• March 4th, 2009quarrygirlkung pao bistro, LA restaurants

    los angeles vegans, i know you’ve had your fill of vegan thai food. on every corner there’s a vegan express, vegan house, vegan plate, or vegan-whatever-the-fuck…all dishing out indistinguishable pad see ew, freshy rolls and garlic pepper entrees. well now if you need an asian fix, you can put the thai habit on hold and grab some vegan-friendly chinese food from kung pao bistro.

    the asian eatery has two locations, one in studio city and one in weho, and both serve up loads of vegan options. they have an entirely separate vegetarian menu, plus the option to make any meat dish vegetarian by subbing faux for real meat at a $3 charge. while some of the fake meat has milk powder in it, plenty of it doesn’t, so rest assured…there are plenty of vegan options.

    i’ve been to kung pao bistro a few times. the weho location is close to my office, and has ample parking, so it’s usually a pretty no-brainer place to meet my mom for lunch when she’s in the area. while the vegetarian menu looks pretty inviting, we always get the same thing off the omnivore menu and veganize it for an additional 3 bucks…because it is so damn good.

    soy beef pan fried noodles. $13.50

    soy beef pan fried noodles. $13.50

    the pan fried noodles are like nothing i’ve ever had. they are the weirdest middle ground between soft and fried…they are crunchy yet soak up all the sauce, brittle and chewy at the same time. i love ordering them because they taste nothing like the vegan asian cuisine i’m used to, which of course consists mainly of thai food.


    the soy beef is delicious as well. it isn’t too sweet like it is at many asian places, and the texture is realistic and hearty but not gross. another good thing about the soy beef is it is definitely vegan. kung pao bistro clearly states on their website: “Not all dishes are vegan. Some of the vegetarian meats are made with milk or whey protiens. Please make sure when ordering to ask which dishes are vegan friendly.” well, unfortunately the staff doesn’t know shit about what is vegan. seriously, the few times i’ve asked them, they said all fake meats were vegan. i got to the bottom of the issue and emailed the restaurant directly. the manager wrote back and confirmed that the soy beef, normal soy chicken, and soy fish are vegan. the breaded soy chicken items such as orange chicken and faux shrimp both contain a milk protein. the dude totally knew what vegan meant, and if you have any additional questions, totally email him. just be sure vegans, if you order chicken at kung pao to make sure it isn’t of the breaded or battered variety.

    i went with whiter-than-white, all-vegan beef and it was delicious! even my mom loved it! and she doesn’t suffer crappy meat substitutes well. seriously.

    we also split a side of broccoli which was absolutely delicious, but a bit of a butt-rape at $7.50.

    sauteed broccoli. $7.50

    sauteed broccoli. $7.50

    cooked to perfection and flavorful as can be, i really can’t fault this stuff. but come ON! over 7 bucks for a plate of broccoli?!?! this is a $4 plate, tops. anyhow, i keep coming back to it because it’s really good. but i know i’m getting the shaft every time.

    vegan fortune cookie. compliments of the house!

    vegan fortune cookie. compliments of the house!

    when you are all done eating, kung pao serves up not just the bill, but VEGAN FORTUNE COOKIES! yep. the one pictured was totally animal-free. read the label on the one you get before you eat it, because it coulda been just a lucky coincidence; i mean, who knows who their distributor is? if you are fortunate enough to have a vegan fortune cookie (ha ha), don’t waste that shit.

    that’s all, kung pao bistro is a great vegan-friendly find. it isn’t necessarily a destination to travel to for some amazing experience or anything, but it’s damn good chinese food that you can trust to be free of dead animal bits. that’s not something we vegans get to eat very often, as most places are beyond sketchy. i will continue to go back, and next time i will try to order something different. (but damn those noodles are GOOD.)

    kung pao bistro
    west hollywood
    7853 santa monica blvd
    west hollywood, ca 90046
    (323) 848-9888

    studio city
    11838 ventura blvd
    studio city, ca 91604
    (818) 766-8686

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