The ultimate guide to vegetarian burgers (ranked)

We went on a city-wide binge (what workout resolutions?) of vegetarian burgers and whittled them down to the top 10

Photo via BrewDog
By Khushboo Khanna

The king of comfort food, burgers abound in most metropolises, but vegetarians and eco-warriors on plant-based diets often feel the brunt of lesser and limited options. Not in Shanghai, though, no, sir. This city is full of green flags in that sense.

We went on a city-wide binge (what workout resolutions?) of vegetarian burgers in Shanghai and whittled them down to the top 10, so everyone on here's a winner. Here they are, listed in descending order (we saved the best for the last) and judged by flavour, texture, filling-to-bun ratio, and more.

10) Anna Cafe

Anna Cafe Roasted Mushroom Avocado Burger

Of Anna Cafe's two vegetarian burgers — the Kajun Veggie Burger and the Roasted Mushroom with Avocado Burger (which has cheese that can be omitted) — we preferred the earthy goodness of the former with its sweet potato and pumpkin patty and hint of spice. Although a tad dry, it made for a healthy lunch with kale salad as a side. The roasted mushroom burger with shrooms, avocado, spinach and loads of melted cheese had a much milder flavour.

Prices: Kajun Veggie Burger 52 RMB; Roasted Mushroom Burger with Avocado 64 RMB
Rating: 6.5/10
Address: B-206, Beijing West Road, 1068, Jing’an

9) Five Guys

Five Guys Veggie Sandwich-

We wouldn't go so far as to call this a burger, and neither does the popular burger chain. Aptly called the Veggie Sandwich, it has made it to our list because of its burger buns made to perfection. Said sandwich sees a 50-50 mix of grilled and raw vegetables; nicely grilled onions and mushrooms are paired with crunchy green peppers and lettuce, and juicy tomatoes tie it all together, convincing us to give it a chance. Goes down smoothly with their signature milkshakes (Oreos for the win) and get a side of Cajun style fries too.

Prices: Veggie Sandwich 35 RMB; Veggie Sandwich set 45 RMB
Rating: 7/10
Address: Multiple locations

8) 12 Karma Vegetarian Korean Food (十二因缘)


An interesting and unexpected discovery for us, this hole-in-the-wall joint serves a delectable fare of vegetarian Korean food. We sampled two burgers and some 'chicken' nuggets too. According to the store, their bestseller is the Golden 'Pork Chop' Burger, but we were more impressed with the Vegetarian Curry 'Pork Chop' Double Decker Burger. Although the latter had a mealy texture, the breading was a winner and, had they been more generous with the curry sauce, we would've ranked this burger higher. We'll be back for the Korean Kimchi Spicy Burger.

Prices: Golden 'Pork Chop' Burger 24 RMB; Vegetarian Curry 'Pork Chop' Double Decker 38 RMB
Rating: 7/10
Address: 431, Wuzhong Road, Jing'an
🌱 Vegan friendly

7) Fat Cow

Fat Cow Plant Based Meat Burger Poster

Fat Cow is one of the pioneers of vegetarian burgers in Shanghai, and takes pride in crafting its own plant-based patty with high-quality soy products. The patty boasts good texture and flavour, and the vegetarian burger stands out as a whole, thanks to the addition of caramelised onions and a house-made sauce.

TIME OUT TIP: This vegetarian burger is eligible for Fat Cow's famous 'buy one, get one free' burger promotion on Mondays.

Price: Where’s The Beef? Burger 70 RMB
Rating: 7.5/10
Address: Multiple locations

6) Green Vege

GreenVege beetroot red quinoa burger

Green Vege is the safest bet for vegans and vegetarians looking for burger options, and offers plenty of scrumptious options; think a Black Truffle Burger, a Thai Chilli and Mushroom Burger, a Black Pepper Mock Pork Burger, a Sweet & Sour Chickin Burger, and a Beetroot Quinoa Patty Burger, the last of which piqued our interest most. The deep pink patty came smothered in a hot vegan mayo sauce and was accompanied by pickles, avocado, tomato and organic alfalfa sprouts, making for a new textural experience. Plus, the toasted sesame buns are top-notch!

TIME OUT TIP: Swing by for a late lunch (between 2 to 5 PM) to pay half price.

Price: Beetroot Quinoa Patty Burger 52 RMB
Rating: 7.5/10
Address: Room 3-301, 697 Zhongshan South Second Road, Xuhui
🌱 Vegan friendly

5) Tiffin by Klay

Tiffin Veg Makhani Burger

A burger with an Indian twist for curry lovers, the Makhani Veggie Burger is built around a cauliflower, potato and carrot patty, and sees a generous serving of buttery gravy, lettuce and slaw between soft butter buns. Definitely pair with the masala fries — we bet you won't be able to stop at just one.

Price: Makhani Veggie Burger 48 RMB
Rating: 8/10
Address: Multiple locations

4) Shake Shack

Shake Shack Shroom Meal

Offering the 'meatiest bite' as far as vegetable burgers go, the Shroom Burger sees a whole breaded portobello cap covered in melted cheese, and topped with lettuce, sliced tomato and Shake Shack's 'secret sauce' (allegedly a blend of ketchup, mayonaise and mustard). The hearty mushroom oozes its juices and the warm gooey cheese and sauce all come together beautifully to remind you of how the OGs do it.

Price: Shroom Burger 64 RMB
Rating: 8.5/10
Address: Multiple locations

3) Duli


Duli hits it out of the park with their burger flavour combinations, like the Duli Sichuan Burger with chili aioli, tofu crisp and avocado dressing, and the Miso Teriyaki Burger with a lotus crisp, Asian pear slaw, chili aioli and miso teriyaki sauce (we prefer the latter). Both use Beyond Meat patties and fantastic buns, and the ratio of crisp to tender ingredients really works.

TIME OUT TIP: While dine-in at Duli is temporarily suspended as the restaurant prepares to move into a new location, you can still get your fix via Elema, BonApp and Sherpa's.

Price: Duli Sichuan Burger 76 RMB; Miso Teriyaki Burger 76 RMB
Rating: 9/10
Address: Presently delivery only
🌱 Vegan friendly

2) BrewDog

BrewDog Beyond Meat Burger

When one dreams of a burger, one definitely pictures that first juicy bite, fresh buns, and some moisture — but not so much that things get soggy. BrewDog has mastered each component in the Beyond Meat Burger, which pairs a Beyond Meat patty with pink beetroot brioche buns, roasted peppers, pickles and a vegan chipotle slaw (the star ingredient in our opinion). This standout burger is the only consolation we have ever since BrewDog discontinued its extensive menu of vegan burgers, including the highly revered Vegan Buffalo (secretly hoping they bring this back), only retaining one meat-free option.

TIME OUT TIP: Mondays see 'buy one, get two' offers.

Price: Beyond Meat Burger 98 RMB
Rating: 9.5/10
Address: 228 Weihai Road, Jing'an
🌱 Vegan friendly

1) Charlie's


If you're looking for a vegetarian burger that feels close to a 'real hamburger' — think perfectly soft buns sandwiching a medium-rare, not overcooked patty — you can't go wrong with Charlie's. Their Cheeseburger with Beyond Meat is straightforward and simple, but has everything you want in a burger, and you can't hate on that. Most of their burgers can be ordered with a Beyond Meat replacement, and you can go carb-free in addition to meat-free by swapping your bread for fried eggs or avocado halves.

Another plus to coming here: since a 'single' equals double patties here, ordering a double will get you a quadruple! Wholesome, filling, cost effective, and open well past midnight... We could keep going — such is our love of Charlie's.

Price: Beyond Meat Cheese Burger 42 RMB
Rating: 10/10
Address: Multiple locations