Pan-Asian Metropolis — Vegetarian Asian Restaurants in Los Angeles

Pan-Asian Metropolis

Vegetarian buffet in Taiwan (Image: Bon Voyage Vegan)

Eater LA just published a piece titled Essential Los Angeles Vegetarian Restaurants. As a vegetarian I read it with interest but was left a bit unsatisfied. I’ve eaten at seven of the seventeen restaurants on Eater’s list and have enjoyed the dining experience at each, but I do have a few quibbles:

  1. Mohawk Bend isn’t a vegetarian restaurant. They do have vegetarian options, as does every local restaurant that I’ve ever been to — with the exception of Saigon Flavor in the San Gabriel Valley.
  2. Speaking of the San Gabriel Valley, not a single of Eater’s picks is from that region, even though every Angeleno whose ever dined out knows that region as the place with all of the best restaurants.
油炸麵筋罐頭(素鸭),產地台湾 (Fried, canned gluten from Taiwan — Image: Alex Ex)

By shunning the SGV, the good listiclers at Eater have served up a list which will no doubt chicharron-ni-mang-juan-suka-t-sili-90gplease members of the KKKK (the Kale Kinwa Kombucha Klan), which is fine for folks who choose vegetarianism out of health concerns or because they can’t get enough of those ancient grains, raw greens, and beverages which taste like they were filtered through unwashed yoga pants. On the other hand, there’s almost nothing for vegetarians health concerns are more for the animals and planet, rather than themselves… vegetarians, say, who love battered, greasy, fried, chunks of salt-and-MSG-seasoned gluten, chemically flavored to taste like chicken.

I made this map for those people (and myself), and because it’s Asian Pacific Heritage Month (and because it’s what I want to eat 88% of the time) it’s specifically a map of vegetarian Asian restaurants. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 09.16.13
王若琳Joanna Wang’s “The Revenge of the Farm Animals

食福 いただきます कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये Selamat makan 맛있게 드세요 Kainan na ทานให้อร่อย 食飯 राम्ररी खानु होला تامىغىڭىز ياخشى بولسۇن ཞལ་ལག་ཉེས་པོ་གནང་རོགས། Chúc ngon miệng


BULAN (ThaiFairfax and Silver Lake)

Bulan Thai

DAVE’S GOURMET KOREAN FOOD (Korean — various locations)

Pickled garlic, ginger dressing, sweet & spicy sauce. All fantastic. (Image: Jay M.)

Vegetarian fans of Korean cuisine have probably experienced many a meal sadly centered around beer, pajeon, or vegetable bibimbap. All are delicious, mind you, but it’s hard not to feel marginalized dining with friends at a gogigui and picking through ban chan and trying to avoid those with shrimp paste while the rest of the group complains of not being able to eat anymore bulgogi or galbi. Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food doesn’t exactly come to the rescue as far as dining out goes because it doesn’t have a brick and mortar home (the address on the packaging is of a building in the Hollywood Studio District). The titular Dave is an elusive Korean immigrant and his operation doesn’t even seem to have a proper website. Thankfully, however, his uniformly delicious items can be easily enjoyed from many local farmers’ markets, including those of Burbank, Calabasas, Hermosa Beach, La Cienega Heights, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, South Pasadena, Torrance, and others.

FINE GARDEN (Chinese and TaiwaneseSan Gabriel)

Dining on the patio with my doggeh. He really wants that almond puff dessert. Can’t blame him – it’s delicious! (Image: April T.)

HAPPY FAMILY (Chinese — Monterey Park, Rosemead, and Rowland Heights)

Happy Family Restaurant III (Vegetarian), Monterey Park 2002 (Image: Tomo Isoyama)

INDIA SWEETS & SPICES (IndianAtwater Village, Canoga Park, and Culver City)

India Sweets & Spices Riverside – Grand Opening January 17th, 2015


NEW DELHI PALACE (Indian — Pasadena)

Combo sampler (Image: Gladys N.)

PARU’S (South IndianLittle Armenia)

Dining room at Paru’s (Image: Mighty Sweet)

SAMOSA HOUSE (Indian — Culver City and Silver Lake)


SHOJIN (JapaneseDel Rey and Little Tokyo)

Spider woman. Take on the Spider Roll (Image: Camille “Filipina Fury” R.)

VINH LOI (VietnameseReseda)

Bun Thit Nuong #5 $8.00 (Image: kevin t.)



For further reading about Asian vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles, see Kristie Hang’s 10 Vegetarian Restaurants You Need To Try In The San Gabriel ValleyClarissa Wei’s Four great vegetarian Chinese restaurants and Where to Eat Vegetarian Chinese Food in Los Angeles; and Quyen Do’s At Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant in Little Saigon, your egg rolls are made by Vietnamese Buddhist nuns and monks. Also check out Green Menu, an Alhambra-based non-profit which promotes plant-based diets and offers members all sorts of exclusive offers at vegan, vegetarian, and vegetarian-friendly restaurants of all sorts of cuisine.

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, Boom: A Journal of California, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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