• Shanghai Expat – Vegetarianism in Shanghai

    Posted on March 12, 2012 by shvc in Green News 绿色新闻.

    中文版

    By Melissa Hellmann
    Originally published on ShanghaiExpat 

    As a lacto-ovo vegetarian for a ¼ of my life, consciousness and leading a healthy lifestyle in mind and body has been a priority of mine for the entirety of adulthood. Much to my chagrin I put my vegetarianism on hold upon arrival in Shanghai 6 months ago and became an occasional pescatarian when eating out. For those unfamiliar, the many faces of vegetarianism are as diverse as the multitudes of people who engage in responsible eating throughout the world.

    Pescatarians abstain from red meat and rely on fish as a main source of animal protein. A diet of fish, grain and vegetables can provide a suitable transition for those considering becoming a vegetarian but hesitant to immediately take the full plunge. A lacto-ovo vegetarian abstains from eating any types of meat but consumes eggs and dairy products. The gamut of vegetarian diets ranges from flexatarian, a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat, to a raw vegan who eats unprocessed vegan foods that have been cooked under 115 degrees Farenheit.

    Being a vegetarian in Shanghai is a trial of dedication and resourcefulness. I have attempted to order food with my minimal knowledge of Chinese by asking for a meal without meat. Incredulously I am often delivered a meal of tofu with miniscule pieces of meat sprinkled on top. If it weren’t for a keen eye and previous knowledge of the flavor of pork, the presence of meat might have seemed imperceptible.

    The concept of vegetarianism in China remains an unexplored topic; many restaurants create soup broths from animal fat or add a small amount of meat into vegetable and tofu dishes for flavor. Concerned about consuming a healthy diet in a country where I was unfamiliar with the viable protein options, selective pescatarianism seemed a judicious choice.

    In an attempt to constantly strive for self-betterment and acquisition of knowledge I have not allowed myself to comfortably settle into my new-found pescatarianism. I would like to believe that it is feasible to be a lacto-ovo or even a raw-food vegan in Shanghai without spending an entire paycheck on protein supplements.

    Annie Taylor Chen and Kimberly Ashton, two of the three hosts of the Shanghai Veggie Club, convinced me that vegetarianism is in fact a viable option in Shanghai. Compared to other cities throughout China, vegetarianism is a more developed lifestyle with a varied selection of vegetarian restaurants and availability of products.

    The Shanghai Veggie Club began in April 2010 by Alexa Chiang as a way to gather vegetarians in Shanghai to eat together. Annie Chen joined the club in September 2010 and launched a website, www.shanghaivegetarians.com, to receive a wider audience and to easily organize vegetarians throughout the city. Annie (a vegan), Kimberly (a flexatarian) and Mary have since taken over the organization in an attempt to provide a social platform for vegetarianism.

    The Shanghai Veggie Club provides information on leading a lifestyle for the healthy, environmentally conscious individual; it is not at attempt to convert the meat-eater into a tree-hugging broccoli-eater as meat-eaters are welcome to events. Shanghai Veggie Club insists that eating doesn’t need to be an isolated event; as a vegetarian eating meals with friends can sometimes be an awkward abstinence from the main courses or a trial of personal beliefs.

    At this club everyone is on the same page. Whether a macrobiotic, a pescatarian, an omnivore or a vegan, all are accepted. Although the club strays from propaganda, Kimberly, who is also a health coach and nutrition consultant, suggests that research has proven the prevention and illness reversal that can be achieved through introducing more vegetables and less meat into a diet. Annie and Kimberly recently outlined the benefits of Vegetarianism on ‘Culture Matters’ on ICS. Kimberly suggests that the overlying philosophy behind the Shanghai Veggie Club is to: “bring restaurants and people together to enjoy good food.”

    The Shanghai Veggie Club site includes upcoming events, tips for vegetarians, vegetarian or vegan restaurants in Shanghai and various foods that could be used in a plant-based diet. Mentioned on the website is also the 21-Day Healthy Challenge, which was recently launched in Mandarin on March 5th. The health challenge is an information platform that invites people to abstain from meat and dairy products. It provides recipes of vegetarian and vegan-friendly versions of traditional Chinese recipes.

    Shanghai Veggie Club’s future plans involve conducting cooking lessons. The hosts also hope to create a tour in Shanghai throughout the Universities to teach the college students how to eat healthily. Annie plans on creating a podcast to teach expatriate vegetarians how to ask for certain dishes in Chinese. She insists: “I’m always happy to hear other people’s experiences and any challenges that they’ve encountered.”

    The Shanghai Veggie Club is a valiant effort towards awareness in a city that is experiencing rapid development; a consciousness to alternative lifestyles shortens the bridge of misunderstanding by providing restaurants and stores with the knowledge and individuals with the resources.

    Although vegetarianism is not a popular concept in China, the presence of vegetarian restaurants or vegetarian friendly options on menus has proven that Shanghai vegetarians will no longer remain silent! According towww.happycow.net, a website that lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants throughout the world, there are 30 vegetarian or vegan restaurants throughout Shanghai. Kimberly’s favorite vegetarian restaurants in the city includes KUSH, which specializes in Western style meals, and Ana Maya which caters to a more macrobiotic diet.

    Annie’s favorite vegetarian restaurant in the city is Lucky Zen & Veg, which she attests has delicious meals at a reasonable price. My personal favorites in the city include KUSH and Vegetarian Lifestyle. The international concept of ‘Meatless Mondays’, which promotes consuming a plant-based diet at least one day of the week, is also offered by some restaurants throughout the city such as Origin Café.

    Along with the advent of vegetarian restaurants throughout the city, Shanghai has made great strides by introducing vegetarian products in the stores in recent years. Tempeh was recently introduced in Chinese markets! Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a higher content of protein and fiber than tofu. Tianbei Tempeh, the Chinese version of tempeh, is now available for purchase on Taobao. The price is still relatively high due to the lack of demand. Biofarm also serves as an alternative to delivery: an individual or restaurants can sign up with a farm located in Pudong to have fresh vegetables and tofu delivered to their door.

    For those considering becoming vegetarian or interested in continuing a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, a plant-based diet in Shanghai is an attainable goal! Finding like-minded friends to share meals with makes eating at restaurants easier. Learning enough Chinese to communicate your dietary restrictions or to order popular vegetarian meals is suggested.

    An individual can also train an ayi to cook meals without adding meat products. Vegetarians throughout the city must remember that they are not alone! Suggest to your favorite restaurant or store to carry vegetarian products. The only way to achieve marked differences is to raise restaurants and individuals’ awareness. The resources and information available to vegetarians in Shanghai will only increase if the market insists on its unwavering presence in the city.

    中文版

    素食主义在上海

    翻译:Miki
    审核:Tim

    作为一个一生中有1/4时间都是蛋奶素食主义者的人,健康生活的概念及为之付诸的行动在我的整个成年时代已经成为非常重要的事情。但令我非常懊悔的是,我在6个月前到了上海之后却没能坚持我所信奉的素食主义,在外出就餐时偶尔会吃鱼。全世界有许多人投入到负责任地吃这件事上,而对于不熟悉的人来说,素食主义的流派就和这些人一样多种多样。

    鱼素主义者不吃红肉,而把鱼类作为动物蛋白质的主要来源。对于那些想成为素食主义者但还在犹豫着是否应立即下定决心的人而言,包含了鱼类、谷物及蔬菜的饮食可以成为过渡期较合适的饮食。蛋奶素食主义者不摄入任何肉类,但是会吃蛋奶制品。素食主义者的范围很广,从偶尔会吃肉的弹性素食主义者到原始素食主义者,后者只食用在华氏115度以下煮熟但未经加工的素食。

    在上海,做一个素食主义者是对忠诚与智慧的双重考验。我一直尝试着用我仅有的一丁点中文知识来点一份没有肉类的饭。令人疑惑的是,送来的饭里,总会有一点肉末撒在豆腐上。如果不是我有一双敏锐的双眼并且能尝得出猪肉的味道,那点肉可能就不会被发觉。

    在中国,素食主义的概念还是一个未被挖掘的话题,有很多饭店都在汤里放入动物脂肪,或者在蔬菜和豆腐里加入一点肉末来增加鲜味。我身处中国,但是对如何可行地选择蛋白质极不熟悉,而同时又想摄入健康的饮食,考虑到这些,选择性的鱼素主义者看起来是最正确的。

    在不断地努力尝试着自我完善和获取知识时,我从来没有让自己轻易地习惯于新实行的鱼素主义者。我愿意相信,在上海,就算不在补充蛋白质上花很多钱,做一个蛋奶素食主义者或者原始素食主义者也是可行的。

    Annie Taylor Chen 和 Kimberly Ashton是上海素食俱乐部三位组织者中的两位,他们使我相信,素食主义在上海是可行的选择。与中国其他城市相比,上海有许多素食饭店和食品,如此多样化的选择也使得素食主义成为更加成熟的生活方式。

    上海素食俱乐部由Alexa Chiang在2010年4月组织发起,旨在号召全上海的素食主义者共同聚餐。Annie Chen在同年9月加入并发起一个网站——www.shanghaivegetarians.com,从而可以在全上海吸引更多素食主义者,把他们组织起来也更容易。后来Annie(素食主义者)、Kimberly(弹性素食主义者)和Mary接手俱乐部,试着为素食主义者提供一个社交平台。

    上海素食俱乐部为追求健康生活、环境保护的个人提供信息,这不是把食肉者转变为拥抱自然的素食者的尝试,因为肉食者同样受到欢迎。上海素食俱乐部秉承的理念是,吃不必成为一件独立的事情,因为当素食主义者和朋友一起用餐时,这有时会变成不吃主要菜品的尴尬或者对个人信仰的考验。

    在这个俱乐部里,每个人都是被同等对待的。不管你是养生饮食者、鱼素主义者、杂食者或者素食者,都可以加入。尽管俱乐部没有过多的宣传,但是身为健康教练和营养咨询师的Kimberly表示,有调查证实在饮食中多吃蔬菜同时少吃肉类可以防御疾病、使病情好转。最近,Annie和Kimberly在ICS的“文化”板块概述了素食主义的益处。Kimberly表示,上海素食俱乐部背后的哲学就是“让人们一起到饭店里享受素食美食”。

    上海素食俱乐部的网站提供的消息包括最新新闻、对素食主义者的建议以及上海适合素食的餐馆和多样食品。在该网站上,也提到了最近在3月5日发起的中国版的21天健康挑战,这是一个邀请人们远离肉类及乳制品的信息平台,为素食主义者和偏素食者提供传统中餐的菜谱。

    上海素食俱乐部打算在未来开出烹饪课程。组织者还希望组织一次在全上海高校的巡回讲座,向大学生普及健康饮食的知识。Annie计划创建一个有声杂志来教外籍的素食主义者如何用中文询问菜式。她强调说:“我始终很乐意倾听他人的经历和遭遇的挑战。”

    上海素食俱乐部是经历快速发展的城市对转变认知做出的勇敢努力,是一种转变生活方式的意识,通过向饭店和商店提供知识、向个人提供资源来减少误解。

    尽管素食主义在中国不是一个大众化的概念,但素食餐馆和菜单上可供选择的素食制品的出现已经证明,在上海, 素食主义者不再保持沉默!根据www.happycow.net网站上列出的全世界的素食餐馆,全上海就有30家。Kimberly最喜欢的上海素食餐馆就包括KUSH和Ana Maya,分别以西餐和养生饮食为特色。

    Annie最喜欢的上海素食饭店则是吉祥草,食物美味且价格合理。我最喜欢的餐馆则是KUSH和枣子树。而上海一些像Origin Café的饭店还提倡“周一请吃素”这一国际概念,旨在号召大家一周内至少有一天的饮食以素食为主。

    随着素食餐馆的出现,近些年,上海在将素食制品引入商店这一方面进展巨大。最近,天贝就被引进中国市场。天贝是一种比豆腐有更高蛋白质与纤维含量的发酵豆制品。现在,淘宝上已经可以购买到天贝了,但由于需求较少,价格仍然偏高。百欧欢有机生态农场也可以作为运送商的选择之一:个人或者餐馆都可以与这家位于浦东的农场签订协议,后者就会将新鲜蔬菜和豆腐送货上门。

    对那些考虑成为素食主义者或对素食的生活方式感兴趣的人而言,素食饮食在上海是一个可以达成的目标。寻找志同道合的朋友一起在餐馆吃饭会更加容易。我们还建议大家学习汉语,这样就可以从容地表达你的饮食禁忌或者点那些普通的素食菜式。

    大家也可以请一个阿姨,让她不要在做饭时放入肉制品。上海的素食主义者们必须记住:你们并不孤单!可以像你们最喜欢的餐馆或商店建议多进一些素食制品。唯一可以产生重大影响的方法就是加强餐馆和个人的意识。如果素食市场在上海可以不断发展,那么素食主义者可以得到的相关资源和信息就只会不断增加。