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Hot Pots in The Big Easy

Trying to find vegan Asian cuisine in New Orleans is a challenge to say the least. Despite being a food capital, there aren’t many vegan options in NOLA. And if you’re a purist (in other words you prefer vegan-only locations), forget about it. Practically speaking, you’ll have to find a hybrid restaurant that serves both conventional and plant-based foods. As a vegan, going to a hybrid restaurant can bring apprehension because of the potential cross contamination or lack of intentionality that might occur in the food preparation of vegan and non-vegan items. However, Dian Xin’s owners — the mother and daughter duo Judy and Bonnie — are the most intentional humans we have ever met — both personally and professionally. We learned from them the background on why they decided to introduce vegan offerings, the gap they were filling in the NOLA market for vegan Asian cuisine, the meticulous nature of their menu innovation, the high bar they set for the quality of the vegan items, and the extensive time and energy that they both invested in veganizing Dian Xin and it all was INCREDIBLY IMPRESSIVE. Their intentionality shined through the entrees. Apart from that, they both had the most infectious welcoming and warm energy and it’s apparent that they have designed everything at Dian Xin from a place of sheer love for gastronomy. This is their craft and they have mastered it.

Dian Xin has two locations — we obvi tried ALL the vegan offerings at both. At the Decatur St. location we tried the cucumber salad, vegetable dumplings (which are handmade in-house), vegan jianbing (Chinese-styled crepes made from mung bean, rice and wheat flour with lettuce, scallions, hoisin sauce, chili paste and cilantro), vegan mango chicken, vegan kung pao beef, and the vegan sesame chicken. At the Conti St. location, we tried the vegetable spring rolls, salt and pepper tofu, steamed veggie bao, lotus root salad, and the Hot Pot with ramen, various veggies, mushrooms and tofu.


  • Decatur St. Location: Vegan Mango Chicken. We originally thought this would taste like traditional sweet and sour chicken, but we were wrong. This wasn't your typical dish. It was subtly sweet with a hit of tangy flavor. The dish actually had mango chunks cooked into the sauce, and you could tell it was naturally flavored. The texture of the vegan chicken was incredible — it was bean-based, super moist and juicy, and soaked uppppp all the flavor of the mango sauce. We couldnt get enough of this one and would certainly order this again. The runner up was the vegan sesame chicken. Both work well if you like a hint of a sugary sauce to balance the savory notes of a dish. However, if you’re looking for a pure savory play — the kung pao is for you. P.S. It’s unclear what magic was done to the broccoli, because we aren't ordinarily broccoli fans but the texture and flavor of the broccoli was impeccable, they were crunchy and soft at the same time and were seasoned deliciously.

  • Conti St. Location: HOT POT. We haven’t had a Hot Pot since going vegan and had all but written it off because it’s so niche that we never thought we’d come across someone who would veganize it. Thank God for Bonnie! She told us that she’s originally from NYC and that she could easily find Hot Pot in the city on any block, but once she moved to New Orleans she realized the closest place she could find Hot Pot was in Houston and she did indeed make the drive to get it there because it’s THAT serious. Soon enough, however, Bonnie got the idea to open this second location and bless the city with Hot Pot, and she didn’t stop there — she added a vegan version too! You’ll have to look at the pictures to visualize what went down, but the Hot Pot was like a moshpit of straight goodness. Rice cakes, fried tofu, ramen, sauteed cauliflower, exotic root vegetables and mushrooms, bok choy, and so much more. The whole thing was seasoned to perfection, and dynamic with a depth of flavor that was unmatched. The serving size definitely goes a long way for a party of two.

What we loved most about the experience at Dian Xin was how fresh and nutrient dense the ingredients were. Even though it was an indulgent experience (that we had very much hoped for), you walk away from it knowing that you nourished your body with some premium fuel.


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