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I am a vegetarian, in Chinese

I’m about to begin a 4-city, 3-country, 7-day around the world trip, from Germany to China to Vancouver, arriving home on the morning of Election Day. And you know what I’d really like to find? A printable statement that explains in Chinese that I am a vegetarian, that I don’t eat any animals, including fish or shellfish, or anything made with animals (including fish juice in sauce, animal juice in soup, etc.). Any one have a quick pointer before I leave in a couple of hours?

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13 Responses to “I am a vegetarian, in Chinese”


  2. sadly i can ‘t help u before u live , u can write it in english, u simply try and i don’t know whether it helps.
    U must be careful in china almost all animals could be eaten.

  3. Perfect, Crosbie! Unless of course it’s all a cruel joke…

  4. If I bung your question into Google, the link I gave is within the top 5 results – your blog post is top.

    Cruel joke? On vegetarians? Sending a vegetarian to China is cruel and joke enough. I read that you have to go to certain large towns to find a restaurant that will ensure its kitchen remains uncontaminated by DNA based organisms (aside from living humans).

    Perhaps you are alluding to…
    “My hovercraft is full of eels”:

  5. There is only one word you need to learn: Bhuddist. :-)

  6. Crosbie, I was thinking along the Hovercraft lines … possibly my favoritest Monty Python sketch of all.

  7. A malicious mistranslation may be a better fate than to be tested for Buddhist apostasy in the comfy chair of an unexpected Spanish Inquisition.

  8. Unfortunately, the biggest problem is not the linguistic translation but cultural translation. You can show people that card all you want and, in big cities where they’ve been exposed to crazy western ideas, some people might get it and try to comply. The no meat, or no fish, or no poultry parts might be easy to understand, but people are going to serve you animal products because they don’t understand what the big deal is or why on earth you would care.

    The best way to solve this problem is actually, as an above poster said, to just tell them you’re Buddhist. It’s a much better “translation” than that card.

  9. Also confusing: often Chinese vegetarian food mimics meat, so if they say “vegetarian chicken” for instance, they mean mock-chicken made with soy or gluten. A number of veggie Asian restaurants in Sydney are like this at any rate.

  10. Another potentially useful link:

    There’s an interesting comment at the foot of this article:

    The problem is that most regular restaurants in china don’t serve vegetarian food. You have to go to special places to have a decent vegetarian meal. Traditional vegetarian food in china requires absolutely no meat at all, not even garlic and onion, and the woks and other equips should not have been used for meat cooking. The strict rule and small portion of people makes regular restaurant not even consider such request. Only at some temples and vegetarian only restaurants can you get real vegeterian food, and it’s quite expensive (also delicious). It’s said that they can make a duck out of tofu and you cannot distinguish it from a real duck. If you are in beijing or shanghai, this kind of place is not very hard to find.

  11. This is the link I meant to paste (but due to some antiquated use of frames wasn’t in the address bar):

  12. I’d need to consult you here. Which isn’t some thing I do! I spend time reading a post that should make people feel. Also, appreciate your permitting me to comment!

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