Specifically in Shanghai. I will be spending the next four months studying at East China Normal University, and I've heard mixed things about maintaining strict vegetarianism in China. I know there are vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai, but if I go out to eat at a "normal" restaurant, will they understand and respect it? That means using different utensils and pots to prepare my food, and certainly not sneaking any meat stock or slivers into any of it. Is there a lot of vegetarian-friendly street food? I have spent time in Taiwan and had no problem at all being veg. there, and people were very open to it, so i'm also wondering why China might be less understanding about a strict vegetarian diet.
I would appreciate any recommendations about specific places to eat that serve reliably good veg. Chinese (or really any cuisine) food, and any tips about navigating the whole situation.