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Jun 29, 2006 09:46 PM

Vegetarian "Fake Meat" Restaurants- Recs?

Another poster from the General Chow board was requesting fake meat recs- I have several recs for restaurants so I thought i'd post them here. Can anyone else chime in with recs? Please no comments on why a vegetarian would eat fake meat. I'm not vegetarian, and I don't think of it as imitation meat, I just love the stuff as its own food type and veg restaurants is where they usually serve it. Thanx!

I don't know where you are in the LA are, Pamela, but here are my favorites:

Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant (chinese)- one in Monterey Park, Montebello and one in Rowland Heights which is where I go.
Several Hundred items on their menu, lots of fake meat. I really enjoy the curry "chicken." The hand rolls are also really good. Their "shrimp" dishes are really good as well. This is my favorite veg restaurant.

Veggie Bistro in Whittier (vietnamese but not all vietnamese food)-
I love the Vermicelli with "beef", the beef is pretty good here, love the eggplant curry soup, "shrimp dishes", the also have chinese and italian dishes. It's a good spot to bring unadventurous eaters.

One place I haven't been to is Vegi Wokery in Cerritos.
They have the little "chicken" drumettes and I've really been wanting to go here for awhile.

Actually, if you peruse the reviews on you'll find quite a few. I actually just found a few more I'd like to try. Good Luck!!

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  1. Thanks for all the wonderful recommendations, Wendy.

    I've cut and pasted my original comments from the General Chow Board here:

    When I was very young and visited Malaysia, I remember going to a restaurant that was actually inside a cave in some mountain. It was a vegetarian restaurant that did an amazing job (I thought) of preparing dishes that imitated meat. I remember there was this one dish that looked like little chicken drummettes.

    Trader Joe's has a variety of vegetarian frozen foods. I tried the corn dog,which I thought imitated a real corn dog amazingly. In fact, I don't think I would be able to tell the vegetarian corn dog apart from a real corn dog that used a beef frank.

    In Torrance, CA, there is a Chinese vegetarian restaurant that does a so-so to inadequate job of imitating meat. We ordered the vegetarian "peking duck," simply out of curiosity as what one would use to substitute the duck. The skin of the "peking duck" was fine (I can't remember what they used), but the "flesh" part simply comprised of a soft bread. It was a bit strange. Definitely nowhere near the appearance or taste of genuine peking duck.

    Just wanted to see if anyone else had any experiences and/or recommendations with food or restaurants that adequately prepares dishes that imitate meat.

    I realize that some, if not most, vegetarians do not want dishes that resemble or taste like meat, but the meat substitution concept is still quite intriguing.

    1. Happy Family on Atlantic in Monterey Park.

      If you're in the SFValley, Vegetable Delight on Chatsworth.

      At Happy Family, the fake meat is very good in the cold appetizers and in the mini Hunan Ham sandwiches (prepared like hunan hum with honey).

      My fave things there though aren't the mockmeat as much as the well made vegetable dishes, like the enokidake lily flower soup (jinzhen tang), or the houtougu soup (special soup with pom-pom aka lions mane aka monkey-head mushrooms).

      One nice thing at Vegetable delight is their fake shrimp. They use a bit of seaweed to color the vein in teh fake shrimp. Looks great.

      17823 CHATSWORTH ST

      111 N ATLANTIC BLVD 351

      1. In Irvine there's a place called Wheel of Life. Thai vegetarian with fake meat.


        1 Reply
        1. re: elmomonster

          Yeah, that place in the Culver shopping center? I highly recommend this place. I've ate lunch there a couple of time and loved it each time. I just keep forgetting about it when I am thinking of what to eat.

        2. There's a Vietnamese restaurant called Au Lac that does pretty good renditions of meat dishes. Their veggie goi cuon (spring rolls?) are the best I've had. My vegan friend wouldn't eat them because he thought the faux shrimp looked too real! And my vegetarian coworker thought they were the cleanest, freshest, healthiest food she's ever eaten. Most of their noodle soups are pretty excellent as well. They're located on Brookhurst across from Mile Square Park.

          Native Foods in Costa Mesa has a pretty good veggie version of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich as well as very real-tasting baja surf tacos. Maybe it's the sauce and salsa, but those fish tacos tasted pretty good to my non-vegetarian taste buds.

          Also Sidney's Cafe in Fullerton has a good breakfast burrito. It's huge, but very tasty.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tkn

            I've been wanting to try Au Lac too!! Thanks for reminding me. Sidney's Cafe is good too. I love their Tempeh Ruben, I haven't been for breakfast.

            Just because this post has prompted me to go there:

            1. re: Tkn

              native foods is pretty great. recently, i took a business associate and my husband there (both omnis) and they really liked it. my associate is hooked on the baja tacos and my (extremely vegan-food suspect) husband ordered the same philly peppersteak sandwich you mention. after we ate, he said, "i've never had such a good meal at a vegetarian restaurant." i love the soy amigo salad, which has seasoned taco meat.

            2. Concur re Happy Family (although I am not a huge fan of fake-meat dishes in general and thus share Jerome's preference for the vegetable dishes that are proud to be vegetables as opposed to those trying to pass as meat.)

              A number of Hounds have been saying nice things about a mostly-veg Filipino place in El Segundo called Papillon--I haven't managed to get there, yet but the whole concept of vegetarian Filipino food is mind-bending enough (I find myself imagining how to make fake balut, or dinuguan with tofu skins instead of pig guts and banana ketchup and chocolate in lieu of the blood) that I am just going to have to make it one of these days.


              3 Replies
              1. re: PayOrPlay

                i have really tried very hard to like this place because it is so near my house.
                still, it's just YUCK imho.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  i posted about papillon last year. as a vegan, i like it, but after our second visit written after my post, my husband, the filipino omni, won't go back. his godmother and cousin gave it a 7/10.

                  "papillon, el segundo: filipino veg- and non-veg friendly:"

                2. re: PayOrPlay

                  I like the fake chicken and shrimp at's worth a try.