I’m a Vegetarian in Mandarin Chinese

If you’ve ever travelled to Asia as someone that doesn’t eat meat, you know that it can sometimes be difficult finding places that don’t serve you something with animal in it. In this lesson Fiona Tian takes you through ways to explain that you’re a vegetarian (or vegan) as well as all the different types of vegetarian found in Taiwan.

Hello, do you eat fish?
你好,吃不吃魚呢?
你好,吃不吃鱼呢?
Nǐ hǎo, chī bù chī yú ne?

Sorry, I don’t. I’m a vegan.
不好意思,不吃,我吃全素。
不好意思,不吃,我吃全素。
Bù hǎoyìsi, bù chī, wǒ chī quán sù.

A vegan huh? I think our seasoning has garlic in it? Is that OK?
吃全素啊,那我們調味料裡面好像有蒜,可以嗎?
吃全素啊,那我们调味料里面好像有蒜,可以吗?
Chī quán sù a, nà wǒmen tiáowèi liào lǐmiàn hǎoxiàng yǒu suàn, kěyǐ ma?

I can eat garlic, that’s all fine.
蒜頭可以!蒜頭我OK。
蒜头可以!蒜头我OK。
Suàntóu kěyǐ! Suàntóu wǒ OK.

The soup is pork rib soup. Can you eat that?
湯是排骨湯,可以嗎?
汤是排骨汤,可以吗?
Tāng shì páigǔ tāng, kěyǐ ma?

Then, do you have a vegetarian broth? Vegetarian broth would be ideal.
呃,那請問有素高湯嗎?有的話最好。
呃,那请问有素高汤吗?有的话最好。
È, nà qǐngwèn yǒu sù gāotāng ma? Yǒu de huà zuì hǎo.

I’m sorry. Is it possible not to put meat in that?
不好意思,可以不要放肉嗎?
不好意思,可以不要放肉吗?
Bù hǎoyìsi, kěyǐ bùyào fàng ròu ma?

We can’t make vegetarian meals.
唔,我們不能做素餐。
唔,我们不能做素餐。
Wú, wǒmen bùnéng zuò sùcān.

I’m sorry. Is it possible not to put meat in that?
不好意思,可以不要放肉嗎?
不好意思,可以不要放肉吗?
Bù hǎoyìsi, kěyǐ bùyào fàng ròu ma?

No meat huh? How about the gravy?
不吃肉啊?那肉汁呢?
不吃肉啊?那肉汁呢?
Bù chī ròu a? Nà ròuzhī ne?

Gravy(meat sauce)? Uh….no, can’t do that. I’m a vegan.
肉汁?呃,不行,我吃全素。
肉汁?呃,不行,我吃全素。
Ròuzhī? È, bùxíng, wǒ chī quán sù.

Can you have garlic or onions? How about eggs?
蔥蒜可以嗎?蛋可以嗎?
葱蒜可以吗?蛋可以吗?
Cōng suàn kěyǐ ma? Dàn kěyǐ ma?

Yup! I can have those things. I’m a “egg and dairy”vegetarian.
可以!我吃蛋奶素。
可以!我吃蛋奶素。
Kěyǐ! Wǒ chī dàn nǎi sù.

If you wanna check out loads more Chinese learning content, check out the other site I work on called ChinesePod

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3 thoughts on “I’m a Vegetarian in Mandarin Chinese

  1. Thanks. This was useful. I do OK with some of the phrases you had. I like dan nai su (蛋奶 素) = lacto ovo vegetarian. The one my teacher taught me that surprises people because I know it is 我不吃荤 (Wǒ bù chī hūn). I really miss veggie burgers and veggie alternatives in China. I have been told that they can’t even be ordered online.

  2. Meg says:

    I tell people that 我是 嚴格素食者 (for vegan) instead of 我吃全素 since many Taiwanese think 吃蛋奶素和全素是ㄧ樣的.        

  3. Hi thanks for your information! I’ve been in western China as a vegetarian and it was an advanture! Restaurants would not understand my spelling but I could show them my written: I am a vegetarian, that worked. But as I would not understand them, it would have been a great help to have some vegetarian meals at hand (written) so to give examples, what I would like to eat (like veg. Dumplings or once something like veg. hotpot(?) cooking Vegetable and noodles in a broth. So a list of veg. meals would be a help for somebody traveling in China! Gerda

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