofu is well known as a good friend to vegetarians and vegans, and you might already know that it was originally from China. In fact, it's been a staple food in parts of the country for over 2000 years.
This means that you'll almost always find some tofu dishes on Chinese menus, which gives you an excellent alternative to all those meat-based options. Sometimes it will be called bean curd instead of tofu, but it's the same thing.
Seitan is another ingredient sometimes found on Chinese restaurant menus. It's a meat alternative made from wheat gluten, and it has a distinctly meaty texture. You might find it called mianjin, wheat meat, or just gluten.
Many sauces are suitable for vegans, so you should have a fairly wide choice here. The thing to look out for is that no fish or oyster sauce is used. It might not be clearly listed, so ask the restaurant staff about it and they should be able to advise you.
Noodles and rice
Egg noodles are used quite often, so take care to avoid ordering them by accident as it might not be clearly stated on the menu. If you're not sure, you should be safe ordering rice noodles, as these are not usually made with egg. Alternatively, just have rice, which you can find either plain or fried with vegetables. Check that egg won't be added when frying.
The appetisers and sides are often one of the most exciting parts of a Chinese menu for vegans, with quite a selection of dishes available. Spring roll wrappers don't normally contain any eggs or dairy, so as long as the filling is vegan, these should be fine. The same goes for wontons, dumplings, and all manner of other interesting nibbles and snacks.
For more advice, contact a Chinese restaurant.