Mission Vegan: Hammerin’ Cha-Ya

Eye on the ball

Chris Rock once opined that Richard Pryor was like the Willie Mays of comedy (flashy, fun to watch), while Bill Cosby was more like Hank Aaron (consistent performance). Foraying this analogy into vegan restaurants, then, we have a bunch of Willie Mays-type establishments here in San Francisco (makes sense, Go Giants!), but there’s something to be said for most runs batted in. Cha-Ya is a Hank Aaron, and I mean that as a compliment.

I’ve written before about how my omnivorous friends sometimes grow weary of my suggesting dinner at Cha-Ya. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that I always seem to have success getting eaters of all stripes to eat at (or get takeout from) Cha-Ya when they’re under the weather. Hey friends, go with me more and maybe you’ll get fewer colds in the first place! It’s not like eating their veggie tempura is a hardship.

While picking up my to-go order tonight, I noticed this sign directed at employees explaining what food they could and could not cook for themselves in the restaurant kitchen. Want to make a vegan feel safe? This is how we do it:

Say hey, kids!

99 Responses to “Mission Vegan: Hammerin’ Cha-Ya”

  1. Ryan says:

    Rad! =)

    Always good to see signs like that, esp in light of articles like http://www.livingvegan.org/articles/viewarticle/25/Los_Angeles_Restaurants_Exposed.html

    • Caroline says:

      Whoa, I have never seen this before. Thanks I think? I’m sensing a new obsession.

      • Ryan says:

        No prob bob! There was another article I couldn’t find (didn’t try that hard, I was late for work) that was like a huge exposé of LA “vegan” restaurants that had detectable animal products in their food. They were super undercover about it, like sneaking food out and having it tested at a lab, going back on multiple occasions, etc. Reason #23794738 why I’m not a huge fan of fake meat (or fake foods in general).

    • scum says:

      I must be a real jerk because I can’t stop laughing after reading that.

    • tofupuppy says:

      Horrifying. I just had something similar happen at Triptych in SF. A few of their menu items say that they’re vegan, so I felt safe eating there. I asked the waitress if their veggie burger was vegan and she went over to the manager, who I saw give her a thumbs-up. Great! I ordered it! But then it came to the table with mayo and what looked to be a buttered/grilled bun. I asked the waitress if the bun had been buttered and she said she’d check with the kitchen. She came back to report that, no, the bun hadn’t been buttered but had picked up grease from the grill (ewwwww). The manager brought a new, nongreasy bun and I requested a new burger, as the grease had transferred. He took away the plate, and then shortly returned with a menu. “Hey, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. The burger isn’t vegan after all, I just checked the ingredients. Would you like something else?”

      No. I did not want something else. I asked if a menu item was vegan, told that it was, and then found out that they’d failed me on 3 counts: the burger, the bun, and the mayo. I don’t trust them now. Sorry.

      • lurkskatesf says:

        OMG did u cry after that

      • Vitamin B12 says:

        If you had enough of me, you wouldn’t be wasting time/food in a restaurant.

      • D. Jon Moutarde says:

        It’s true — you really can’t trust restaurants that claim to have vegan options, unless you’re willing to ask questions. It’s like ordering from bakeries when you have a nut allergy, only less life-threatening. My advice would be A) to ask a whole lot of questions when someone you don’t know cooks for you, or B) learn to cook your own food at home and just drink when you go out.

        • Vitamin B12 says:

          The only way to truly be vegan?

          Stop eating: There are little bugs in your salads. Animals were killed to clear land and farm your veggies.

          Don’t drink water: You might slaughter a stray amoeba.

          Don’t bathe or move around: Every time you do, you’re committing genocide against millions of dust mites.

          Don’t wear any clothes: Rubber and textile production kills life.

        • White Whine says:

          By less life threatening, you mean totally not in any way at all life threatening right?

          • moderniste says:

            Amen, ‘White’ brother :)

            This whole pouting-angry-horrified-victimized vegan crap reminds me of the extreme degree of hyper-emotional neurosis a vegan ex-BF used to pull. After quizzing the server in a manner that was equal parts melodrama and stern animal rights lecture, he’d still insist that there must have been meat on his salad, and because “he’d lost the enzymes to digest meat”, he’d make himself violently ill and majorly embittered for 2-3 days afterwards. I tried explaining, even providing medical evidence that the human body would have to evolve 100,000s of years to actually “lose” those enzymes–that our systems were still set up to be omnivores. But oh no, it was way more fun to get all that attention and be mad at the world.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Yes, that’s what I meant — just not putting my words together very well at that point in my day.

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        This is why normal people laugh at vegans.

        • Meesha says:

          ~*~serious~*~ vegans are pretty funny about it.

        • tofupuppy says:

          I don’t get what’s funny about it. I choose not to eat certain things.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            I know you don’t, and that’s why regular people laugh at vegans.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable is afraid of being EATEN!

        • D. Jon Moutarde says:

          No, fake meat and fake pastry is why “noorrmal” people (hey there, Mr. Noorrmal) laugh at vegans — oh, yeah, and a whole lot of unearned attitude, too.

          We all make choices about our diets. The vast majority of us refrain from cannibalism (and self-cannibalism seems to be even less popular). A few of us refrain from eating red meat. Even fewer of us refrain from eating anything that once had a face, or the product thereof (I myself laugh at people who eat vegetarian omelets). NONE of us refrain from eating anything that once was alive, because, to do that is to die.

          My point is that we ALL make choices about our diets, and that all diets involve killing something — so NO diets that do not kill us are ridiculous — only more difficult.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Obviously, I can’t speak for all normal people, but for me it’s mostly the self-righteousness about consumption choices that I find hilarious, not so much the consumption choices themselves.

          • Jacob says:

            I second the self-righteousness. I have found that this is my #1 problem with many things and the reason that I end up getting into a lot of arguments about topics I really don’t care about–it’s the idea that someone thinks they’re “better” than someone else because of the decisions they’ve made. Also, the idea that it is a person’s RIGHT to have an alternative lifestyle catered to really grinds my gears.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Well then, Herr Doktor, you should notice that NONE of Caroline McCormick’s posts here have exhibited any “self-righteousness about consumption”, so I would appreciate it if you would refrain from commenting on her future postings unless you have something pertinent to say about them.

            Not that I have anything to say about whether your future posts appear here, or not, I’m just saying as a liberal omnivore who is bored with your line of thought about food.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            No thank you, but it’s kind of you to offer me that option.

          • thanks says:

            the only self-righteousness that has entered into this post so far is coming from the 2 anti-vegan retards. continue.

          • CAPS says:

            You are too busy using me for emphasis to notice that your malnourished complaints are a first world problem.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            So, Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable, you have committed yourself to the option of posting hostile comments on a subject about which you would prefer to be ignorant. Hmm.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            If that’s what you think is going on here, then sure.

          • I heart Mission Resident says:

            D. Jon Moutarde, the “liberal omnivore.”

            Give me a fucking break. Tard.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Awww… did your widdle feelings get hurt, snookums?

      • suckerpunch says:

        This is why normal people hate trying to go out to eat with vegans.
        What a pain in the ass.

    • Ariel Dovas says:

      My parents met arguing about whether a dish was vegetarian or not. My dad was the cook. Then they had me.

    • MrEricSir says:

      Long ago I dated a girl with a chicken allergy. She frequently got sick from “vegetarian” items at restaurants — even after being assured by the waiter that no chicken stock was used in the dish.

      Lesson here is that the front of house staff rarely knows what’s in the food.

  2. dude says:

    i fucking LOVE cha-ya. Hana Gomoku (sp?) ftw.

    • Dude's friend says:

      He fucking serious

    • SFdoggy says:

      I went there once for lunch and waited 20 minutes for them to take my order and then another 20 minutes for them to deliver a mediocre bunch of veggie potstickers. Vegans suck.

  3. True Story says:

    I had a friend who used to manage Herbivore over 10 years ago. She told me the cooks would grill fish for their employee lunch when they were closed. They were told not to, but would do it anyway.

  4. lurkskatesf says:

    LOL @ deleting of comments.. (butthurt?)

  5. scum says:

    Why am I being moderated? It was a honest question for all the vegan/vegetarians out there.

  6. Adam says:

    The amount of ignorance and unprovoked hatred towards vegans in this thread is quite disheartening. This, coming from a meat eater.

    • thanks says:

      yeah, i eat meat too. but vegetarians seem like one of the most innocuous groups you could choose to target. it’s the same couple of dudes who comment in every post and have a problem with every thing. it’s definitely more about what’s going on in their own lives than what some stranger is putting on their plate.

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        Sure, there’s nothing wrong with vegetarians. I was a vegetarian for years, in fact.

        Vegans, on the other hand, are a cult, and deserved to be mocked as such.

        • Bill says:

          Did you have a vegan girlfriend that dumped you in your past? Cause that flies in the face of pretty much every vegan I’ve ever met in my lifetime. They are almost always humble, easy going people that live a dedicated life by their own morals. On the other hand douchebags like yourself who come to sterotype and talk trash about others anonymously online, not so much.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Yup. You’ve definitely got me pegged right there.

          • White Whine says:

            And they are almost always middle class white people (who are making the mission better than ever).

          • SFdoggy says:

            Are you sure they aren’t a bunch of self-righteous twits? Certainly I have met a few who are.

      • Captain Obvious says:


    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      I don’t know why anyone would hate vegans, but I’m not sure which comments you’re interpreting as “hatred” and “ignorance”, mostly I just see a jolly atmosphere of mockery. But, y’know, if it makes it makes you happy to look at it as hatred/ignorance, who am I to rob you of your fun, I suppose. Might not be my cup of tea, but I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life. This way, I get to laugh at vegans, and you get to feel outraged. Everybody wins!

    • moderniste says:

      It’s not hatred–it’s more of a frustration at self-righteousness and ridiculous degrees of this weird hyper-emotional embittered victim thing that sucks the energy out of everyone around the poor,poor vegan. I just can’t be bothered by a 32 year-old “adult” behaving like a pouty, melodramatic teenager who’s *mad* at everyone.

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        Pretty much, yeah.

      • Ryan says:

        Or, you know, you could not be blatantly fucking rude to someone just because they expressed a diet preference – in a thread that’s already explicitly concerning that diet preference. Pretty much the equivalent of trolling a Justin Bieber fansite to tell the people on there how much he sucks. Methinks you need a hobby.

        I know a shit-ton of vegans. I don’t know a single self-righteous one. Everyone I know is like “oh, you eat meat? whatever, that’s your deal.” But I sure do meet a lot of people who hate vegans because of all the “self-righteous ones” out there. A bit of projecting, perhaps?

      • D. Jon Moutarde says:

        I was going to say, “Straw man!” but then “Everything Sucks” posted. Still, the accusations you direct at vegans could just as easily be turned against you, and all the bratty anti-vegans who turn every post about vegan restaurants into some kind of unnecessary referendum on veganism.

        • It's really too bad... says:

          …that vegans get so huffy on these threads. It must so difficult denying the fact that humans have evolved as omnivores or defending a “diet” that makes people deficient in vitamin B12 without taking pills or frankenfoods.

          Speaking of humanity’s meaty history, our neural capacity practically exploded (via omega-3 fatty acids) once humans started hunting large game. Maybe vegans are trying to reverse the process?

          • sure says:

            just as a side note – I’m actually vegan and have a great level of B12 without taking any suppliments/pills or frankenfoods… No injections or anything…

          • Caroline says:

            B12 is synthesized exclusively by bacteria; neither animals nor plants can make it. Both the bacteria that live in our guts and those that lived under our fingernails back before hygiene is what it is today would have provided us with B12 long ago.

            Omega 3s (and omega 6s and omega 9s) also occur in plant foods and are bioconcentrated in animals. For example, the reason fish are high in omega 3s is that they eat algae, which are high in these fats.

            I agree frankenfoods are no good for anybody! My perspective is that animals who eat foods that aren’t good for them (i.e. cows eating grains, as most feedlot cows do today) are frankenfoods as well as overprocessed soy nuggets.

            Thanks for reading!

          • Dirty Nails says:

            Caroline, are you saying humans got all their B12 from simply being dirty? Check out these published studies regarding B12:


            I agree that factory farms are unsustainable, disgusting and evil, but there are many alternatives.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            The people I see getting huffy, initially, here, are the anti-vegans. If I seem a little huffy, it’s because your friends started it.

          • Yes... says:

            …because other anonymous commenters who don’t share your views are clearly my “friends”.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Yeah, latch on to that ONE word that seems to give you some kind of escape — ’cause they’re NOT your “friends” — hell, you don’t even have any friends — but they do share your opinions, so just own up to it: You’re an ignorant fuckwit troll with nothing useful to say here. Thank you very much and goodnight.

          • fuckwit troll says:

            D. Jon Moutarde, I must say that you are an endless fountain of knowledge! According to you, I am:

            - A fuckwit troll.

            - I have no friends, unless there are anonymous people on comment threads who somewhat agree with me and not you.

            - I have nothing useful to say.

            I’m betting that if you weren’t secretly craving bacon right now that you’d be more polite. You’re welcome and I hope you enjoy some tofu sliders tonight before you pass out from anemia.

        • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

          I can’t speak for other people posting here, but at least for myself I can say that my feelings on vegans pretty closely mirror my feelings on fixies. I’m glad they exist because whenever I encounter one it gives me something to laugh at, and thereby brightens my day. As I’ve said elsewhere, people get to ride their ridiculous fixies and that apparently makes them happy, and people get to make their self-righteous consumption choices and that apparently makes them happy. And the rest of us get to laugh at them for those transportation and/or consumption choices, which makes us happy. EVERYBODY WINS.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            And the rest of us get to laugh at bigoted jerks like you. You’re the guy who gets his kicks from shitting in the punchbowl.

            Go on, throw in one of the passive-aggressive “well, if that’s what you want to think” responses you’re so addicted to — you know you want to.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            If you really think that’s what’s going on here, then that is your prerogative. (There, I didn’t want you to feel let down by your prognosticational prowess.)

            Seriously, though, what’s the downside? You get to think that I’m a “bigoted jerk” and laugh at me and, I assume, that brightens your day, just as laughing at you brightens my day. I mean, I can only assume that my opinion of you (or of fixies or of vegans or of anything else under the sun) matters to you as little as your opinion of me matters to me. So, again, it seems like everybody wins.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Actually, laughing at you darkens my day — it’s a dark kind of laugh, a contemptuous kind of laugh, the laugh of a man dying in a hospital room next to another man who is also dying while babbling incoherently about his fears and phobias.

            The small laughs you generate are the gallows-humor of a pathetic race.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Awww, that does sound like a bummer. You should try to cheer up, buddy! The world is a wonderful place full of amazing things to be amused and delighted by.

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Of course, “the world is a wonderful place full of amazing things to be amused and delighted by” — what a shame that you chose to season it with your urine.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Buck up, little camper! Tomorrow is a new day!

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Sadly, we die at dawn.

          • fuckwit troll says:

            Is urine seasoning vegan?

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Uh-oh… urine over your head, now!

  7. EverythingSucks says:

    For all you vegan haters out there, you do understand there is a huge environmental and land use impact around your decision to take the easy way out and eat meat/dairy, right? The farm animal sector accounts for 97% of human produced CO2 and 37% of human produced methane (which has 20x the global warming potential of CO2). If you give a crap about global warming and are not a vegan, you are a hypocrite. Also, the amount of land wasted on raising animals instead of growing crops for food consumption abhorrent.

  8. sx says:

    Cha-ya sucks. I’m okay with vegan places, but not Cha-ya or Cafe Gratitude.

  9. @caroline says:

    Did you remove the comment containing links to scientific studies documenting B12 deficiencies in vegans?