Written by Sarah E. Jahier
I've said it before and I'll say it again - we are spoiled with vegan food places here in Orange County! We are so spoiled that in my 6+ years as a vegan I haven't even been to all of them yet. Shocking, right?! Plus, new ones keep popping up! I'm definitely not complaining, it just means I have oodles of options when it comes to dining out!
A new vegan restaurant called "Vegan Cuisine" opened up within the last two months in Fountain Valley, California, less than 10 miles where I live. After some friends posted pics on Instagram, I knew I had to check it out! This is another restaurant that serves vegan Asian food, but they also have some good old fashioned Americanized comfort food like fried chicken, burgers and even lasagna on weekends!
The place is a little bit hidden - they are located in a strip mall off of Edinger Avenue in Fountain Valley. From Edinger, you want to look for the Golden Triangle Shopping Center - you can park anywhere in the center, but the restaurant is actually on the backside of the building (its front door and patio face Lilac Avenue). If you park on the Edinger side of the parking lot, you can walk through the center and go in Vegan Cuisine's back door to get in the restaurant (it is right behind a beauty place) OR you can try to park over on Lilac or by the liquor store. There are also a few parking spots right next to the restaurant on the back side you could try (they were all full when I went). I just parked at the liquor store and walked behind it, along Lilac Avenue, to get to the restaurant.
The space itself is pretty airy and large. They have booths and tables set up, plus an outside seating area as well, and even a small stage with a karaoke machine (luckily this was not put to use while we were there)! The owner/host was very friendly and attentive. We had made reservations for a large group of 10 people, and everything was already set up when we arrived. They even brought out small bowls of nuts and dried berries to munch on while we pondered what to order. I also loved their water, which was cucumber flavored! So refreshing and delicious!
I also liked their menu - instead of listing the vegan proteins as "chicken", "fish" or "beef", they labeled them "flying free" or "feather light", "swimming free", and "grazing moon". I love this and I think it just adds something magical to the menu! It makes me smile knowing that no harm came to any animals because of my meal and nothing had to die in order for my body to be nourished.
The table ordered a variety of appetizers to share family-style, including the fried wontons, the spring rolls and steamed dumplings.
Fried wontons at Vegan Cuisine
The fried wontons were good, but a little lacking in filling. I did like the sweet and sour sauce they were served with, though!
Spring Rolls at Vegan Cuisine
The spring rolls were perfectly light and crunchy and came with a lick-your-lips peanut sauce that I could have eaten straight out of the bowl (I may have had a few spoonfuls!). Please note, they usually aren't served cut up like in my photo above, but the servers were thoughtful enough to cut them up for our group to share!
Steamed Dumplings at Vegan Cuisine
The steamed dumplings were my favorite appetizer. They were insanely flavorful and I loved the filling inside of them. I could have easily devoured all of these without the sauce, but the dipping sauce was delightful as well! I would order these again and again.
I have to tell you, I had the hardest time deciding on a main entree item to order! Everything looked so good, from the banh mi sandwiches to the noodles to the soups to the rice dishes! And then there was the dessert menu, which made me want to skip dinner altogether and just order everything sweet!
Fried flying free - you NEED this vegan fried chicken in
After much internal debate, I had to get their fried "flying free" dish. It is not on their menu, but was on their special's board. This fried vegan chicken is served with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and ranch dressing. This was possibly the BEST fried vegan chicken I have ever had!! The batter was on-point, perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of crunch, while the "chicken" was really tender. It was love at first bite! The coleslaw was okay, but in my opinion there was just too much of it as I only had a few bites. Also, the mashed potatoes were so-so and kinda tasted like they came out of a box. The gravy was alright, but the color was kinda off-putting and I wasn't sure where the ranch dressing was supposed to go (I dipped some of my fried chicken in it). That fried chicken certainly made up for any issues I had with the other items, though!
After eating all that, I was far to full to order dessert, though I really did want to try their pumpkin cake! They also have other cakes, cheesecakes, dessert breads, ice cream and flan - all vegan! I definitely need to try their desserts next time.
We were there a few hours, and while I enjoyed the restaurant for the most part, I did think that their service was a little slow. They did, however, offer to split all our checks, so that was nice of them to do (though it took some time). Also, the people working were very pleasant and kind - they even brought us some savory pastries on-the-house at the end of the night. Plus, I think all the positives I experienced outweigh the fact that service was a bit slow - and it gave me more time to catch up with friends! So really, win-win!
All in all, Vegan Cuisine is another new vegan restaurant in Orange County that I would be happy to return to! I am already thinking about what to try next time and I've been dreaming of that fried chicken for days! And, their prices are really reasonable, so I don't feel bad about trying lots of different dishes at once.
Vegan Cuisine is located at 11743 Edinger Avenue (be careful looking up their address elsewhere - their address is listed wrong on their Facebook page and on the menus in the restaurant) and you can find more information/see their menu on their website!