Monday, 1 May 2017

Vegan in Beijing: Part II

When Nick and I were trying to choose where to stay in Beijing we decided to pick somewhere within the second ring road close to a Line 2 Subway station. Beijing is huge and Line 2 runs in a loop around the central section of the city. There are also loads of connections to the other subway lines from line 2 so it's super convenient. It stops at Quianmen (an easy walk to Tiananmen Square), Beijing Railway Station, and Yonghegong where the Lama Temple is located. This was one of my favourite spots in the city, it was touristy of course but it was being used as a temple by local people as well and it had a lovely atmosphere.


We also visited the nearby Confucius Temple which we enjoyed but if you only have time for one then the Lama Temple would be my choice. After exploring the temples we'd planned to go to a restaurant called Fairy Su which was / is located just around the corner but when we arrived it appeared to have sustained some serious fire damage.

So sad but totally unsurprising - I feel like things like this happen to me and Nick all the time on our travels! Later on in our China trip we arrived at a well reviewed vegan restaurant to find that it had shut down so recently that they were just giving away their pots, pans, and plates to passers by! I think that they were rebuilding Fairy Su so if you're passing by check it out and update Happy Cow. The closest affordable spot for a bite to eat was the 100% vegan restaurant The Veggie Table which is located down a cute street a short walk from the temple. 


I wasn't super hungry and I kinda wanted to save my appetite for some Chinese food later on so I just ordered a bowl of pumpkin soup and the vegetable pate which came with pitta bread for dipping. Nick had a pesto pasta dish that looked yummy and filling. Whilst we ate we perused the guidebook and decided where to check out next.


The food here was actually really good and I think later on in the trip when I was craving more western flavours I would've appreciated it even more. It had a cosy and friendly atmosphere too which is always welcome. After a whole bunch of walking around the local area and taking a look at both the drum tower and the bell tower we decided that it was time for dinner and headed to Vegetarian Dumpling where we ordered a few dishes to share including the chive dumplings, veggie dumplings, and a gluten dish.



Most ordering in China is done by pointing at pictures on a menu. I loved this because it meant that I could get a look at the food to see if it looked super spicy before ordering. When you can't really speak the language to explain your allergies this is super useful! It also means that I don't really know the names of the dishes I ordered. As you can see the gluten really was just a huge plate of delicious gluten with a few veggies thrown in which was exactly what we wanted. We also ordered steamed rice - this isn't always on the menu so you need to either learn the word for rice or have a screen shot ready on your phone if the pronunciation is too tricky. The chunky fried chive dumplings were probably the highlight of the meal for me, I'm a huge dumping fan but in China I found that the steamed dough was often a little thick which wasn't to my taste, I'm more of a gyoza / wonton / shumai girl, but it was great to get to try a vegan versions of local dishes all the same.

The next day we headed out to the 798 Art District. We took the bus which was pretty simple thanks to Apple Maps - I'm not kidding, Apple Maps is actually useful in China! I first heard about The 798 on Emil's blog and he was totally right, it's a great place to spend the day popping into galleries, checking out the street art, and exploring the little art stores. I wont bombard you with photos but here are some of my faves.





There's one veg restaurant in the art district which wasn't our favourite ever because it had a little bit of a fancy atmosphere that didn't really fit with the vibe of the area but it was definitely the best place to grab some lunch in the 798. We had a really fun day and the whole area is well worth a visit. I think that the art changes pretty regularly too which is super cool.

After a long day of exploring a big meal was in order so we headed over to vegan spot Cloud Kitchen for burgers, pizzas, and dessert.


We ordered a little nut cheese plate to share to start off with. These little almondey bites were delicious and we devoured them and their accompanying sauces and fruits in about 10 seconds. 


We also got some nuggets to share and then I ordered the burger, I can't resist a charcoal bun, and Nick got the Hawaiian pizza. 



Nick's ordering was spot on here, the Hawaiian pizza was super good and my burger was a little mediocre - the chips were a little undercooked and the whole burger was kinda cold, I think the bun and the salad had maybe been refrigerated just before adding the burger patty which cooled the whole thing down pretty fast. Dessert wise Cloud Kitchen do muffins, raw desserts, and cookies and we decided to go for a chocolate muffin which was an excellent choice. We also grabbed some cookies to go for our Great Wall adventure the next day but more about that next time! I'd definitely recommend visiting CK if you get the chance, the staff were super friendly and the food was good value. 

If you missed it you'll find my first post about Beijing here and next time I'll be posting about my trip to The Great Wall and my very favourite vegan spot in the city.

16 comments:

  1. Great to hear more about your trip. The art district looks really fun, definitely my kind of place.

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    1. It was super cool, you'd definitely enjoy it.

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  2. Oooh, those dumplings look amazing. I LOVE a good dumpling. And that pile of gluten looks straight up my alley. Who needs veggies when you can have gluten?! I think I'd really enjoy Beijing! Maybe someday.

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    1. I hope you make it there one day to enjoy a dumpling frenzy!

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  3. Those dumplings look so perfect! And the Hawaiian Pizza!

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  4. The dumplings look great and very handy to order by pictures. Sometimes I wish the Chinese restaurants around here had photos too. :-) The Western food there looks good too.

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    1. It's super helpful especially when you're unfamiliar with a cuisine or can't speak the language.

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  5. I would pretty much sell my granny for a good plate of dumplings. Looking forward to hearing more from Beijing!

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    1. Haha, amazing! Dumplings are pretty great!

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  6. Memories! We had the set menu on or near Christmas Day at the Veggie table. Needed after a few months away from home. The art district is so good. Weird wondering around with do little structure, but I could have spent days there! It was 2011, not sure we found anywhere to eat nearby.

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    1. Aww that's cool! I really liked The Veggie Table.

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  7. That art district looks fantastic - I bet it's easy to overlook the artsy/modern side of Beijing in favour of all the great historic sites. The nut cheese plate made me laugh as there's so little on it. I would also have tackled that in mere seconds!

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    1. Ha, yeah, we devoured that pretty fast! The art district was pretty great, definitely worth exploring.

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  8. I love these posts - so many experiences I didn't have in Beijing! The dumplings look so amazeballs. I am not at all a dumpling connoseiur... but I know that over the years I"ve definitely preferred some more than others. How cool about the arts district. I didn't even know that area existed!!

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    1. The art district was such a fun area to explore. I'm excited that you're enjoying my China travel posts!

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