The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Chinese Food for Chinese New Year

In the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the year of the hardworking, honest ox! Food is a big part of Chinese New Year – it’s said to be the most important meal of the year in Chinese culture – and although every region and household has different customs, this special meal will usually include delicious spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, and much, much more. Want in on that? We put together this guide for a vegan Chinese New Year celebration that you can have at home.

Vegetarian meat can be traced back as far as the banquets of mediaeval Asia and the Tang dynasty, but here’s how you can veganise your Chinese New Year in 2021:

  • Off the Shelves

  • M&S

    M&S Plant Kitchen has a must-try vegan version of a Chinese takeaway favourite. Its Sweet ’n’ Sour No-Chicken is the perfect vegan takeaway treat, made from pea-protein and with eggless fried rice. Pick it up at your local store for a great main dish at your New Year’s feast.

  • ICELAND

    If you love a veggie spring roll, you’re in for a treat with Iceland’s No Duck Spring Rolls. Traditionally eaten on the first day of spring in Southern China, spring rolls are a popular dish that often feature in Chinese New Year celebrations. Yum.

  • ASDA

    You can grab vegan chow mein right off the shelf from Asda and have oodles of noodles in minutes! Chow Mein is a well-loved dish in China and around the globe, so if you’re thinking of adding it to your table this Chinese New Year, try Asda’s Plant Based Veggie Chow Mein.

  • Ready to Go

  • ITSU

    The beloved bao bun originates from China, but these cloud-like buns have been enjoyed across Asia for thousands of years. Itsu’s delicious steamed buns can be ready and on your plate in 60 seconds and are even marked with a little green dot so you know they’re vegan. Did you know bāo means treasure in Mandarin? You can go treasure hunting and find them in a supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Ocado.

  • LINDA MCCARTNEY

    Linda McCartney has made it super easy to assemble vegan hoisin duck pancakes from your kitchen in just a couple of minutes. One of these kits gives you everything you need – from the vegan duck to the Chinese-style pancakes. Keep an eye out for these magical boxes in supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s.

  • OMNIPORK

    We’re so, so excited about this brand and can’t wait for it to hit UK supermarkets! These handmade dumplings are filled with OmniPork and diced carrot. Loved in Northern China, dumplings are a must-have at Chinese New Year. Occasionally, a coin is placed in one of the dumplings, and whoever finds it in theirs will have great luck that year. Not if they choke, though, so be careful out there.

  • Do It Yourself

  • CRISPY CHILLI TOFU

    BOSH! has an extensive range of recipes, including one for the perfect Chinese takeaway – Crispy Chilli Tofu. Made with orange juice and sweet chilli sauce, it will definitely leave you wanting seconds.

  • VEGAN CHINESE NOODLES

    Jamie Oliver has created an easy, speedy, super-tasty vegan Chinese noodle recipe. Packed with mushrooms, spinach, courgette, chilli, and spring onion, you can serve up to four people at your Chinese New Year feast with this delightful dish.

  • KUNG PAO CAULIFLOWER WITH RICE

    Co-op’s Kung Pao Cauliflower is a vibrant vegan take on Chinese Kung Pao chicken. This is an exciting main that you can make with simple ingredients from your local Co-op, or you can just make the cauliflower and have it as a delicious side dish.

  • VEGETABLE GYOZA

    You don’t need any extra equipment or hard-to-find ingredients for this simple BBC Good Food Vegetable Gyoza recipe. With easy step-by-step instructions, you can have 18 homemade vegen dumplings in 30 minutes. All you need is plain flour, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, ginger, sesame seeds, and soya sauce. Get creative with your dumpling shapes and have fun making them as well as eating them!

  • GIANT SPRING ROLLS

    If bite-sized spring rolls aren’t hitting the spot for you, try Katy Beskow’s Giant Spring Rolls. This recipe is from her 15 Minute Vegan on a Budget cookbook, so it’s quick and easy. The recipe calls for tortilla wraps to hold all the veggie goodness together, making the ingredients easy to find.

  • SALT & PEPPER TOFU

    The Hungry Gecko has created a perfect dish for your banquet. This Salt & Pepper Tofu recipe is fresh and crunchy with a good kick of chilli heat. Another easy dish that can be ready to serve two to three people in just 15 minutes.

Thinking of Going Vegan?

If all this wonderful vegan Chinese food has made you excited and you’re thinking of going vegan, take our 30-day vegan pledge. Every week, we’ll send you meal plans, recipes, and tips on eating a balanced diet, choosing vegan clothes and cruelty-free cosmetics, and showing compassion for animals in other areas of your life.