Friday 10 November 2017

Vegan Adventures in Shenzhen

When we were planning our travels from New Zealand to Thailand Nick and I certainly didn't intend to visit five countries in seven days but it happened. It was tiring and brilliant and I'd totally do it all over again. We flew from Christchurch to Sydney and spent 24 hours there. Next we flew from Sydney to Hong Kong where we spent one night before taking the metro over the border into China to check out Shenzhen. We were there for three nights before taking the metro back to Hong Kong, spending a night there, and then flying on to Phuket for Thailand's vegetarian festival. Phew. 

Shenzhen was on my original must-visit list for China but it didn't fit in with our plans as it's just too far south to be a sensible stop on a loop from Beijing to Shanghai. I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to go though and when I realised that getting there from Hong Kong is really easy, you just take the metro, I was sold. Okay, I made that sound a little too simple, you take the Hong Kong MTR to Lo Wu, walk across the border, go through HK and Chinese immigration, before hopping onto the Shenzhen metro at Luohu on the other side. Still, pretty simple as far as border crossings go but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't tired of carrying my backpack when we arrived. We decided to stay by Laojie station in one of Shenzhen's major shopping destinations which is only two stops on the metro from Luohu so that final section was short and fast.

As soon as we arrived we decided to get metro cards and I was very pleased to see that Shenzhen has the best metro cards anywhere in the world! Hello Kitty surrounded by desserts?! Yes please. Me and Nick both chose this one despite the lady selling them trying to push some kinda Transformers card on Nick.

Our first stop in any new place usually involves food and this trip was no exception. We arrived hungry and went straight to the nearest veggie spot on the Happy Cow app. Windlucky is located on the 4th floor of a food mall and the easiest way to find it is to go in the door between McDonald's and Watson's and to go straight up those escalators.

The menu was on iPads which had English translations for a lot of the items but there were pictures too so they weren't totally necessary. We only got stuck when we had to place the order as we had no idea which of the three buttons we should press. The staff were more than happy to help though!

We ordered the black pepper steaks, a plate of vegetable dumplings, toon fried rice, and a noodle soup and they brought some delicious tea for the table.

I was definitely concerned when I saw the soup, bright red foods are normally full of chilli, so I made Nick taste it first but the red colour just comes from all of the tomatoes that are simmered in the broth. I can't even explain how good this soup was, the thick noodles were perfect and the broth was so flavourful. I loved it and basically ate it every day during our time in the city. 

On our next visit we branched out and ordered some toon pinwheels and green dumplings alongside our soups. 

I wish I could tell you more about these but I have no idea what I'm eating a lot of the time. Thankfully you order by picture so if you see something you like the look of here you can just match it up with their menu. I'd go as far as to say that this was one of my favourite eateries in all of China, everything we ordered was spot on and I still think about that soup most days. They have two other locations in Shenzhen which are also listed on Happy Cow.

One of the main reasons that I wanted to go to Shenzhen was to visit the Window Of The World theme park. This place is kitchy, ridiculous, a little run down, and one of China's most visited theme parks. The park has miniature versions of famous landmarks from all over the world, some that we'd been to, and some that we hadn't. Their largest landmark is the Eiffel Tower which we kept seeing popping up everywhere, looming into view behind Tower Bridge, hovering behind the Sydney Opera House.

I haven't been able to do this in real life yet but this version will do until I can tick Pisa off of my must visit list!

I can only assume that they did this on purpose after you know who got elected...

There are even rides at Window Of The World! We took a miniature train ride, rode the monorail, drove a luge around a track, and got unbelievably wet on a log flume. I was totally soaked despite having been given a plastic mac, the boat started leaking as soon as we launched and our feet were hovering uncomfortably above about 6 inches of rising water until we went down the first drop and it all splashed out of the log. I also forgot to put the hood up on my free mac which meant that my hair was dripping wet by the end. It was pretty hilarious! 

Of course we took snacks with us as we weren't expecting to be able to eat at the park. We had date and nut balls from New Zealand and these soya meat snacks from Chinese Walmart. The blue ones are spicy but the green ones are just peppery. 

Of course we ended the day with our favourite soup at our favourite restaurant! The next day we decided to branch out and head to a well reviewed vegan restaurant for lunch after spending the morning exploring the shops in the Dongmen Shopping Plaza but sadly it was closed. I was far too hangry to walk far to get food so I nibbled on a soya meat snack from my handbag whilst Nick fired up Happy Cow to find us a new lunch spot. Times like these are the main reason that we bother getting local sim cards when we travel. It would be so annoying to have to go back to the hotel and start again or to just grab some crisps and a banana from 7/11. Luckily Hong Kong sims work in China so you don't need a different one, they also let you use Google maps although you'll find that Apple Maps actually works better in China. The place we found was Dengpin Vegetarian and it's a huge buffet restaurant on the second floor of a large building that was a little difficult to find. It should be easier for the next peeps though because I uploaded a picture of the outside of the building to Happy Cow.

I'll be totally honest this was one of those situations where the experience was better than the food. I love a huge confusing buffet in a foreign country where you're clearly the only westerners they've seen for a long time. I definitely enjoyed some of my choices although the purple soup was a mistake! The buns were good and I went back for more of the turnip cakes and bacon bits. Be warned that the tea is really sweet, almost unbelievably so, I've never tasted such sweet tea before.

We only had a few days in Shenzhen but I'd say that that's about right unless you're really into shopping. I bought a few cute winter things from a store called 6ixty8ight because my Aussie summer wardrobe isn't going to work during winter in Japan and I'm gonna need layers but that was it for me and shopping. Have you been to China? If so did you include Shenzhen in your itinerary?


  1. Gosh! I wish I could travel more! I know everyone says 'just do it' but it's not that easy with everything else going on. In the meantime I will continue to follow your blog and live my life vicariously thru you! teehee!

    1. I understand that feeling 100%! I definitely wasn't in a situation that made travel possible during a lot of my twenties and I always wished that I could explore more of the world. Thanks for keeping on reading and commenting, I really appreciate it.

  2. So fun! Thank goodness for Happy Cow, right? In the days before smart phones, I would make photocopies of web pages, and feverishly write down directions from one location to another. If some place was closed, we were out of luck. It's great that you're able to access it as you traipse across the globe.

    1. I know right? I remember those days. I only got a smartphone five or six years ago so a lot of my travels involved printed maps and documents with addresses and opening hours jotted down. It really sucked when you'd arrive somewhere to find it closed back in those days.

  3. Those green dumplings are calling my name. I'm a sucker for anything buffet, so I'd have been filling my face quite happily at the second place. Also, loving the Hello Kitty cards!

  4. I'm so embarrassed to say that even though I lived in Hong Kong for almost two years I never made it over to Shenzhen. That dim sum looks delicious! I am cracking up at the White House construction site!

  5. This sounds like a fun trip, I am glad that you were able to manage to make it work! I want to go just to get a metro card!

  6. Thank you for being a stellar Happycow user! Active users and reviewers like you keep it reliable. Love!


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