10 Unique Mom-And-Pop Restaurants In The Valley You Must Try!


Written by Kristie Hang

10 Unique Mom-And-Pop Restaurants In The Valley You Must Try!

The San Fernando Valley has an undeserved reputation for being a food desert that forces hungry residents to make the long trek over the hills for any decent food. Truth is, there are a slew of unique mom-and-pops off the beaten path that are worth the trek, no matter which side of the hills you live on.

Chow Fun: Sham Shanks

Los Angeles Magazine

Written by Evan George

Chow Fun: Sham Shanks

In this month’s Asian Food issue, Evan George—Los Angeles magazine contributor and co-creator of the vegetarian cooking blog Hot Knives—delves into the world of mock meats where soy is king and food scientists invent veggie versions of everything from kid...

Most days Kevin Tran is hard at work before sunup in the back room of his Vietnamese café. He sifts handfuls of scrunchy tofu fiber into pans of soy paste, which are then steamed or chilled. In a few hours all will have morphed into vegetarian versions of everything from pork to oysters. Tran belongs to a 1,000-year-old tradition. Wheat gluten-based seitan—aka wheat meat—is believed to have been conceived in China by Buddhist monks and then perfected in the royal courts, whose emperors decreed that their food scientists invent mock duck for vegetarian holidays and make it tasty or else. These guys wrote the first rule of fake meat: Texture is everything.

A Tofu Factory (and Vegan Restaurant) in the Valley


Written by Zach Behrens

Kevin Tran has no customers, just friends. And for over six years, he's had hundreds of friends who visit him everyday at his restaurant and tofu factory in Reseda called Vinh Loi Tofu. "I'm a tofu lover," he explained of the restaurant's beginnings. "One day my wife came up with an idea, 'honey, let's open a tofu factory, we can eat tofu everyday.'" And so they did. In 2002, they opened a the factory only for a year later to turn part of it into a restaurant, which is now one of Los Angeles' best vegan restaurants (the staff of Los Angeles Magazine are huge fans and Discove ry Channel visited the restaurant to show people how Tofu is made, that video is below).

Southern California; Valentines at Vinh Loi Tofu, Madeleine Bistro, Shine Cafe & Donut Mania!

The Urban Housewife

Written by Melisser, The Urban Housewife

Southern California; Valentines at Vinh Loi Tofu, Madeleine Bistro, Shine Cafe & Donut Mania!

Having family & friends in another part of the state can have an upside; an excuse to travel! Recently, Ryan, Strummer, & I hit the road heading south in search of all things good & vegan. Boy, did we hit the jackpot!

It all started with Valentine's Day, not a favorite of this crew, but an excuse to dine out nonetheless. Rather than make it a private affair, we rounded up an awesome posse of vegan bloggers to celebrate with! Miss Anthrope & Mr. Meaner of Quarrygirl.com, Ms. Foodeater of To Live and Eat in LA, & Vegyogini from Hugger Food all made the trek to our agreed upon destination, Vinh Loi Tofu in Reseda.

Vinh Loi Tofu – Where things aren’t what they seem

Dining with the Catty Critic

Written by The Catty Critic

Vinh Loi Tofu – Where things aren’t what they seem

I think one of the top 5 goals people set for themselves in the new year is to lose weight/eat healthier. I know I’ve set that resolution many times for myself. MANY times…

A few months ago, Husband let me have a girl’s lunch out to take a break from the baby. I met up with my friend Kristeen of Kristeen LaBrot Events and she took me to Vinh Loi Tofu. This Vietnamese restaurant is a little different; they make tofu in-house and turn it into vegan-friendly “meat”. Yup, all the meat on the menu is actually soy-based. Before you balk, I have to say that their meat substitute is the best I’ve ever had.

Pretenders: Mock Duck

LA Weekly

Written by Johnathan Gold

Dear Mr. Gold,

While living in Minneapolis, my wife developed an addiction to the mock-duck dishes — especially the curry varieties — available at the many Vietnamese restaurants there. In our eight years here in Southern California, I’ve been unable to locate any restaurants that serve this. Any ideas?

—Wrye M., Los Angeles


Dear Mr. M.,

There are vegetarian “meats” of every description in the San Gabriel Valley: vegetarian game hens, vegetarian pork kidneys, vegetarian shrimp, vegetarian liver, vegetarian beef — enough to fill an entire refrigerator aisle at major Chinese supermarkets like Shun Fat and 99 Ranch.

Vinh Loi Tofu - SFV's Vegan Gem


Written by Famished Lady

One of the true gems in the valley is Vinh Loi Tofu in Reseda. This is a truly magical place where owner, Kevin Tran, creates unbelievable vegan delicacies. First, let me say, I am not vegan and enjoy a well-cooked piece of animal flesh any day. However, I also know great food when I taste it.

Chef Kevin's special gift is the ability to make tofu in different shapes, colors, textures and flavors. The beef tofu is greyish pinkish, and has an earthly, musky cinimon flavor that reminds me of a Morrocan beef dish. The chicken tofu is like the purest white meat chicken. When you pull it apart, it even shreads as chicken would. His shrimp looks like shrimp, pink and curved and segnented, and it feels like shrimp in your mouth. It really is a marvel what the man can do with the soybean.

Everything is made “in-house”. If you are going for the first time, I highly recommend the House Special Soup. It is a wonderful introduction to Kevin’s magic. The flavorful broth (a bit on the spicy side but if you don’t like that, just let Kevin know), is filled with shrimp, beef, chicken and fish tofu, all of which taste better than their “real” counterparts and noodles. I, personally, don’t care for the fish too much so I ask for it to be excluded but that is truly just a personal preference.

The joy of soy: fresh tofu in Southern California

Los Angeles Times

Written by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee

latimesTofu gets a bum rap. Some people dismiss it as health food for vegans and hippies. Others think that it's just a jiggly white brick with no flavor. That may be because people think of tofu only as the characterless cubes sitting cold and forlorn in the back corner of salad bar bins or those hard, joyless bricks that vegetarians bring to backyard barbecues.

It's really a shame because tofu can be a beautiful thing, especially when it's freshly made -- soy beans dried, soaked and boiled in distilled water, lovingly ground to a perfect pulp, boiled, coagulated with sea salt, strained, formed and wrapped still soft and warm, fresh from its milky bath.

Luckily for us, a handful of people in Southern California are obsessed with making tofu the old-fashioned way. They wake up at dawn to get the soybean grinding started. They offer their gorgeous, creamy white wares fresh daily, so that you too can experience the joys of soybean heavenTofu was first made in China more than 2,000 years ago. However, we call it by its Japanese name because they were the first to popularize it in this country. The Chinese call itdaufu, Vietnamese call it dauhu, and Koreans call it dubu...

10-9 Mon-Sat 11-9 Sun

  • 18625 Sherman Way
  • Reseda, CA 91335
  • Phone: (818) 996-9779


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