Ding How

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 9 reviews )

640 W Covell Blvd Ste B, Davis, California, USA, 95616

Serves meat, vegan options available. Chinese restaurant. Menu includes vegetarian section with many faux meat dishes.

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

9 Reviews

First Review by Tatiana

Is it even vegan? - Edit

I’ve eaten here several times before and after going vegan. The service has been pretty terrible each time but I overlooked it since the food was good. However, It is VERY challenging to find out whether something is vegan or not. They couldn’t really understand what I was asking and once the girl at the counter seemed to get really irritated by me simply asking whether the noodles were egg noodles. They have a separate vegetarian menu but I’m not sure whether anything is vegan because it’s so hard to get answers.

Pros: good portion sizes

Cons: poor customer service

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No. - Edit

When we first arrived there was nobody in the dining area and we waited 5 minutes to be seated. They have a vegetarian menu but don’t underand what vegan is. I asked if something had dairy and she replied “what does that mean.” Food wasn’t very good. We didn’t get checked up on a single time but when an older lady came out for the first time to bring the check came the lady stood there staring at us until we pulled our money out even after I said we need a minute.

Cons: Poor service, Don’t understand vegetarian vs. vegan , EXTREMELY rude

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NOT vegan. - Edit

This place is gross and the food is gross too. They have no idea what vegan is. Don't eat here.

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Great Variety! Separate Veggie kitchen! Tasty! - Edit

I love Ding How! The reviews here are really overly-harsh for a really tasty & traditional Chinese Restaurant that has catered to Davis vegetarians for over 30 years. They were the first in Davis to offer a separate, detailed, vegetarian menu and a separate vegetarian kitchen prep area. The quality has remained throughout.

They have excellent fake-meat. (I love fake meat! It's fun!) Their ginger "beef" is superb! A friend once got lemon chicken and sent it back, saying it had "gristle" and must be real chicken, but he was assured it was veggie chicken. I once gave some leftovers to a friend who eats meat, and they never said a word about my having given them fake meat!

Honestly, I would give these guys five stars, and I think they deserve it for having a separate prep-area and having been there for us early veggies when no one else was!

Once downer (for some) is the almost parody-of-the-stereotype brusk chinese wait staff (some of them). Personally, I find it "charming" and humorous, and just go along with the joke. They are always professional, however.

Great place! Give it a try!

And give 'em a break, harsh Happy Cow critics!

Pros: Separate Veggie Menu, Wide-variety of dishes, Tasty

Cons: Sometimes Brusk Staff -- that's part of the charm , Don't serve-in after 8:45pm though open to 9:30

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Separate Vegetarian Menu - Edit

Ding How is a fairly average Chinese restaurant that has a separate vegetarian version of their menu (so ask for it for it and specifically notify the server, maybe twice). The vegetables are fresh and when I am in the mood for a lot of veggies I go there for a stir fry. I know from another restaurant owner that they have large canisters of MSG in the back so if you don't like that, request your food without. The faux meats--some are old school (TVP for chicken, a beef that is not as good as current brands). They have a shrimp and they make some of the "chicken" from a mushroom mix that I like.
One time I ordered to go, said "vegan" at least four times and when I opened it at home I found pieces of pork in the food. So they are inconsistent.
I think that back in the day they were one of the only things going for vegetarians in Davis.

Pros: easy place to order vegan or vegetarian, fresh vegetables, have faux meat

Cons: the faux meat is not A+, MSG, careful of inconsistent listening by staff

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Excellent Chinese Food For Vegans - Edit

This restaurant probably has some of the most realistic and delicious vegan dishes I've ever had. Prices are pretty good for what you actually get. Every meal provides a decent portion of food. My wife and I often have to get to go boxes because we can never finish the meals we ordered.

If you're vegan, many of the vegetarian dishes will have you wondering or even asking the staff if it really is vegan. But be assured that it is. The staff is very knowledgeable when it comes to serving those on a vegan diet. The only things you have to specifically ask them to not bring you is the fortune cookie (which is not vegan.) And I would be careful about some of the sauces that come with a few of the vegan dishes. We received a sauce that tasted like it might have been worcestershire sauce. Great service. Very friendly. You don't typically have to worry about order mistakes here if you're vegan. They even will inform you if something has egg in it if you are ordering off their vegetarian menu. The menu says vegetarian, but most of everything you see on the vegetarian menu is vegan. If it is not, the staff will tell you.

Some recommendations from my wife and I. These are some of the best dishes we've had. We haven't tried them all but we've tried many of the vegetarian menu dishes.

- Vegetarian Sweet & Sour Chicken
- Vegetarian Twice Cooked Pork
- Any of the Vegetarian Beef is good.
- Vegetarian Spicy Tofu.

For the most part, you'll just have to do trial and error to find the dishes you like and which ones you don't like but almost all the dishes are delicious. Even though the menu items are called pork, beef, chicken, prawns, or fish, these are not actually the actual thing when you refer to them as the vegetarian options. Some of the soups do have egg in them however.

This place should definitely be on any vegan's list of favorite places to eat if you're in the area.
Updated from previous review on Friday December 21, 2012

Pros: Food Quality, Price, Amount of food.

Cons: Other customers that laugh at vegan menu, Not open in morning

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Faux meat just tastes bad - Edit

I've given Ding How's vegetarian menu a couple of tries. The offerings that don't have faux meat are mediocre greasy Chinese, but at least they're veg. When we ordered the faux meat dishes, they simply tasted terrible. Maybe something quirky went wrong with the food when we tried it, but we haven't been back. There are better veg-friendly restaurants in town.

Pros: Non-faux meat dishes are edible.

Cons: Not many non-faux meat dishes., Faux meat dishes taste bad.

1 Response
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Brett 07 Aug 2012 - Every person we've taken there agreed with our feelings on it: Yum!! Since I've moved from Davis I still tell people about it...I sure do miss Ding How, Kathmandu Kitchen, and most of all Jusco!  

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Good variety, decent quality - Edit

I was surprised with the amount of variety on the vegetarian menu here - it's basically like you took the regular menu and made everything vegetarian. The food is of decent quality; I'm used to vegetarian Chinese restaurants in L.A., though, and this is all Davis has got as far as I know. I'd return for sure.
They seemed pretty knowledgeable when I asked about getting vegan food - I was even able to get mu shu "pork" with tofu instead of egg. The server was also really nice =)
I had no problem with uh, food integrity, unlike the previous reviewer.

Pros: variety, helpful

Cons: food itself is ok

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Unfortunately this is too gross to ever return - Edit

I will attach my previous review below. However, I have to update my review. I have only been here a handful of times, but I have family who went there quite often....that is, until they got a cigarette butt in their take out. That's right, a giant cigarette butt, right in with their green beans. When they called, the owner was apologetic and did offer new food, but I don't think any of us will ever be going back. If you can find a cigarette butt in the kitchen, what else does that say about the restaurant?

Previous review: Ding How is a regular Chinese restaurant with all the standard fare you'd expect. But if you ask for it (this is key, if you don't ask, they won't give it to you), you can get a full vegetarian menu, including several pages of options. It is mostly faux meat dishes, but they did offer vegetarian noodle dishes as well, that were faux meat free. The vegetarian menu was designed much like the regular menu but everything said "vegetarian" in the front. Some dishes were Vegetarian Sweet 'n Sour Shrimp, Vegetarian Cashew Chicken, etc. The dishes were not labeled vegan, so many of those mock meats may not be vegan, so ask! Also a lot of the food is greasy, the vegetarian options are definitely not low fat. This is a good place to eat if you are with die hard meat eaters and want to be able to eat more than one thing on the menu. Hot tea was given free. Service is fast and there is plenty of seating as it isn't usually super busy. Overall a nice option for veg in the Davis area.

Pros: full vegetarian menu * one of the few options in the area * fast service
Cons: full meat menu * not labeled vegan, need to ask * greasy

Pros: veggie menu

Cons: cigarette butt in food

1 Response
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relentlesscactus 06 Jun 2017 - OK, that's an awful experience. I do, however give every restaurant one pass -- including a place in Alameda that gave me a fried vegetable dish with greens that included a small snail, and another place that gave me food poisoning. Both were one-offs and I talked to the owners and didn't dump them for one terrible mistake.

This one awful experience was eight years ago. I have eaten at Ding How for over 30 years and probably 200 times and I've never had a bad meal or a bad experience. Give it a try!  

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