A Dong

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 9 reviews )

1511 High St, Des Moines, Iowa, USA, 50312

Serves meat, vegan options available. Has a vegetarian menu also available - NOTE to ask kitchen to leave out fish sauce, etc. Large portions. Vietnamese music is played, silk hangings and buddha statues decoration. Open Tue-Thu 11:00am-10:30pm, Fri 11:00am-11:00pm, Sat 11:00am-10:00pm.

Categories: Chinese, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Vietnamese, Non-veg

9 Reviews

First Review by Amy916

A Dong Restaurant - Edit

There was a decent selection of options for vegans. The restaurant was was pretty large to sit in and it was a friendly environment.

Pros: Friendly, Open Late

Cons: Nothing

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Great Food! - Edit

As a vegan it's hard to find good food especially in the middle of nowhere. This place is a gem! We tried to go to Ritual Cafe but they closed their kitchen hours before time posted. They were nice enough to direct us to the best Vietnamese food ever! Large portions with finely cut vegetables. The owner was a sweetheart and loves his orchids! This food tastes like they put love into it!

Pros: Tastiest Food, Staff is nice, Ready fast

Cons: Language barrier, They don't tell you to pay at the counte

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Extensive Vegetarian Menu - Edit

So many choices that A-dong actually has a seperate vegetarian menu. Fav include 22c, 27c and 21c! Curry and the fried eggrolls are also fabulous. The service is friendly yet sometimes absent, however they get the food out fast!

Atmosphere is large and open which can get rather noisy when busy. Server does not bring check to you which can be confusing if you think you need to wait for it.

Overall great experiences and is one of my favorite places.

Pros: Selection, Egg Rolls, Friendly staff

Cons: Noisy

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Best vegan-friendly restaurant in Des Moines - Edit

The staff has always been knowledgeable and helpful when I've asked them about the vegan-ness of any menu items. If you love ginger, try the ginger tofu. Another favorite of mine is the vegetarian fried rice-just know that it normally is cooked with butter, but they will use oil instead if you ask them to. It has a great ratio of veggies to rice, and is absolutely beautiful.

The eggrolls and spring rolls are vegan and come with 2 sauce choices. The plum sauce is vegan. The lemon sauce may have fish sauce in it, or so a server told me, so I just always get the plum to be on the safe side.

A-Dong's prices are great, especially considering the high quality of both the food and the service!

Pros: Knowledgeable staff, Price, Vegan eggrolls

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A Dong - Edit

A Dong
515) 284-5632
1511 High St
Des Moines, IA 50309

It was someone at the Ritual Cafe who recommended A Dong as they had just shut down the kitchen. Sometimes timing is everything when you fly airplanes around the country and I missed the cutoff by 10 minutes.

This meal was to be eaten on the trip home, probably somewhere over Ohio and one of the concerns, since we don't have a tray table, is how messy are we going to get in the cockpit.

Well, I ordered the spring rolls and another dish with a sauce and rice. I had them mix the rice in the container with the sauce and I must say that the gentleman waiting on me was incredibly meticulous and taped down the lids of every spill-able item. And it worked like a charm.

The spring rolls, although perhaps a tad thicker on the dough than I'd had before was nicely chewy and the inside was crisp and delicious with a nice mix of ingredients.

I can't tell you what I ordered because I sort of mixed and matched off the menu to create a dish which had the ingredients and sauce that I wanted and this certainly gets a few extra points when I can literally prepare my own dish. It was delicious and I did something I rarely do in the airplane...I taped the lid back on and took the leftovers home.

Big Big Suggestion.

Get a menu online. People need to see that you have a specific vegetarian menu!!!!

Visit me at my blog: http://martysnycveggiereview.blogspot.com/
Marty's Flying Vegetarian Review

Pros: Good Food, Friendly

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love = A-Dong - Edit

They have the freshest most energizing food, consistently serving the highest quality of food available in Des Moines. it's fantastic! My favs are #s 16c 21c 25c and to share with a friend the veg firepot. If you're vegan vegetarian or just love real food eat at A-Dong! unsure of some of the ingredients just ask, the staff is very helpful and considerate.

Pros: fresh energizing food, natural and healthy, best in des moines

Cons: zero cons, zero cons, closed on mondays

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veg I think - Edit

I stoped in tonight and picked up some food to go. the 2 guys at the front counter were VERY friendly! I ordered off the vege section of the menu...and had a conversation about how I saw them on happy cow...mentioned no fish sauce. got back to my hotel with my food and dug in...it was GREAT!..but did I get a piece of sausage in my food? Maybe it was some sort of greyish not- sausage...but I wasn't going to drive back there after getting back to my hotel & 1/2way through my meal. hmm :(

3 Responses
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Avatar A_Dong

A_Dong 22 Feb 2013 - Oh, it's wheat gluten. Grayish, kind of like a disc shape?  

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kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - he does state below that he can't verify ingredients and sauces may not be clean. take that into consideration Aaron when you implore others to give blind faith  

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aaron 22 Feb 2013 - you won't get "sausage" or any other kind of meat unless you ask for it. trust A-Dong. also, it's likely that you won't be able to identify many of the ingredients in some of the dishes. free your mouth to fresh frontiers of unfamiliar veggies! !!!  

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Sooooooo Good! - Edit

While it is not %100 vegetarian or vegan, I went there as a vegan and came away quite happy. They have a fairly large vegetarian menu, with plenty of vegan options on it. You will not be disappointed (unless you hate Vietnamese food, but then what would be the point of going in the first place?). I don't remember what I got (I couldn't pronounce it so I just ordered by the number...) but I know it was a delicious soup type thing with tofu chunks, veggies, and beautiful hints of lemongrass and cilantro. Also, I had yummy vegan spring rolls for an appetizer.
This place as really good food, excellent service, and I can't wait to go back!

Pros: Large portions, Yummy food, Friendly staff

1 Response
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lilianex1059 12 Jul 2008 - In response to the review below me, I asked and none of the food I ate had fish sauce in it.  

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NOT Vegan (and I would say Vegetarian) friendly - Edit

I went to A Dong thinking it would be vegan friendly as this website and friends had mentioned that it had a large vegetarian selection. While it is true this restaurant labels a lot of dishes vegetarian every single one of them contains fish sauce! I asked if I could get a dish made without and the staff did not think that any of the dishes would taste good and highly recommended that I not omit the sauce. I stated that it was not a choice. It took about 20 minutes of the waiter running back and forth from the kitchen to my table to determine if they could accommodate such a request. I did not like the dish I finally ended up with and would NOT recommend this restaurant to anyone who avoids fish sauce.

Pros: Helpful staff

Cons: Fish in all Veg items

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Avatar A_Dong

A_Dong 22 Feb 2013 - Hey guys, just wanted to respond to the review made by Amy916.

It is true that some of our vegetarian dishes have the lemon sauce, which is the sauce in contention. As I'm just a server, they never tell me what is in it. They make it in the morning before I come to work, and it's a closely guarded secret. It's completely understandable to be weary of a sauce that is called nuoc mam (aka fish sauce) in Vietnamese. This is, however, a generic term for several sauces, including ones that don't have any fish in them whatsoever. But if you're not convinced, it's perfectly fine to leave it out.

The reason I felt compelled to respond to Amy's review was due to the fact that it has some incorrect information in it. Of the 33 different vegetarian choices, only 8 (and two of those are appetizers) involve the sauce at all. With these dishes, the sauce is always on the side (never mixed in) and can most definitely be substituted for a sauce that is vegan. I can assure that the dark "plum" sauce is vegan, as I've seen them make it, and I'm positive of all of the ingredients.

We have a large vegetarian and vegan following, who trust us to provide a healthy and meat free menu. As I consider several of them close friends, neither I, my coworkers, nor the owners would want to betray this trust by adding animal products into the main dish. This is why we always leave the lemon sauce on the side. Since we cannot disclose what the ingredients are, we cannot prove to you that it is vegan, therefore we set it on the side for your own discretion.

Amy, I hope you do give A Dong another chance. This time, you may actually find a dish that you enjoy! I apologize on behalf of the owners for your previous dissatisfaction, and I'm sure that we can make it up to you.  

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kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - I see you are just the waiter, but you MUST find out if there is Fish sauce in any given sauce at our request!! That is crucial to safety. If you don't care for safety, don't list it as vegetarian. Don't pretend with our health and safety!!!!  

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ajfuller 22 Feb 2013 - Hey everyone! I actually created an account here specifically to respond to this comment posted. As you can all see by the above response from an actual server at the restaurant, they are extremely helpful and committed to helping you find a vegan/vegetarian option. Most of the staff I've encountered have been quite knowledgable. The person from A Dong covered it the most, but I just wanted to add a couple of things, some of them, that our server helped us out with. First, some dishes can easily be changed, for instance, we go from vegetarian to vegan and back again, and one of my favorites is 27c, the stuffed tofu. It is cooked with butter, but you can have them substitute oil, which changes the flavor very little. Most of the people can tell you if it's vegetarian or vegan, and to reiterate, NOT every single dish has fish sauce in it, though many come with the side of fish sauce. HOWEVER, I wanted to point out that there is a widely available vegan fish sauce at almost every Asian food store, especially vietnamese grocers. If they don't want to reveal the ingredients in their sauces, perhaps they could start carrying the vegan fish sauce if they don't already, but my guess, since the flavor is SO similar, is that they already do. I would highly recommend trying them again. All of their dishes are so fresh and full of great vegetables and almost all of them can be made vegan or vegetarian.  

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