Go to the main content Menu
Back
Food & Drink Los Angeles
Ryan Tempfer Ryan Tempfer

7 Best Spots for Vegan Vietnamese Food in Los Angeles

Banh Xeo, Com Tam, and Bun Bo Hue are just a few dishes you’ve probably never heard of but should probably add to your must-try itinerary as soon as that clock ticks. Okay, maybe there’s a spot or two with hella good pho on the list too, but that’s besides the point! Vietnamese cuisine is rich with diversity, packed with heart-warming depth, and home to the best damn baguettes you’ve ever had. Here in Los Angeles where a portion of the Vietnamese community practices ahimsa (non-violence)

Au Lac (Vegan)

DTLA

Let’s start things off strong with a Vietnamese concept that raises its food to the levels of fine dining. For better or worse, many Asian cuisines are looked at as being “cheap” or “budget” foods, and while we love $4 banh mi as much as the next person, this assumption has turned into a cultural standard that convinces people Asian foods can’t be prestigious culinary arts. Au Lac challenges those standards with wondrously plated dishes, a classy interior, and creative flavors that take Vietnamese spices, techniques, and soul to new heights. While we’d love to highlight one dish, there’s simply too many showstopping plates to focus on, but what you can expect is a plethora of elegant raw plates, hearty fusion entrees, as well as timeless Vietnamese dishes.

Vinh Loi Tofu (Vegan)

Reseda & Cerritos

Kevin Tran, owner of Vinh Loi Tofu, uses his Vietnamese heritage as a resource to create new, innovative dishes. While the menu contains a few classics such as congee (rice porridge), banh mi, and noodle soups, it also contains combinations unheard of for vegan cuisine, like duck fried rice, spam spring rolls, and duck noodle salad, all of which have for proteins at their base. What’s more, Tran also has a reputation for making customers off-menu items that are even better than what’s found on his menu. Simply go in, tell him what you’re in the mood for, and prepare for a mouth watering surprise.

Thien Tam Vegetarian Restaurant (Vegetarian)

El Monte

Never underestimate a strip mall restaurant—that’s a lesson you’ll learn after visiting this discrete shop with an extensive menu, incredible prices, and traditional recipes that’ll spark your tastebuds, soothe your stomach, and ignite your spirit. All of their vegan dishes are marked with a “V,” making ordering a breeze. For a crepe far different than the silky sheets of France, order banh xeo, a crackly Vietnamese crepe colored with turmeric, constructed with rice flour, and stuffed with various fillings. Proper eating etiquette includes tearing off a piece of crepe, grabbing a piece of leaf lettuce, wrapping it around the crepe, dunking the entire thing into Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese dipping fish sauce, which is completely vegan at vegetarian restaurants), and devouring! Just make sure you’re prepared for a new addiction, because banh xeo satisfy the senses in a way nothing else can.

Glendale Pho (Omnivore)

Glendale

Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without a few pho spots, as pho’s essentially Vietnam’s claim to flame, much how pad thai is to Thailand. Traditionally, pho is made by simmering beef bones over the course of 24-72 hours, which makes for a deep, umami-rich broth. While the characteristics of gelatin and collagen (found in animal bones) are hard to replicate, some people have found out how to make irresistible pho broth without any animal products. One such place is Glendale Pho, a site that’s mastered the tender balance of aromatics, toppings, and condiments necessary for perfect pho. And no, we didn’t stutter—condiments and add-ins are just as essential to pho as are the noodles and broth. A squeeze of lime, hand-shredded mint, and crisp bean sprouts are musts, while mild sriracha, sweet hoisin sauce, and/or house-made chili sauce elevate the flavors to eleven. If you’ve yet to find good vegan pho, we recommend you slide Glendale Pho to the top of your list.

Saigon’s Bakery and Sandwiches (Omnivore)

San Gabriel

Banh mi is right up there next to pho in terms of popularity, which makes sense given America’s fascination with handheld foods. For those not in the know, banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, traditionally comprised of a French baguette, some sort of grilled meat, mayonnaise, do chua (pickled daikon and carrots), fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices, and—if you’re lucky—pate. In Vietnam, these sandwiches are sold as street food for less than fifty cents. In the states, if you’re banh mi’s more than $5, you might want to question your decision, as traditional spots tend to stay true to the food’s budget-friendly roots. Saigon’s Bakery and Sandwiches in San Gabriel is an OG Vietnamese sandwich shop with fresh bread baked daily, a narrow menu of classic offerings, and 10-inch sandwiches less than $4. Their vegetarian option is a combination of thin glass noodles, fried tofu, yams, and some sort of seasoning which we’ve yet to nail down. Whatever it is, it’s chewy, hearty, and a unique replacement for the traditional meat that’s used. To make your sandwich vegan, simply order without mayo and apply Veganaise back home.

An Lac Hanh (Vegetarian)

South El Monte

A small dining space, kitchen bathrooms, cash only, and tight tables packed with chopsticks, soup spoons, and all the essential condiments are a sure sign of a legit Vietnamese establishment. Again, not that Asian cuisine can’t be fine dining, but small family-owned restaurants are the backbone of this food culture. An Lac Hanh’s menu is filled with traditional Vietnamese dishes most Americans have never tried or heard of. One such dish, one which is even worthy of challenging the almighty pho, is Bun Hue, a hearty rice noodle soup that’s deeper, spicier, and more umami than pho. At An Lac Hanh it’s served with veggie meats, fried tofu, bean sprouts, lime, and fresh cilantro. The only non-vegan items to look out for on their menu is sweetened condensed milk (used in coffee) and cream cheese (used in wontons).

Veggie Life Restaurant (Vegetarian)

South El Monte

Normally, we like to keep things within the “first person plural” perspective, aka “we” instead of “I,” however, I feel this restaurant is deserving of a first person narrative (rules are meant to be broken, right?). Veggie Life scores last on the list not necessarily because it ranks “better” than any others, but because it’s the closest experience to Vietnam my Vietnamese girlfriend Kim has ever found in Los Angeles. Everything from workers chatting with customers in native tongue, more-than-generous portion sizes, complimentary bowls of sweet green bean and seaweed desserts, and employees casually prepping vegetables in the dining area hits home with Kim, who hasn’t been back to Vietnam in 13 years. This is important because these types of experiences offer people an inside look at another’s country’s culture without ever stepping across their border. By my calculations, that makes a $25 meal at Veggie Life of infinite value when compared to an $800 plane ticket.

 

“But what about the food?” Good point. Veggie Life offers an array of authentic dishes, making it a spot worthy of several visits. Depending on your mood, try out their Vietnamese Curry with French Bread (Banh Mi Cari), Fried Rice with Roasted Chicken (Com Ga Roti), or Vermicelli Bowl with Egg Rolls, Shredded Pork, and BBQ Pork (Bun Bi, Cha Gio, Thit Nuong). Because the broth of Vietnamese Curry is soupier and less rich than that of other cultures, it’s traditionally served with bread instead of rice, making for bites of flavor-soaked goodness. If you’re a fan of curry, Cari Ga is a must-try. Com Ga Roti is essentially Vietnamese rotisserie chicken over fried rice. The chicken is chewy, meaty, and coated in a thick, savory, and subtly sweet sauce that’s akin to American BBQ sauce. When you’re craving those meat-heavy dishes of your childhood, this really soothes the spirit. Finally, a Vermicelli Bowl satisfies just about every taste bud on your palate, as it’s comprised of layers of texture, freshness, sweetness, and savoriness. Tender rice noodles form the base, house-made egg rolls excite one’s vision, shredded veggie pork adds chewiness, lemongrass grilled pork sparks the appetite, pickled daikon and carrots bring zingy acidity, and crushed peanuts, fresh bean sprouts, and ribbons of fresh lettuce balance out the bowl’s depth. Pour on liberal amounts of sweet and zesty nuoc cham all over and dig in! If it’s good enough to impress a girl who grew up with her grandma’s legendary cooking, it certainly earns a visit from the rest of us.

 

No doubt, pho is a classic comfort food, however Vietnamese cuisine is rich with dishes that spike the senses. From feel good vermicelli bowls to savory rice dishes and heart-warming noodle soups to flaky baguette sandwiches, there’s a Vietnamese meal for any time of day. Put the burgers and shakes on pause—there’s new culinary terrain to explore!

Ryan Tempfer

@ryantempfer

Ryan is a cook, writer, and musician born and raised in Tampa, FL. With years of recipe testing for his Asian-American food blog, No Eggs or Ham, behind him, he strives to sharpen the image of vegan food by highlighting chefs who push the boundaries of plant-based cuisine. Unlike the advice your mom lent you, he encourages you to play with your food every chance you get!

Articles by Ryan

More from VegOut

See the article 10 vegan cookbooks by asian authors

10 Vegan Cookbooks by Asian Authors

Add these delicious Asian-authored vegan cookbooks to your collection to redefine your cooking skills and palate!

Alejandra Tolley Alejandra Tolley
Vegan Cookbooks
Food & Drink
See the article the best vegan pop-ups across the us

The Best Vegan Pop-Ups Across the US

Vegan pop-ups are ushering in a new era of trendy eats!

Jared Cross Jared Cross
Veggie Fam
Food & Drink
See the article this vegan taiwanese korean mom-and-pop has been serving la for 30 years

This Vegan Taiwanese Korean Mom-and-Pop Has Been Serving LA for 30 Years

Garden Fresh Vegan is one of Hacienda Heights’ best kept secrets.

Alejandra Tolley Alejandra Tolley
Garden Fresh Vegan
Food & Drink Los Angeles
See the article cool off with these 10 vegan ice cream bars

Cool Off with These 10 Vegan Ice Cream Bars

These dairy-free frozen treats are sweet, creamy, and made for warm weather!

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Oatly
Food & Drink
See the article new vegan mexican restaurant hijo de su madre opens in west la

New Vegan Mexican Restaurant Hijo de su Madre Opens in West LA

The LA vegan taco truck favorite has just opened its doors to its first brick-and-mortar!

Alejandra Tolley Alejandra Tolley
Hijo de su Madre
News Los Angeles
See the article from harry potter star to vegan activist: an interview with evanna lynch

From Harry Potter Star to Vegan Activist: An Interview with Evanna Lynch

From working as an actor and adopting a vegan diet to hosting podcasts and launching a successful vegan beauty business, Evanna Lynch dishes it all!

Allie Mitchell Allie Mitchell
Evanna Lynch
Interviews
See the article hipcityveg launches vegan hot dog cart outside of nationals park

HipCityVeg Launches Vegan Hot Dog Cart Outside of Nationals Park

Suddenly, we’re baseball fans.

Allie Mitchell Allie Mitchell
HipCityVeg
News
See the article shake shack is testing vegan milkshakes

Shake Shack Is Testing Vegan Milkshakes

The popular burger chain recently debuted non-dairy frozen custard at select locations in New York and Florida.

Jared Cross Jared Cross
Shake Shack
News
See the article best vegan sandals for summer 2022

Best Vegan Sandals for Summer 2022

We’re stepping out in these cruelty-free looks!

Tammie Ortlieb Tammie Ortlieb
Feelgoodz
Fashion & Beauty
See the article aapi-owned vegan beauty brands to shop right now

AAPI-Owned Vegan Beauty Brands to Shop Right Now

Step up your skincare game with these AAPI-owned beauty brands!

Alejandra Tolley Alejandra Tolley
Blume
Fashion & Beauty
See the article best vegan-friendly fast-food chains across the us

Best Vegan-Friendly Fast-Food Chains Across the US

Fast-food restaurants broaden their customer bases by introducing meatless menus, some for the first time in their company's history.

Jared Cross Jared Cross
Panda Express
Food & Drink
See the article vegan mexican restaurant and wine bar opens in nyc’s chelsea market

Vegan Mexican Restaurant and Wine Bar Opens in NYC’s Chelsea Market

This month, New York’s historic market welcomes Pia, a restaurant featuring plant-based Mexican fare with natural wine pairings.

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Pia
News New York

Newsletter

We’ll keep you updated on new information,
upcoming events, and the best deals in your area.

By signing up you agree to receive emails from VegOut Magazine
and accept our terms of use, privacy policy, and cookie policy.

Subscribe Now

Get the latest in plant-based news, entertainment, and lifestyle delivered straight to your door (or inbox!)
Order the magazine!
The Holiday Issue

Navigation

The Holiday Issue

Subscribe Now

Order the magazine!
Close

Filters

Cities

The Most

Writer

Test

Test 2

ddd