Question: Some of us are vegetarians who go to a wide variety of restaurants, because we live in the real world with non-vegetarian friends. My favorites include Nyala Restaurant, Sante Brea and Real Food Daily. Can you offer any other suggestions for places with good vegetarian food?
—Michael L. Stempel
Answer: You could always try a Shanghai-style restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley. There is a huge monastic tradition in east China, and among the pork pump and sea cucumber you will always find some pretty good vegetarian dishes: delicious mock duck or goose fashioned from tofu and mushrooms; shell beans braised with tofu sheets; pungent minced-vegetable dumplings; even the occasional mock cold pig kidney fashioned from gluten and various fungi, which has the same satisfying crunch as the original. You can’t go wrong at Mei Long Village, 301 W. Valley Blvd., No. 112, San Gabriel; (626) 284-4769.
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