vegetarian-friendly (but not exclusively veggie) around Irvine & Laguna Beach?

Coming down from the Bay Area to be in/around Irvine & Laguna Beach for a few days. It’s been a minute! What are can’t-miss places? Especially interested in Chinese & Vietnamese food. Girlfriend is basically vegetarian; I eat flying things & swimming things.

One specific problem to solve is we need ideas for take-out to bring to family’s house in Irvine for backyard dinner. None of the people involved can tolerate stronger than mild heat.


Hi @indigirl ,

Hm, some potential ideas:

  • Paradise Dynasty - This is the first branch in So Cal for the Singaporean-based restaurant. Their Chicken Dumplings (all sorts are good) (e.g., Poached Chicken & Vegetable Dumplings), Chicken Dumplings in Chili Vinaigrette. They have a bunch of Vegetarian dishes as well, I love their Stir Fried Pea Shoots in Garlic, they also have 4 - 5 other Chinese Vegetables stir-fried, plus Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings (I haven’t tried them yet). If Egg is OK, they have some Vegetarian friendly Fried Rice with solid Wok Hei. I posted some pics here, but they are more of the meat dishes.

  • Ba Le Sandwiches (Westminster, CA): If Egg is OK for your girlfriend / yourself, do not miss Ba Le Sandwiches legendary Egg Banh Mi! :blush: They bake their own Vietnamese-style Baguette at their store every day (multiple times a day). They make their mayonnaise from scratch. They also have a Vegetarian Banh Mi, but I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know how good that one is. Cash Only (but their great Banh Mi are like ~$3.68 each! What a bargain). :slight_smile:
    Ba Le Sandwiches
    9152 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683
    (714) 891-9424

Thank you, both places noted!
Altho if we get to Westminster our first choice will be Bo De Tinh Tam Chay, which is the main thing I miss from down there.
Yes egg is fine!

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Also, good thing you linked to your other post mentioning decline in Din Tai Fung – I was thinking of that for our first lunch off the plane! Haven’t been to DTF since 2015 so I guess it won’t live up to my memories. Where to grab lunch near the airport? Outdoor seating a must.

oh, also love Japanese food :slight_smile:

Hi @indigirl ,

By “airport” I’m guessing you mean John Wayne Airport (in OC)? Just making sure you weren’t talking about flying in to LAX. :slight_smile:

For Irvine area, you could try:

  • Fukada - Nice mom & pop Japanese restaurant, specializing in Soba (Buckwheat Noodles), Udon, Tempura, and other comfort food dishes. :slight_smile: It’s not the best, but just solid and enjoyable. :slight_smile:

They have a few outdoor tables besides their indoor dining room.

Yes SNA! And we did go to Din Tai Fung for lunch and maybe it was not quite as perfect as I remember but still very very good, definitely going to keep that as the fresh off the plane option. Chicken dumplings, veggie dumplings, rice ovals with shrimp, seaweed salad, soy noodle salad, bok choy. (we had leftovers for dinner!)

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A&J - vegetarian friendly

Mitasie 3 - vegan

There’s also always the highly-rated Au Lac in Fountain Valley…

Au Lac

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reporting back: it turned out to be a little less food-oriented of a trip for various reasons, but we did go to A & J & got some yummy things like vegetarian delight on rice & a couple of the vegetarian appetizers & small plates, plus meaty noodles for the relatives. Not the best scallion pancake I’ve ever had, to be honest – it seemed a little doughy to me. Same w/ the thousand layer pancake. Everything else was good.

Anyway I’ve added everyone’s suggestions to my list for future trips! Thank you all very much!


I went to Au Lac last year! I didn’t like it as much as Bo De Ninh Tam Chay but maybe I didn’t order right? What it did have was outdoor seating, so that carried the day…

In Laguna Beach - Zinc Cafe is a solid vegetarian option.

ooo thank you! noted for next time…