Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 13, 2007 09:39 AM

Champa Garden for a Vegetarian?

I'll be going to Champa Garden this weekend with a large group that includes one vegetarian. Does their menu have plenty of options for a vegetarian (no meat, seafood, poultry)?

I'm not that concerned about him eating dishes like curries that contain fish sauce, shrimp paste, or other "invisible" non-veg ingredients... what you don't know can't hurt you. I just want to make sure there are veggie or tofu curries, stir fries, noodle dishes, etc.

Their menu says "with choice of meat" for many items -- does that include tofu as an option?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. "Vegetarian option is available for many of our dishes."

    Many of their best dishes are about 95% vegetarian but get most of their spark from a little pork, fish sauce, fish paste, and/or dried shrimp. If you left that out, I'm afraid the food might be bland and boring.

    Champa Garden
    2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

    1. I ordered their mango delight curry once with chicken and once with tofu (the default is shrimp), and both were just as good. They are quite accomodating, especially if you aren't worried about "hidden" non-veg items.

      I don't know if they pre-prepare their fried rolls, but if not and you can get a vegetarian version of that, it's an excellent dish. Comes with loads of veggies to wrap the tiny rolls in.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Marc Wallace

        Substituting tofu for meat won't necessarily make that dish vegetarian--red curry paste typically contains fish sauce and shrimp paste.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Definitely so, but the OP noted "not concerned about.. 'invisible' non-veg ingredients".

          That doesn't mean that the vegetarian in question wouldn't be upset, but within the range of the question, simple substitutions would be good enough.

          I'd stay away from obvious things like nuoc mam, of course!

        2. re: Marc Wallace

          I'd think that when they say vegetarian, they mean vegetarian. Southeast Asia is largely Buddhist, and some Buddhist sects are strictly vegetarian, so making vegetarian versions of dishes is something routinely done in that cuisine. Of course it probably also makes a difference whether you ask for the tofu version of something or specifically specify vegetarian: I wouldn't assume "with tofu" meant vegetarian.

        3. They seem pretty aware of vegetarians; last week, we ordered a mix of dishes, veg and non-veg, and when we ordered the rice ball salad, our server said "that has a hint of pork in it, is that OK?"

          I was just sort of charmed by the hint of pork.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              perhaps a whisper of kosher, of course!