You’ve seen & heard me rave on about the alarmingly good food at Vinh Loi Tofu. Vinh Loi is in my opinion not just one of the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, but some of the best food, of any kind, anywhere. I’m so not exaggerating. The food that Kevin Tran brings out from that tiny little window in the wall behind him takes flavor and ingenuity to an entirely new level. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore vegan or a guiltless meatlover, the meals being served at Vinh Loi transcend all such labels.

If you’ve been there before one of the first things you noticed was how tiny the place was. Cute and clean, but very small, with a little market area in the back. The exciting news is that all this has changed! The big counter that took up a lot of the front room has been replaced with a much nicer and smaller unit, opening up a large area of the restaurant for more tables and chairs, it’s a lot less crowded now. Also the market area has been removed, creating even more seating in the back. It’s now a really comfortable space for a sit down meal (it was ok before but this new layout is a big improvement).

Vinh Loi Tofu - Vegan Vietnamese Food

More importantly, not only is there now a nice new color menu with pictures, but Kevin is also constantly creating new dishes and re-inventing old ones… for example, he is indeed now serving his very own version of vegan Pho. That’s right folks, you heard it here first! Go try it… tell me how it is, I haven’t had it yet. See all those tantalizing looking dishes up on the wall? Those are just some of the newer dishes added since the menu was printed. The hardest thing about eating at Vinh Loi is deciding what to order!

And decide I eventually did. For this visit I picked the Curry Udon with Chicken.

Vinh Loi Tofu - Vegan Vietnamese Food

The chicken, vegan of course, is made from some magical concoction which once began as a soybean. What I can tell you is that it’s unlike any sort of fake meat items you’ve ever tried, tasting both authentic and yet not so real that it’s too real, with flavors that just burst in your mouth of heat and ginger and lemongrass and multitudes of goodness unrecognizable to mere mortals such as myself. There’s no point in thinking of it as a meat substitute, it’s something else entirely. And that’s only the chicken…

The curry covering these perfectly cooked udon noodles is simply not something that my limited culinary vocabulary is able to properly describe or do justice. This is by far one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, there’s no way around it, these noodles are just phenomenal. The flavor starts off for me as a Japanese style curry, but how it takes off from there in it’s entirely own directions is something of legends. This is the curry of the Gods right here. There’s plenty of veggies in there as well, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and as you can see a giant heap of fresh and glorious cilantro. The chilies are too hot for me even though I do like things rather spicy, but if you can take the heat these will rock your socks off.

I’m telling you, this dish kicks all kinds of ass, proving once more that vegan food isn’t all pansy-hippy-granola. There’s at least 30 or more new dishes up on that wall that I haven’t tried yet… what’s a girl to do?! Vinh Loi’s also now got extended hours (open everyday from 9am to 9pm!) and a brand spanking new website as well, so click on over, then drive on out to humble Reseda to get your serious eating on: www.vinhloitofu.com

My advice? Go hungry… go very, very hungry!

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13 Responses to “Vihn Loi Tofu gets an upgrade and new menu”
  1. Vegyogini says:

    Holy crap; I can’t believe it! I guess I’m going to have to get myself over there sometime soon, but not until I’ve thoroughly reviewed the new online menu to narrow my choices! Now, all we have to do is get him to include a link to your blog on his site. You certainly do deserve it. :)

  2. Mike n Valerie n Miles says:

    hell yes! we went here a few weeks ago and were blown away by the transformation!! the food is as good as ever, and you don’t have to negotiate for a seat. Kevin is definitely THE MAN, we intentionally over-order so we have leftovers for days. It’s a LONG drive from San Diego so we have to make it a side trip, but whenever we’re in the ‘hood Vinh Loi is a MUST!!!

  3. FoodEater says:

    Vegyogini That online menu doesn’t come close to covering all the food he’s actually got on hand… consider it just a teaser.

  4. FoodEater says:

    Mike n Valerie n Miles: The drive in from San Diego is a true sign of dedication, but I’m sure that after braving all that traffic and getting that food in your bellies, it all feels worth it!

  5. Trina says:

    Thanks for the Vinh Loi updates!

  6. Oh man! Thanks for the thorough review, it was really fun to read! I was in LA one day last week and wish I had had enough time to try this place — it sounds out of this world! I did read all your posts on Native Foods, though, and got to eat there twice. I got the reuben one time and the Gandhi bowl the other. Sooo good! You are a great resource…I hope I can go back to LA again. :)

  7. I nominated To Live and Eat in L.A. for the Brillante Weblog award:http://yosoyblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/thanks-to-those-who-make-my-work-day-go.html

    I love, love, love your vegan food porn :) Thanks!!!

  8. scott says:

    so i checked this place for the first time over the weekend. very good indeed. its safe to say i’d go back. i had no idea what to order, so i went with the chicken udon. i skipped the curry part, and i got beef instead of chicken, but it was good anyhow. next time i’m going to opt for the chow mein noodle, the udon was too thick for me.

  9. Kirby! says:

    Hello there! Yo Soy Liz beat me to it, but I still nominated you for a Brillante Weblog Award. You can see her or my site for details, and hopefully nominate seven of your own favorites.

  10. FoodEater says:

    Scott: I’m so glad you like it! I have no idea what that would taste like without the curry part but I’ve come to believe that anything that comes out of that kitchen will taste incredible. I highly suggest that no matter what you order, you also order the chinese donut along with it.

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