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Nov 27, 2009 08:58 AM

Veggie oriented Vietnamese in the SGV?

In reading of Vietnam and it's cuisine, it comes up how common vegetarianism is...yet, in checking the menus of two of the better known VN restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley (Golden Deli, Phong Dinh), I don't see much in the way of veggie dishes - for that matter not even meat dishes with a lot of veggies.

Someone asked me where they might find a VN place in the SGV that has a lot of veggie dishes or even meat dishes that feature a lot of veggies (so, it doesn't have to be hardcore vegan).

Any ideas or suggestions? They will be welcome.

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  1. Pho Pasteur offers a vegetarian bun bi, served with shredded mushroom/wood ear, pickled carrots and turnips, bean sprouts, peanuts over a bed of rice vermicelli. It is also served with a vegetarian fish sauce which I enjoyed and thought was pretty clever. :)

    Pho Pasteur
    8821 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

    1. I think most of the vegetarian/vegan Vietnamese restaurants are in Little Saigon, not SGV, which is probably why you're having problems finding them. SGV has more vegetarian Chinese places than anything.

      1. There's a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant in South El Monte called Veggie Life. My mom (a picky vegetarian) is a fan and I enjoy the food as well. My favorite is the cold noodle dish-I don't know the name (I only know it as #43). Their spring rolls and egg rolls are also tasty. This place is pretty cheap. Be forewarned though-there's not much ambiance, the service isn't the friendliest, and this isn't the cleanest of places.

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

        (626) 443-8687

        7 Replies
        1. re: crystaw

          My Vietnamese in-laws liked the place. Personally, I am not a big fan. Crystaw is correct: this place is a hole in the wall.

          1. re: crystaw

            I have been here a few times... food is decent, and some of the items are even pretty good, but seconding that the place is pretty gross (and I am someone who eats at a lot of hole-in-the-wall-ish places). I would say more, but I think the comment would get moderated out.

            There used to be a pretty good veg Viet place in Arcadia, on Huntington near Embassy Suites, but it closed a while back. I think there was also one on Rosemead Blvd. at some point, but I was never able to re-find it.

            Outside the SGV area, my favorite veg Viet places are Vinh Loi in Reseda and Thuyen Vien and Au Lac in the Fountain Valley area... there are a few others in the OC that I haven't tried.

            Viet Noodle Bar (mentioned below) is all right. I would make sure to ask questions and make sure what you order is actually completely vegetarian.

            1. re: will47

              Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions. I intend to give them a try when I can. As an aside (though I've created another thread) - any veggie style Spring/Summer Rolls at any of these places?

              1. re: JThur01

                Definitely - that's probably one of the most common things to find, both at vegetarian and non-vegetarian Vietnamese places.

                At the vegetarian places, they will usually have the veggie Vietnamese ham (or fake shrimp) in them. Personally, I prefer to avoid a lot of the processed fake meat stuff as much as possible, because it's processed, because there are often dairy products (which I don't eat) in them, and because there have been some reports of actual meat making it into some of these mock-meats.

                My favorite would be the deep-fried rice-wrapper ones (usually called imperial rolls or something in English) on top of bun, with veggie nuoc mam. So good!

                1. re: will47

                  I figured Spring/Summer Rolls would be a staple. Thanks Will.

              2. re: will47

                will47, I have tried some of the other Vietnamese vegetarian restaurants in OC, including Zen in Westminster, Bo De, Van Hanh, as well as Au Lac and Thuyen Vien. My favorite Viet places remain the same as your favorites: Vinh Loi, Au Lac, and Thuyen Vien.

                1. re: will47

                  I remember the restaurant on Huntington that you're talking about that close quite awhile ago. It was in the Tokyo Wako plaza next to Souplantation. You know what though-I believe it was another location of Veggie Life or associated with it somehow. Hard to believe I know since that location was a lot nicer than the El Monte location.

              3. Good Girl Dinette in Highland Park offers a nice selection of vegetarian and/or veggie oriented Vietnamese offerings.

                I really recommend the Cauliflower Pot Pie.


                1 Reply
                1. Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater Village is delicious and veggie-focused. Great ambience too. 3133 Glendale Blvd., 90039.