Green Lunches in Shanghai
By Rachel Nielsen, English Teacher in China with a background in Anthropology and Sustainability.
Shanghais’ craving for plant-based food is gradually increasing. And where there’s a craving, there’s away. Green lunches are getting a new look globally and Shanghai is no exception.
High-Quality Grab and Go
Plant-based is making its way into the fast-food world. And what better place to introduce a plant-based option than a pizzeria, where toppings can easily be replaced with veggie options.
Born in 2017, Homeslice makes new york style pizza a necessity in the Shanghai diet as the Homeslice fan base only continues to grow. Nat Anderson, the owner of Homeslice mentions,
“People who love us love us with a passion”. Homeslice.
English-born Nat has been a Shanghai resident for 14 years and was inspired to create a space for people to enjoy themselves. The idea manifested from a wine bar into the New York Style Pizzeria, known as Homeslice. Homeslice sells pizzas by the pie and the slice, making it perfect for grab and go afternoon snacks to late-night party-goers, and lazy nights at home with a gooey pizza sitting on the coffee table. His vision succeeded and amid the COVID chaos, Homeslice has been expanding into a staple in Shanghai, opening two new branches this year to make a collective four branches sprinkled throughout Shanghai.
Their recent expansion was creating the perfect vegan pizza. After looking into vegan cheeses for some time, Homeslice was ready for Vegan cheese but unfortunately, there were no vegan pizza cheeses on the market in Shanghai. So, how did Homeslice achieve vegan pizza Cheese? In 2019, Nat visited New York City with the mindset of trying the vegan cheese pizzas. And he did. And he enjoyed them, more than he expected. But he still wasn’t satisfied. In an interview with him, he explains, “None of them were like real cheese. And that’s what was bothering me. Getting something that’s like real cheese. With the texture and the pull and everything is quite hard. You either go for the texture or the taste.” After this, Homeslice went through 13 variations of vegan cheeses, was turned away from NUMU Cheese before they finally reached a vegan cheese conclusion.
Their vegan pizzas, which were introduced in mid-March, use soybean base cheese with cashew nut based nutritional yeast to add taste creating a parmesan like vegan cheese.
Even more impressive, they make both their vegan cheeses and their vegan meats in house. Nat mentions, “one of the key differentiating factors is we make as much as possible in-house. From meat products, like our sausages, our pickled peppers” they’re all made in their central location (158 Found Shop Location). With that being said, they now serve five vegan pizzas, with one or two seasonal vegan pizzas on rotation.
The pizzeria environment of metal tables and chairs, an open space, pizza slices waiting behind the glass counter, and the giant pizza oven in plain sight, makes Homeslice a great casual green lunch. Order an entire pie and enjoy the conversation.
After devouring a pie, take a 20-minute stroll to Gelato Dal Cuore. The perfect dessert after an afternoon lunch, Gelato Dal Cuore serves vegan gelato. They utilize Oatly milk to make three main vegan flavors, Mandarian Orange, Raspberry, and Salted Caramel. The giant front windows, farmhouse tables, natural lighting, and earth campaigns cemented along the walls make for a great atmosphere for discussion while also enjoying a sweet treat.
Scrambled eggs, poached eggs, over easy or sunny-side up. Egg Shanghai screams brunch. Everyone’s favorite meal. The farmhouse tables, homey upstairs, and egg inspired pictures plastered on the wall create an ambiance not often matched in China. While Egg serves the carnivorous diet, it also has a wide range of options for vegans.
Unlike most restaurants that claim one or two vegan options, often something as boring as a salad, Egg serves a handful of vegan food options and offers an entire drink list that can be turned vegan.
These options include vegan pancakes, porridge, desserts, and full breakfast platters. Take the entire farmhouse table for informal meetups or walk up the small set of stairs to an intimate upstairs with tables from side to side, low ceilings and the Specials menu nailed to the wall. In every direction you look, conversations are flowing, with silence non-existence especially with the kitchen in direct view and sound of everything.
Sit Down and Enjoy
Not into brunch? Try Ru IF Vegan. On the corner of Shaanxi Bei Road and West Beijing sitting above three flights of stairs, is IF Vegan. IF Vegan serves Chinese inspired dishes with a vegan twist. IF Vegan fuses a vegan bakery ambiance with, flower shop, cafe, tiny corner market, and restaurant all into one. Their dishes include vegan-based yogurt bowls, Malaysian curry, Tom Yum soup, vegan inspired stir-fries, mushrooms that replace meat, teas and coffees, bread for days, and a wall of vegan foods to take home as souvenirs. They also serve cakes on cakes on cakes. The area is spacious to accommodate large business groups while also quaint enough for intimate business dates. The attentive atmosphere, excellent food, and gorgeous view make the entire restaurant worth the three flights of stairs.
Not into bread? Looking for something a little messy? Try Yan Ge Ge Vegan Hotpot. Yan Ge Ge takes Hai Di Lao hotpot to a new level, matching in the atmosphere but flipping it on its side in an entirely vegan way. The food is in the higher price range and it shows in the quality of food, the abundance, and the flavors offered. Enjoy upscale hot pot with coworkers, and the conversation is sure to flow.
Brand new to Shanghai, DULI opened post-COVID in the summer of 2020. DULI owner, Thijs Bosma, wanted to share his passion for plant-based lifestyles in the form of food and did so with DULI. DULI is a brand new look for vegan food and a first for Shanghai as a fully plant-based Bistro.
There is no need for imitation meat at DULI as they create plates that normalize true vegan dishes. They combine elements of different cuisines to make unique dishes that might otherwise be looked past.
Their signature dishes include kimchi pasta that’s both sweet and salty, gnocchi smothered in Dan Dan sauce, Di San Xian inspired croquettes, corn porridge with Sichuan potatoes, and corn and cauliflower bao buns covered in sesame sauce and topped with pickled cabbage. Each ingredient is carefully selected to bring out unique tastes making meat forgettable. DULIs’ low lighting, tight-nit interior, and open kitchen create an intimate atmosphere that embodies vegan chic. The bistro-style lets the customer dress it up for a formal meeting or dress it down for something more casual. Enjoy lunch with a glass of wine, warm hot chocolate, or pick me up coffee.
Share a set of plates to fully enjoy the taste of DULI Dishes.
Whatever the occasion, Shanghai's plant-based options allow for lunchers to go formal and informal in the green world. Most plant-based restaurants have the flexibility to bring a formality to business lunches while also keeping things casual.
Still hungry for more? No problem, Plant-Based Restaurants, Chinese and Western alike, are exploding across shanghai. Check out the map below of all the plant-based restaurants in Shanghai. You can find this map in the Wechat Mini program under this name.
Found 158, 158 Julu Lu by Ruijin Yi Lu 200040 Shanghai, China
Hours: 11:00am -12:00am.
China, Shanghai, Jing'an District, Shanxi N Rd, Room 9 No.600 邮政编码: 200040
Hours: 12:00pm - 9:00pm
12 Xiangyang Bei Lu
Hours: 8:00am - 6:30pm
588 Zhangyang Rd, Yaohan, Pudong, Shanghai, China
Hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm