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What Are The Vegan Options At Leeann Chin? (Updated Guide)

What Are The Vegan Options At Leeann Chin? (Updated Guide)

Leeann Chin is an Asian quick-service food chain headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The food chain has more than fifty outlets in the Midwest and was founded in 1980 by Leeann Chin, who received funding from Sean Connery and Carl Pohlad. 

This article will discuss the vegan options Leeann Chin offers. 

Is Leeann Chin Chinese Cuisine Vegan?

No. Leeann Chin is not a vegan restaurant but it has some vegan items on the menu

What’s Vegan At Leeann Chin?

There are only two items on the menu that are vegan:

  • Mixed vegetables
  • Firecracker tofu

Vegan Menu In Chinese Restaurants

Almost every Chinese food joint has tofu, a vegan staple, and is considered a perfect meat substitute. Here are some other vegan items that you can eat in a Chinese eatery:

Drinks

  • Bubble tea

Appetizers

  • Veggie spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce
  • Veggie steamed dumplings
  • Hot and cold sesame noodles
  • Salad with sesame dressing or ginger

Entrees

  • General Tso’s tofu
  • Garlic tofu
  • Cashew tofu
  • Sweet and sour tofu
  • Broccoli and tofu
  • Map tofu
  • Kung pao tofu
  • Mongolian tofu
  • Orange tofu

Rice And Noodles

  • Vegetable chow mein
  • Tofu chow mein
  • Steamed rice
  • Vegetable rice (fried)
  • Tofu rice (fried)

Vegetables

  • Garlic eggplant
  • Vegetables (steamed) with sesame sauce
  • Green beans (sautéed)

Famous Vegan Chinese Dishes 

There is a misconception among vegan dieters that Chinese cuisine has no vegan elements. However, to an extent, there is some truth as well; most Chinese dishes are heavy on seafood, chicken, and other meat varieties. That being said, some Chinese dishes are 100% vegan, and they are:

Chinese Pickled Cucumbers (Smashed)

This is a typical appetizer and is available in most Chinese restaurants. This dish contains a bit of oil, and it is meatless. The ingredients of this dish are:

  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic
  • Chili peppers
  • Coriander
  • Cucumbers
  • Sugar
  • Salt

Ma Lan Tou With Spiced Tofu (Dried/Chopped)

This dish from Shanghai contains chopped tofu and ma lan tou leaves. It is a plant-based dish and also has the following ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt

Braised Kao Fu With Mushrooms

Kao Fu is a type of wheat gluten and has been a part of Chinese cuisine for years. This dish is usually served as an appetizer; it has a nutty flavor and resembles tofu due to its chewy texture. Kao Fu is braised in sweet soy sauce; it is rich in minerals and protein derived from plant-based ingredients.

Stir-Fried Potatoes, Eggplant, And Peppers

These three delicious vegetables are known as the ‘Three Earthly Boundaries’ in Shandong cuisine. These three ingredients are stir-fried and are a significant dish in Chinese food culture. To make this dish, you will need to chop the vegetables, give them a cornstarch coating, and sauté them with:

  • Onions
  • Garlic cloves
  • Soy sauce

Chinese Scallion Shanghai Noodles

These are plant-based noodles topped with sesame soy sauce and loaded with scallion. This dish is from Shanghai and can be eaten as a snack or for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. 

Bamboo Shoots (Braised)

Several Chinese families cook bamboo shoots during the spring, and they season the bamboo with mushrooms, star anise, and siu tong chai. These bamboo shoots are also often paired with rice and are topped with chopped chili.

Tiger Skin Fried Peppers

These heaty peppers are marinated in black vinegar and cooked in a wok until their skin is crinkly and is bursting with rich flavor. This is a Szechuanese side dish made from plant-based ingredients and is often paired with rice.

Hunan Steamed Eggplant

This is a classic dish and only contains plant-based ingredients:

  • Scallion
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sweet soy sauce
  • Red chili
  • Spring onion
  • Eggplants
  • Garlic (minced)
  • Peanuts (chopped)

Lo Han Jai

This is a traditional vegan dish, and it has been part of Chinese cuisine for years. This dish comprises of:

  • Braised bamboo shoots
  • Lotus seeds
  • Water
  • Chestnuts
  • Pressed tofu
  • Black mushroom
  • Wood ear

The flavor of this dish comes from its marinade that comprises of:

  • Peanut oil
  • Pickled cabbage
  • Ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • Cooking wine
  • Other seasonings

Veggie Dumplings

Who doesn’t like a bowl of freshly cooked dumplings? Most dumplings in Chinese cuisine have pork and may even contain eggs or shrimp. However, there are a lot of vegetable dumplings as well in Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine. These veggie dumplings are filled with:

  • Chinese celery
  • Pak Choi (chopped)
  • Soup noodles
  • Jicama
  • Rice noodles
  • Mushrooms (diced)

Vegan Chinese Restaurants

The ongoing pandemic has changed our world in many ways; we are constantly trying to adjust and protect ourselves. This pandemic has had a huge impact on the restaurant industry, and there has also been an increase in violence and discrimination against the Asian community.

When the pandemic began, Chinatown enterprises in the United States were among the first businesses to suffer. However, there is some good news; the restaurant industry has adopted new tactics such as takeout, pickup, and delivery models, which has increased the popularity of Chinese food.

Below are some restaurants that offer vegan Chinese food:

Spicy Moon/ New York City, New York

This restaurant is located in NYC’s East Village and offers vegan Chinese food, such as:

  • Beyond beef with veggie rice
  • Spicy Mapo tofu
  • Cumin dusted fries
  • Fried pickles with Szechuan sauce
  • Crispy mountain yams

Lion Dance Café / Oakland, California

Shane Starbridge and Marie Chia run this institution that offers a vegan menu and offers dishes like:

  • Spicy coconut soup with tofu, pumpkin, rice noodles, Laksa leaf, and pulled yuba
  • Shaobing sandwich (comes with a sesame flatbread)

Beelman’s / Los Angeles, California

This sports bar is located in downtown LA and features several plant-based dishes, thanks to chef Caroline Concha from the Philippines. The chef transformed the entire restaurant and changed its menu from animal-centric to vegan-centric. 

The chef was also named the best female chef in LA in 2018. The restaurant makes several vegan dishes such as:

  • Impossible Burger
  • Citrus spare ribs
  • Thai basil
  • Rice

Ichiza Kitchen / Portland, Oregon

This restaurant stands out among vegan eateries in Portland and boasts an impressive menu loaded with delicious vegan dishes. Cyrus Ichiza’s owner takes inspiration from his Taiwanese and Filipino background. The restaurant offers vegan dishes such as:

  • Chicken adobo (marinated in black soy sauce and coconut vinegar) with rice
  • Cantonese Cheung Fun (rice noodles filled with fried garlic, shrimps, bacon pork)
  • Other Cantonese dishes

Chef Kenny’s Vegan Asian Restaurant / Las Vegas, Nevada

Chef Kenny, a Vegas legend, brings his brand of vegan Chinese food to the masses. You can eat the following vegan Chinese dishes at this eatery:

  • Orange chicken
  • Kung Pao beef
  • General Tzo chicken
  • Vegan sushi

Conclusion

This article helps vegan dieters find suitable options on the Leeann Chin menu. We have also discussed other Chinese dishes that vegans can eat. 

There is also a list of several vegan restaurants spread across the United States in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Washington DC, etc.