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San Gabriel vegetarian Chinese... but not Happy Family

What Chinese restaurants can please both meat eaters and vegetarians?

We've got a mixed group tonight, and I'm having trouble coming up with a place that doesn't mix up their veggies with meat in some way, or has more to offer than just a couple of pan fried veggie dishes.

It would be great if you chould suggest a place with several standout veggie friendly dishes, in addition to great meaty options.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Mr Taster

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  1. How about a combination of Americanized Chinese food and Chinese vegetarian mock meats? Yes, I know that sounds weird but that seems to be the approach of the new owners at New Bamboo Garden, 7248 N. Rosemead Blvd. in San Gabriel. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but they have a "Vegetarian Healthy Food" section with items like Vegetarian shrimp walnut in mayonnaise, vegetarian beef with pepper, vegetarian sweet and sour chicken and vegetarian shredded pork with dry bean curd. Since you're almost in Pasadena (it's in a shopping center on Rosemead at Huntington Dr.), the rest of the menu looks more like Pasadena than San Gabriel. They do have boba tea and slushies, though.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      I just received their menu [in my mail today], and that "Vegetarian Healthy Food" section, with its choices like "Vegetarian Beef with Black Pepper," completely threw me off. We called--and ATTEMPTED to get a clear answer as to whether these are VEGETARIAN items (i.e., "fake" beef, chicken, etc.) or not, and the answer was very confusing. (The person who answered the phone barely spoke English.) They said (at least we THINK they said) that the items *DO* contain meat--real dead animals--even though they're calling them "vegetarian" items. We tried explaining that vegetarian means no meat--no animal products--but they didn't get it. Methinks someone there has gotten confused between "health food" and "vegetarian." They're using the term "vegetarian" when they MEAN "healthy." At least that's the impression we got from the confusing phone call...

      1. re: LinuxSoCal

        I have been confused by this before also, when going to a vegetarian Viet place that had "chicken", "pork", and "beef" sections on the menu. What arrived was clearly imitation meat (albeit a pretty good imitation). I suppose it's possible that there was some pig juice mixed into the vegetable protein, but if they were going to do that then why wouldn't they just use the real thing?

        1. re: LinuxSoCal

          Actually stopped by New Bamboo Garden to clear this up. It's fake meat. I had the shrimp made out of gluten flour. Not too bad.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Thanks for stopping by there to clear up this mystery! So it is fake "meat"...I could've sworn they were just incorrectly using the term "vegetarian," but this is good to know.

      2. Don't know if this is too late to be helpful, but just for posterity.... here are a few places I like to go; the gf is a meat eater, so these days I end up at non-vegetarian Chinese places more often than veggie ones.

        Are you going with anyone who can speak Chinese pretty well? Most places will accommodate vegetarians if you ask the right way; obviously it may be difficult to be sure that you're always getting 100% vegetarian food, but most places seem to do a good job. Personally, I don't like to go to non-veg places I haven't gone before unless I'm going with someone who can communicate my eating needs better than I can.... that said:

        * Indian (if you count Taiwanese food) - House spicy noodles can be prepared vegetarian, and are delicious. Sauteed ong cai (water spinach) is pretty good. Some of the staff speaks pretty good English. Some pics (of those two dishes) at:
        http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2008/...
        I'm not 100% sure if there's any fish in the stinky tofu here, but it's pretty good and the sauce it's served with is vegetarian. It's not too pungent, so it's a good "beginner" stinky tofu.

        * Kam Hong Garden can prepare most noodle dishes vegetarian (with or without egg), and they will make veggie dumplings / bao (the shen jian bao are pretty good), also with or without egg. One of my favorite places recently. Some of the staff speaks a little English http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2008/...

        * Mei Long Zhen - Nian Gao (two different styles - one with just ji cai, and one with mushrooms, some sort of green vegetable, and some other stuff) can be done vegetarian, long beans, vegetarian dumplings (they have no egg).

        * Chung King (the one on San Gabriel Blvd in San Gabriel) - claim there is no meat stock in the mabo tofu, which they can make with no pork if you ask (ipsedixit says this is called "Mala Tofu"). I think it would benefit from some chopped shitakes or something to replace the pork. It has a lot of that numbing sichuan peppercorn flavor (which is supposed to be the dominant flavor), followed by a decent amount of spice. None of the other veggie dishes I had were mind-blowing, but there are some other options, including a tofu casserole that I didn't try but which looked delicious. Not sure how easy it is to communicate in English here. Some pics:
        http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2008/...
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/383956

        * Din Tai Fung - no veggie XLBs at this one (they do exist - I had some in Shanghai), but they have eggless veggie dumplings, a great tofu appetizer, and you can get the Nian Gao and a bunch of other dishes vegetarian. They have a vegetarian section of the menu.

        Also like some stuff at Mandarin Deli, Mama's, and Yi Mei; some pics and info on most of these at the same site linked above, but none of these are really places I'd go for a nice sit-down dinner.

        vocab:
        Sù - vegetable / vegetarian... won't always get you completely vegetarian though (i.e., might have meat stock or other stuff unless you're careful to specify) Quán sù - 100% vegetarian, no egg, but sometimes will get you no garlic, onions or chili too - pronounced "chwen (rising tone) su (falling tone)"
        Bú yaò jī dàn - no (chicken) egg

        9 Replies
        1. re: will47

          ps - At Mei Long there are also some veggie appetizers. There's a kau fu (wheat gluten) appetizer that's a classic Shanghaiese dish. I'm a little sick of it, to be honest, but it's pretty good here. Also, I believe there is a tofu skin based mock duck; IIRC it's on the menu as "neutered duck" or something weird. Double-check that it's vegetarian.

          Oh - also a list I wrote up a while back of some veggie places that are not Happy Family (though most are along the same lines)... know that's probably not what you're looking for, but might help out some other folks. It's not complete, but has most of the ones in that area.
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35096...

          1. re: will47

            Great suggestions! I second the recommendation for Mei Long or another Shanghai place, like Green Village. For cold appetizers, you can get the mock duck, the kau fu, as will47 suggests, and also the marinated celery and the minced tofu and "ji cai" greens. For hot main dishes, in addition to vegetarian nian gao (sauteed rice cakes) and noodles, you might also get the "xue cai bai ye," a combination of edamame, chopped preserved mustard greens, and sheets of tofu skin; vegetarian bean curd rolls stuffed with vegetables, known as "fu ze pi," and then a dish of shanghai (green) bok choy and braised shitaake mushrooms. Under the misnamed "dim sum" category (really dumplings and pastries), in addition the vegetarian dumplings, you could get the turnip pastries, which are flaky pastries stuffed with shredded daikon.

          2. re: will47

            Yeah, also one needs to be careful that they don't use lard to stirfry the vegetarian dishes. I've tasted this at DTF, in their stirfried vegetables and one other dish. But, we weren't looking for pure vegetarian and appreciated the added flavor that kind of stir-frying adds. But, in the case of a vegetarian, that is obviously not desired.

            1. re: zruilong

              Really? People I've gone with have asked there (whether the dishes are 100% vegetarian, whether there is any meat stock in the stir fries, etc.), and the answers were usually satisfactory, and the food there has never disagreed with my stomach (I've been vegetarian for 15+ years, so I'm pretty sure that eating lard would disagree with me). DTF has a vegetarian section on their menu, and vegetarianism is a little more popular in Taiwan than Mainland China, so I have always assumed that they know what "vegetarian" means.

              I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was some residual flavor from the wok, but are you totally sure they're using lard for frying? I've always attributed the flavor there to wok flavor + MSG.

              Anyway, not trying to disagree; obviously I'd like to know if DTF is actually using lard to fry their food, and I haven't had enough lard myself to know if I'd recognize the flavor. I don't think it's used that commonly for frying though, is it? I feel like even in China, vegetable oil is more common these days.

              But yes, if you want to be sure to always get 100% vegetarian food that hasn't touched meat, a vegetarian restaurant is the way to go. I personally try to make my best effort (and again, I usually try to avoid eating at non-vegetarian Chinese places for the first time unless I'm with someone who can speak Chinese a lot better than I can), and beyond that, let my stomach be the judge.

              1. re: will47

                I would be surprised if DTF used lard when they know they shouldn't either, and I do not mean to imply that they did in your case or in general. It was more of a warning in general to those seekig vegetarian options at restaurants. The flavors I tasted may have been some residual wok flavors, as you said.

                The reason the story stuck out in my mind is the first time I was there, we ordered a vegatable dish. It was a seasonal vegetable dish that they had in stock, and was an addition to the menu, I believe (there was a long conversation between my wife and the waitress regarding the vegetable option and I started to get distracted by all the other tables and their food). When the dish came out, it had a deeper flavor, not really the "savory/meaty" MSG flavor which I don't mind, but different. My wife immediatly said, its lard. I replied, really? How are you so sure? She said that her family would do that from time to time and it would taste just like it. I didn't believe her, so later that week, she bought some lard and prepared the dish at home, sure enough, same taste. My next question was, "Why didn't you do that before!?!" :-)

                Now, DTF, is my favorite XLB restaurant in the US and supports its XLB with very good quality accompanying dishes. Their owners and head chefs have forgotten more cooking techniques than I will ever learn, so they definately could have produced that flavor in other ways, especially using professional grade equipment. I don't mean to make a claim against DFT that is unsubstantiated and would damage their reputation, but the whole discussion of vegetarian at non-vegetarian restaurants reminded me of this story. I failed to communicate the message of my post properly above. I should have been more specific in my original post, but that's what I get for posting when I should be listening to my conference call. ;-)

                So, to be clear for any additional readers.

                I do not know if they use lard in any or all of their dishes.

                I tasted something that was replicated by preparing the dish at home with lard on a VEGETABLE dish there, but that was a dish we did not specify to be VEGETARIAN.

                I have no reason to believe DFT would use meat based products when a customer requested a vegetarian meal/dish.

                In general, however, especially at smaller restaurants that have a lower English speaking waitstaff, it is good to make sure they understand your intention that a vegetarian dish is not simply the dish sans meat, but not prepared with other meat based products like lard (and I assume that would go for chicken broth as well?).

                1. re: will47

                  I know this is an old thread, but will47 if you're still around (and still vegetarian), my sister was full-on veg for 15+ years also until one day she decided her husband's steak looked really delicious, and she ate some. That was the end of her vegetarianism-- she had no stomach problems whatsoever, and in a few months her eczema disappeared and her hair grew in thicker. So it's not a foregone conclusion that all vegetarians would react badly to a little animal fat hidden in their greens.

                  Anyway, I'm back revisiting my old thread because I'll be taking my cousin (a kosher vegetarian) out to the SGV and am looking for ideas that will satisfy both of us. Love the Shanghainese ideas, though I don't think I'll subject my cousin to green beans while we dine on pork pump :)

                  Have you had any additional ideas or discoveries during the intervening year since you posted last?

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Just went to China Islamic with a vegetarian friend and he found things he liked in the menu. I have no idea if it would comply with kosher requirements though.

                    1. re: bad nono

                      China Islamic would be my recommendation as well. Really good food, kosher, and has many, many vegetarian items on the menu.
                      But their lamb dishes are very good for the carnivores in the crowd!

                    2. re: Mr Taster

                      I haven't been following the board much recently, but someone mentioned the post to me. Guess it's maybe too late now, but just in case, I'll response anyway.

                      Best place to look is my gf's reviews at http://nakedsushi.net or http://la.foodblogging.com -- she posts a lot of reviews about various places we eat. Just a couple recent highlights.... If you like somewhat spicy stuff, I thought Hunan Chilli King was pretty good (went there recently). And the new "Heavy Noodling" (JTYH) in Rosemead has some veggie options, with or without egg.

                      I don't know how kosher your cousin keeps, but I would think most non-vegetarian SGV Chinese places might not be the best place to go if s/he is really strict about it.

                      Of course, there are a lot of great veg options besides the green beans at most Shanghaiese places. I like ji cai nian gao (the rice ovals) without the pork, and the kau fu is a classic dish, though I haven't had a really amazing example here.

              2. Embassy Kitchen in San Gabriel has a great multi-course vegetarian banquet menu. It needs to be preordered.

                1. I have to agree with the person who suggested Ding Tai Fung. The restaurant is very clean, they expanded their restaurant and now have their own building on the other side (the older place is still there, too) and the service is excellent. They do have a selection of vegetarian-friendly dishes and the dishes that have meat are excellent! I have been going there for years and there are two manager ladies that are very nice and attentive and they remember your face. The food is great, it's one of those places where traditional Taiwanese food is loved by a diverse group of people!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eyeloveLA

                    Just to clarify... DTF does not serve traditional Taiwanese food... rather it's a Taiwanese take on Shanghai food, and not a very common one at that. Of all the XLB in Taiwan, Din Tai Fung stands alone in its method of preparation and presentation. In fact, I posted earlier about where to find actual Taiwanese style xiao long bao... the rustic, unrefined kind you find at street vendors and night markets all over Taiwan, and it seems they're nearly non-existent... though I have yet to try these suggestions...

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/536300

                    Give it a shot if you're curious to try "real" Taiwanese xiao long bao, and know that when Taipei's branch of Din Tai Fung is grabbing $8 per tray, those street vendors are charging $1, if that. Din Tai Fung in Taipei is truly a "special occasion" type of XLB place.... it's not the kind of stuff ordinary Taiwanese people would eat every day because of its extraordinary expense by Taiwanese standards.

                    For authentic Taiwanese food (which is primarily found as snack food), you'll have to go to places like Sinbala sausages, Ay Chung glutenous soup, Stinky Tofu King and Lollicup for boba and snacks (try the fried chicken... it tastes just like it does at Taiwan's night markets... crispy and peppery).

                    Mr Taster

                  2. Per this blog post (not mine): http://www.weezermonkey.com/2009/09/m...

                    Gourmet Vegetarian
                    140 W. Valley Blvd. #222,
                    San Gabriel, (626) 280-5998

                    I've always walked by, it's ALWAYS had long lines on the weekends. Never joined the festivities, but at least this place has cheap vegetables.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: TonyC

                      Is there a restaurant in the Focus Plaza that isn't crowded on the weekends?

                      Happy Veggie Garden (Rowland Heights) is actually pretty good ... until the owner had a falling out with the chef and fired his ass. Doh!

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        We're thinking about stopping at the temple. Any suggestions for outstanding Rowland/Hacienda Heights vegetarian (or veggie compatible omnivorous) restaurants where the star chef hasn't gone awol?

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Why not just eat at Hsi Lai Temple?

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Well, I've eaten at the temple before and the food is not the highlight of the experience...

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Hmm ... I'll take that as a backhanded insult.

                              I regularly volunteer in the kitchen whenever I'm free and around the area.

                              Actually, I think the highlight of a visit to Hsi Lai Temple is to the spend the night at the temple.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I'm sure that you weren't in the kitchen during the times that I've eaten there, Ipse.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  No offense, ipsedixit, but I have to agree with Mr. Taster on the food at Hsi Lai Si. But buffet style food isn't usually that great, and isn't whether it's delicious supposed to be besides the point anyway?

                                  In Hacienda Heights / Rowland Heights area, you could try Malan Noodle, which has vegetarian noodle soup and fried noodles with homemade noodles.
                                  http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2008/...

                                  Also #1 Noodle House (Rowland Heights) can make some of their noodle dishes vegetarian http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2009/...

                                  Also, Si Hai (four seas) for breakfast or snacks.
                                  http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2008/...

                                  There's a Happy Family in Rowland Heights, which I heard used to be better than the mpk one (it also used to have a non-vegetarian downstairs) - but I think now it's about the same as the mpk one.

                                  -----
                                  Malan Noodles
                                  2020 S Hacienda Blvd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

                        2. re: TonyC

                          Food is not so great at that one (Gourmet Vegetarian), and way too heavy on the fake meat -- there are only a few dishes that are vegetable / tofu only. They are trying to add some other stuff (they were really pushing their vegetarian "sushi" one time when I visited), but the food isn't really any different / better than any of the other Chinese vegetarian places in the area, and the prices are higher. I think they have been advertising it pretty well, because my girlfriend's mom told us about it really soon after it opened. The atmosphere is a little nicer, and the kabocha porridge is pretty good, but I'd just as soon go somewhere else.

                          Some dishes (and often the default soup) contain egg, so if you avoid egg, be careful to ask.

                          Bean Sprouts in Arcadia is hit or miss, but still a better bet IMHO if you want somewhere with a fairly nice atmosphere, fairly friendly staff, and slightly different food (it's more modern Taiwanese style noodle / rice dishes). Their noodles used to be too soft, but they switched suppliers recently, so they're usually at least Ok now. I go here like twice a week, so I'll give my picks for stuff to order / avoid. They serve beer too

                          *good*
                          Herbal "house special" noodle soup
                          Doufu Bao - tofu sheets in a kind of pouch type shape, served with ginger and vegetarian "oyster" sauce. New menu item... pretty good.
                          Beef Noodle Soup
                          Da Lu Mian (can make without egg if you want it)
                          Smoked Gluten (either cold appetizer or stir-fried with green peppers)
                          Soy Pork and Suancai (pickled greens) - boring but a satisfying lunch
                          Teriyaki Tofu Eel
                          spring rolls - they put curry (and potato, I think) in their spring rolls, which really adds a nice flavor, and they're nice and crispy

                          *neutral*
                          dan dan mian - blander than the sichuan version - this is basically soy pork on top of some noodles.
                          zha jiang mian - it's not the best I've had, but it's Ok.
                          radish cakes - good but need to be thinner / crispier

                          *avoid*
                          Curries (udon or rice)
                          Ma Pao Tofu (awful)
                          Nian gao (rice ovals) -- either fried or soup -- the texture is wrong
                          Rainbow Roll - (comes with lunch special) -- awful

                        3. Any updates on this topic since last year?

                          We've got a veggie friend visiting from the UK and we're heading out tonight to the SGV.

                          We met her in Cambodia and traveled through Asia together, and the culinary capstone of our trip was Beijing, where she, my Lovely Tasting Assistant and I still wax poetic about the extremely hard to find mustard cabbage... finally found it at Beijing Restaurant in San Gabriel, but they make seriously limited quantities of it and it's never been available on our 3 visits there.

                          So BR is our first pick, just for that dish, but if that doesn't work out (as it is likely not to), we need a backup plan!

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5081...

                          Thanks

                          Mr Taster

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Well the newest thing on the board I could think of is the Taiwanese Vegetarian incarnation of Q Q Kitchen in Temple City. Of course they've gone whole hog (so to speak) on being vegetarian, but they do have a bunch of noodle and tofu dishes, too that would be acceptable to normal eaters.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Hm, that's true... and close enough to Won Won Kitchen to get my favorite tea jelly and squid soup :)

                              Mr Taster

                              -----
                              Won Won Kitchen
                              9461 Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Why not go to Dean Sin World (or "_astio") to both check out if it's still in existence and to eat? Two birds with one stone.

                                Lots of veggie options on the menu -- e.g. veggie wontons and noodles, and you could easily request a special order of vegetarian dumplings.

                                Heck, if I were a vegetarian, I'd be more than happy with a big bowl of their wine brew (spelled "wine blew" on the menu), and a couple of turnip cakes.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Hm, interesting.... when I think of Dean Sin World I think of heavy/starchy and not green/leafy, but I suppose we could make it fit. Either way I'll check back in later and report my findings...

                                  Mr Taster

                                  -----
                                  Dean Sin World
                                  306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              Probably too late, but just for everyone's general edification....

                              Shanghai Yu Yuan is not bad for vegetarian options, but they use chicken base (ji jing) in a lot of stuff so be very specific about not wanting that. Some appetizers have it pre-mixed in (like the malan tou appetizer they had when it was in season). There is a cold chayote appetizer which I believe to be vegetarian, which is quite tasty. They are usually happy to substitute regular MSG instead if you don't mind it. Mei Long Zhen has definitely fallen off since I last posted, so I would suggest Shanghai Yu Yuan or Shanghai Xiao Chi as alternatives for Shanghai style food.

                              I have had reasonable luck getting presumably vegetarian food at Hunan places, especially the Hunan Chili King on Valley. Home Style Tofu (jia chang doufu), sauteed 3 kinds, kong xin cai with fermented tofu sauce, sauteed bitter melon, etc. Also had Ok experiences at Yunnan 168 until my most recent visit.

                              -----
                              Chili King
                              10623 Hawthorne Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90304

                              Yunnan 168
                              1530 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Your post piqued my curiosity as well, as we've had ok (but wouldn't go back again) vegetarian at Happy Family 10 years back. Our buddhist vegan friend once took us to her other favorite place, but sadly I never noted the name, except it was roughly 20 mins away from San Gabriel Square. It was quite decent.

                                Is there a Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassion & Relief foundation in LA? I think there's an office in San Dimas and San Diego. Easiest answer is to talk to one of the people who work there and ask them where they go for Chinese Buddhist vegan food.

                                Found these listings online, but not sure how old the listings are. Please chime in for those in the know!

                                ALHAMBRA
                                妙香林素菜館 Vegetarian Wok Chinese Restaurant
                                1200 E. Valley Blvd. Alhambra CA. 91801
                                Tel: (626) 576-7930 Daily (11am-3pm, 5pm-9:30pm)

                                藍天素食 Vege House Restaurant
                                1400 E. Valley Blvd. Alhambra CA. 91801
                                Tel: (626) 293-8189

                                ARCADIA
                                中華素食 China Vegetarian Cafe
                                29 W. Las Tunas Dr. Arcadia CA. 91006
                                Tel: (626) 447-8868

                                BUENA PARK
                                小而大川菜‧素食 Szechuan Village Restaurant
                                7635 Knott Ave Buena Park CA. 90620
                                Tel: (714) 739-2888 Mon,Wed-Fri (11-9:30) Sat, Sun (12-10)

                                CERRITOS
                                素香緣 Vegi Wokery
                                11329 183rd St. Cerritos CA. 90703
                                Tel: (562) 809-3928 Daily (11:30am-9:00pm)

                                COVINA
                                風味冰淇淋素漢堡店 Tastee Freez
                                1063 N. Cirtus Covina CA. 91722
                                Tel: (626) 332-8816

                                DUARTE
                                天然素食點心世界 Angel's Natural Food Corp
                                1366 E. Huntington Dr. Duarte CA. 91010
                                Tel: (818) 303-7004 Tue-Sat (9am-5pm) Sun (9am-2pm)

                                EL MONTE
                                新天然素食食品廠 New Natural Food Co.
                                11022 Lower Azusa Dr El Monte CA. 91732
                                Tel: (626) 279-2098 Tue-Sat (10am-7pm) Sun (10am-4pm)

                                FOUNTAIN VALLEY
                                Alicen Tao Restaurant
                                17201 Brookhurst St. Fountain Valley CA. 92708
                                Tel: (714) 962-0055 Mon-Sat (11:30am-10pm) Sun (4pm-9:30pm)

                                阿里山素食 Lapis Lazuli Light
                                17201 Brookhurst St. Fountain Valley CA. 92708
                                Tel: (714) 772-4160 Daily (11:30am-2pm, 5pm-9pm)

                                GRANADA HILLS
                                天香素菜館 Vegetable Delight Restaurant
                                17823 Chatsworth St. Granada Hills CA. 91344
                                Tel: (818) 360-3997 Mon-Fri (11:30-9:30) Sat, Sun (4-9:30)

                                HACIENDA HEIGHTS
                                佛光山西來寺 Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple
                                3456 S. Glenmark Dr. Hacienda Heights CA. 91745
                                Tel: (626) 961-9697 Daily (11:00-2:00)

                                新澄慧素食 Garden Fresh Vegetarian Food
                                16034 Gale Ave. Hacienda Heights CA. 91745
                                Tel: (626) 968-2279 Daily (10am-8pm)

                                IRVINE
                                健康素食 Veggie & Tea House
                                14988 Sand Canyon #1 Irvine CA 92618
                                Tel: (949) 559-0577

                                LA PUENTE
                                元香素食 Yuen Shian Vegetarian Food
                                13759 Amar Rd La Puente CA. 91746
                                Tel: (818) 337-6654 Daily (app.)

                                LOMITA
                                綠園素菜館 House of Vege
                                2439 Pacific Coast Hwy. Lomita CA. 90717
                                Tel: (310) 530-1180 Sun-Thu (11am-9pm); Fri, Sat (11am-9:30pm)

                                LOS ANGELES
                                菩提園素菜館 The Bodhi Garden Vegetarian Restaurant
                                1498 Sunset Blvd #2 Los Angeles CA. 90026
                                Tel: (213) 250-9023 Daily (10am-9pm)

                                MONTEREY PARK
                                欣園素菜館 Happy Family
                                608 N. Atlantic Blvd Monterey Park CA. 91754
                                Tel: (626) 282-8986 Mon-Thu/Sun (11:30-8:45) Fri-Sat (11:30-9:30)

                                素園餐廳 Green House Vegetarian Restaurant
                                206 S. Garfield Ave Monterey Park CA. 91754
                                Tel: (626) 280-7430 Mon-Thu/Sun (11:30am-9:00pm)

                                ORANGE
                                天香素菜館 Vegetable Delight Restaurant
                                1515 W. Chapman Ave Orange CA. 92868
                                Tel: (714) 385-1233 Daily (11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-9:30pm)

                                PALM DESERT
                                健康素食 Veggie & Tea House
                                72281 Highway #111 Palm Desert CA 92260
                                Tel: (760) 674-9579

                                ROSEMEAD
                                慈心素食館 Mercy Vegetarian Restaurant
                                8118 E. Garvey Ave #1 Rosemead CA. 91770
                                Tel: (626) 288-1169

                                Chameli Restaurant
                                8752 Valley Blvd. Rosemead CA. 91770
                                Tel: (626) 280-1947 Wed-Mon (11:00am-10:00pm)

                                素香園 Veggie World Vegetarian Restaurant (越南素食)
                                9016 Mission Dr Rosemead CA. 91770
                                Tel: (626) 237-0162 Tue-Sun (11am-3pm, 5:30pm-9pm)

                                新欣園 New Happy Family Restaurant
                                8632 E. Valley Blvd. #E Rosemead CA. 91770
                                Tel: (626) 288-5786

                                菩提素食 Bodhi Vegetarian Supply
                                8450 Valley Blve #106 Rosemead CA. 91770
                                Tel: (626) 280-7936

                                ROWLAND HEIGHTS
                                欣園素菜館 Happy Family
                                18425 E. Colima Rd. Rowland Heights CA. 91748
                                Tel: (626) 965-9923 Mon-Fri (11-3, 5-9) Sat-Sun (11-9)

                                紫竹林素食館 Bamboo Garden
                                1015 S. Nogales #131, Rowland Heights CA. 91748
                                Tel: (626) 964-8458 Mon-Thur (11-9) Fri-Sun (11-9:30)

                                SAN DIMAS
                                健康素食 Veggie & Tea House
                                641 W. Arrow Hwy San Dimas CA. 91773
                                Tel: (909) 592-6323

                                SAN GABRIEL
                                菜根香素食 Vegetarian Delight Restaurant
                                140 W. Valley Blvd #203 San Gabriel CA. 91776
                                Tel: (626) 288-2698 Daily (11am-10pm)

                                福華園 Fu Hwa Noodle House / 素點子 Happy Family Deli
                                301 W. Valley Blvd. #101 San Gabriel CA. 91776
                                Tel: (626) 300-3990

                                素品香 Vegetarian Restaurant
                                317 E. Valley Blvd. San Gabriel CA. 91776
                                Tel: (626) 573-4899

                                有機素食餐龐 Tea Shaker Vegetarian Food
                                7258 Rosemead Blvd. San Gabriel CA. 91775
                                Tel: (626) 287-5850

                                巧巧園素食 Veg Table Restaurant
                                841 W. Las Tunas Dr. San Gabriel CA. 91766
                                Tel: (626) 282-2282

                                妙香林素菜館 Vegetarian Wok
                                529 E. Valley Blvd #128 San Gabriel CA. 91766
                                Tel: (626) 288-6069

                                SOUTH EL MONTE
                                越南素食餐 Veggie Life Restaurant
                                9324 E. Garvey Ave #B, S. El Monte CA. 91733
                                Tel: (626) 443-8687 Mon-Sat (7:30am-8:30pm)

                                TEMPLE CITY

                                貓頭鷹素食簡餐咖啡屋 Owlet Cafe
                                5805 N. Rosemead Blvd Temple City CA. 91770
                                Tel: (626) 287-5126

                                四川素菜館 Szechwan Vegetable Restaurant
                                4815 N. El Monte Ave. Temple City CA. 91780
                                Tel: (626) 279-7558

                                TUSTIN

                                泓翔素食 Veggie Kitchen
                                13816 Red Hill Ave. Tustin CA. 92780
                                Tel: (714) 730-6618

                                UPLAND

                                Veggie Panda Wok
                                903 W. Foothill Blvd. #B Upland CA. 91786
                                Tel: (909) 982-3882

                                WESTMINSTER

                                天然素食館 Vien Huong Vegetarian Restaurant
                                14092 Magnolia St. #116-117 Westminster CA. 92683
                                Tel: (714) 373-1876 Daily (9am-10pm)

                                WHITTIER

                                素食館 Veggie Bistro
                                6557 Comstock Ave Whittier CA. 90601
                                Tel: (562) 907-7898

                                -----
                                Shan Restaurant
                                18621 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                                House of Vege
                                2439 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717

                                Vegetable Delight
                                17823 Chatsworth St, Granada Hills, CA 91344

                                Tastee Freez
                                1063 N Citrus Ave, Covina, CA 91722

                                Garden Fresh Restaurant
                                16034 Gale Ave, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

                                Vegetarian Wok
                                529 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                Veggie Bistro
                                6557 Comstock Ave, Whittier, CA 90601

                                Red Hill Cafe
                                420 E Dyer Rd, Santa Ana, CA 92707

                                Happy Family
                                301 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                                Vegi Wokery
                                11329 183rd St, Cerritos, CA 90703

                                Pacific Coast Cafe
                                6440 Via Real Ste 1, Carpinteria, CA 93013

                                Veggie & Tea House
                                641 W Arrow Hwy, San Dimas, CA 91773

                                Tea Shaker
                                3311 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA 91731

                                Las Tunas Restaurant
                                3603 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                                Veggie Life Restaurant
                                9324 Garvey Ave Ste B, South El Monte, CA 91733

                                1. re: K K

                                  Many of these are still around; there are a lot of these lists, all out of date, so I'm not sure what purpose is served by reposting a huge, out of date list right here.

                                  The list I linked to above (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35096...) is a little out of date, but gives some idea of which ones I'd rate as far as Chinese Buddhist style food. But most of the Buddhist style vegetarian places have very similar menus / cooking style to Happy Family. The nicest in terms of trappings right now is probably Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant (English name), which is at Focus Plaza ("Great Mall of China") at 140 W Valley - but not the same as the place mentioned above at that address, which hasn't been open for a good 8-10 years or more. This place has too big a menu and relies heavily on fake meat even compared to the other places, but the food has grown on me a little.

                                  Those who eat pungent foods like onion, garlic, garlic chive, shallot, cilantro, (and possibly egg), and who can tolerate a chance of mistakes / mix-ups / out and out lying will probably get tastier food at the non-vegetarian places discussed in this thread, though.

                                  I'm curious if either of the Temple City places are still open - I haven't heard of them, but will try to do some detective work this week. Vegetable Delight in Chatsworth (and a similar place in Reseda not mentioned above, operated by the sister of one of the owners of Vegetable Delight) are still both there. The style is a little (ok, a lot) more Americanized than most of the SGV places.

                                  -----
                                  Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant
                                  140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                  1. re: K K

                                    Some of the listings aren't restaurants--either retail stores or suppliers. Quite a few are out of business such as Vegetarian Wok in Alhambra (closed and reopened in San Gabriel), Vege House in Alhambra, House of Vege in Lomita, Bodhi Garden in LA, Green House in Monterey Park, Mercy (or Marcy, depending on which sign you read) in Rosemead, Bamboo Garden in Rowland Heights, Fu Hwa in San Gabriel (closed in 1999) and Vegetarian in San Gabriel. I think Chameli was an Indian restaurant, but it's gone.

                                    -----
                                    House of Vege
                                    2439 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717

                                    Vegetarian Wok
                                    529 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      Did House of Vege finally close? It was still there last time I drove by that area.

                                      Bamboo Garden may have closed, but Happy Veggie Garden (寬心園素菜餐廳) is in the same plaza at suite 127A, and is open as of a few months ago.

                                      Tea Shaker moved to El Monte, but I believe that location closed also. The family that owns it is really nice, but they've had a tough time since losing the original location, and I don't think they were busy enough in El Monte, and so the food didn't seem that fresh the last couple times I was there.

                                      Veggie & Tea house has another (very forgettable) location in Pasadena. Vege House in Alhambra was replaced with the new Mama Jia, I believe.

                                      Veggie World (one of the Viet places mentioned) has, I think, moved twice since that listing. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3514...
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689235

                                      -----
                                      House of Vege
                                      2439 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717

                                      Tea Shaker
                                      3311 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA 91731

                                      Happy Veggie Garden
                                      1015 Nogales St, Rowland Heights, CA 91748

                                      1. re: will47

                                        Last two times I drove by House of Vege, the signage was still up, but the restaurant was closed during normal business hours, which led me to believe they were gone. It's possible they were on extended vacation or something, so a confirmation would be appreciated.

                                        -----
                                        House of Vege
                                        2439 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717

                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                          Happy Vegge Family in Rowland Heights (in the Ranch 99 mall on Nogales) is actually pretty good. Probably the best of the bunch, esp. if you judge by the crowds.

                                  2. re: Mr Taster

                                    I am of east Indian origin, and avowedly non-vegetarian in my food preferences. I don't like the Gujarati and South Indian restaurants in Little India, though because of my wife's fondness for South Indian food, once in a while I will eat there.

                                    So when a good friend, who was the dean at my undergraduate alma mater in India, was visiting here several years ago, I had to think of a vegetarian alternative near Pasadena. I don't like to go to Indian restaurants for two reasons: he was traveling extensively in USA and was probably tired of Indian restaurant food; and I cook Indian food often at home and when going out, I would much rather avoid Indian food again, with some exceptions.

                                    I had heard of Happy Family, and took him there. Never again! It was a hugely disappointing experience.

                                    Fast forward to 2008 - his successor in the job, also a vegetarian - was visiting and I had to find a solution to the vegetarian dining problem. This time I chose to go to Little Fat Sheep, where you can choose all vegetarian items to add to the broth. This was the best vegetarian meal I have had in USA by far in any restaurant, in my personal opinion. I would do that again, if the dining restrictions of my eating companion forced a vegetarian option. It is not clear if their broth is truly vegetarian - as it may have had chicken stock. Unless you are a very strict vegetarian, it might not be a constraint. My visitor did not detect any non-vegetarian flavors in the broth.

                                    Little Fat Sheep is now Hot Pot Hot Pot. It could be an option for vegetarian Chinese, in my opinion.

                                    -----
                                    Happy Family
                                    301 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                                    1. re: suvro

                                      We've been told by the people at Little Fat Sheep that the broth is entirely vegetarian (though I admit, it does taste awfully rich for a meat free soup).

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        Thanks Mr. T
                                        Anybody has an inkling of the recipe?

                                        1. re: suvro

                                          I haven't eaten there, but my guess is that it probably has a lot of mushroom extract in it. It's often used in vegetarian recipes to provide fullness to stock or a dish.