Road Trip: Ding How in Davis!  »

Public service announcement: Davis, Calif.—Sacramento’s hippie cousin, home of Aggies and bike lanes—has some great vegan eats. We’ve yet to review any of it here on the ‘saurus, but that changes RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, bitches, with a visit to Ding How.

Don’t be fooled by the sign outside: Ding How is not a cleaners. Praise be, because if it were I would not have been able to fill my belly with vegan Chinese food.

The atmosphere of this spot is pretty standard strip-mall Chinese (guess what, I’m the year of the dog!). But things start to get crazy as soon as they bring you a menu.

Note the words “Vegetarian Cuisine” on the cover. That’s right folks, they have a whole separate vegetarian menu, a parallel universe to the meat they also serve. This means you get to pretend you’re eating at a vegetarian restaurant even though you’re not, and you don’t even have to LOOK at the meat options. If you’ve got cranky carnivore friends with you, maybe try to slip them the veggie menu—they might not even know the difference! We’re so sneaky, that’s totally the way to change the world, right? Lies lies lies!

Do be careful though: plenty on the menu isn’t vegan, and the Vegetarian Bowl soup has fish balls in it. The good news is that the chef and wait staff (woo, Kathleen!) are good at answering questions and know that “vegan” doesn’t mean you’re from some sci-fi planet or whatever.

We started off with a large order of the hot and sour soup (vegan if you ask). Not only was the soup thick, pungent, and ass-kicking, it also had little strips of chewy protein in it. The large was enough for probably five or six people as an appetizer. Win!

Then, being solid gluttons, we got three entrees for three people. I hear the Mandarian fried shrimp are like crack, but due to a supplier snafu they were not available during our visit. You should probably order them though.

Instead, we settled for General Tso’s Chicken, Ginger Beef, and one of the house specialities, Oyster Mushrooms with Soft Tofu.

Chicken = must-have winner. Not too saucy, the perfect amount of chewy in each bite.

Ginger beef was also good, with jerky-like little strips and strips of real ginger.

The only disappointment of the evening was the mushroom dish. Though it looked sexy, the soft tofu was flavorless and the fried coating slimed off the outside. Don’t order that one unless you’re obsessed with mushroom, ok?

All that awesome food and the total only came to $35. There’s a lunch menu with even more value-filled specials. Conclusion: If you be in Davis, eat these foods. 

Ding How!

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