Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.), the organization behind VeganChineseFood.com, was founded by a Xicanx and longtime vegan activist, lauren Ornelas. Inspired by Chinese board member Jessian Choy, F.E.P. decided to launch VeganChineseFood.com to highlight Chinese foods that do not include animal ingredients and to model that it is possible to eat vegan and still incorporate our comfort foods.
In addition to other implications of Western imperialism, animal products were heavily pushed into China in the mid-19th century. Before then, the production of milk from animals was minimal. Cow’s milk was first imported into China by Western merchants who gradually appeared in the country after the First Opium War, waged due to Chinese resistance against English colonizers exporting opium, an addictive narcotic, to China to expand their power and sell more goods.
Western imperialism advanced cow’s milk production significantly in China by introducing cows bred for milk production and originally native to the United Kingdom. Despite this, to this day, the majority of the Chinese adult population cannot fully digest non-human animal milk. Since it is not natural to digest milk from another species, we consider this to be lactose normal.
Many Chinese cultures and groups practice abstaining from animal products and by-products because of their compassion for animals. This includes, but is not limited to, practitioners of Shaolin kung fu, most Mahayana Buddhists, and even communities of Chinese women who live in vegan houses in order to live outside of patriarchal and classist societies since the 1600s. Veganism is becoming increasingly popular in China, and in this resource we feature many traditional cultural dishes without animal ingredients so that you don’t have to miss out on any of your favorites.
Vegan foods do not contain animal ingredients, including “meat,” sea life, eggs, dairy, and honey, all of which are products of suffering and exploitation. Of course, the produce we all eat is picked by farm workers, who often suffer and are treated unfairly, so we need to recognize just how important it is to support these workers whenever possible. F.E.P. continues to raise awareness about the labor conditions of produce workers while simultaneously working with them to advance their rights by supporting corporate, legislative, and regulatory changes.
We created VeganChineseFood.com to be a user-friendly resource for vegans and the vegan-curious alike, as well as the Chinese community and beyond. We hope that you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!
VeganChineseFood.com is a collaborative effort, and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed: those who submitted original recipes; those who tested recipes; and those who cooked, styled, and photographed each dish!
More about Food Empowerment Project
Food Empowerment Project is a vegan food justice organization that seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. We encourage healthy food choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms; the unavailability of healthy foods in low-income areas; unfair working conditions for produce workers; and the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, in the chocolate industry. By making informed choices, we can prevent injustices against animals, humans, and the environment. To learn more about F.E.P., our work, or how to go vegan, please visit our website.
Food Empowerment Project is a vegan food justice organization and a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
About the Vegan Chinese Food Logo by Graphic Designer Weiyena Wei
The VCF logo design incorporates multiple symbols inspired by Chinese traditional folk art and mythology. The abstract shape of loong (dragon) is one of the most iconic symbols of China and is also a legendary creature in Chinese mythology. Meanwhile, a simplified cloud shape is inspired by Chinese lucky clouds from ancient sculpture, which has a meaning that’s associated with good luck. With a strong influence from Forbidden City ancient buildings, the color palette blends a bold yellow with a soothing cream and vivid red, creating a combination between a traditional and modern visual style.