January 23, 2016

All Chay expands vegan options on SLC’s west side

Photos by Daniel Lombardi All Chay has a variety of vegan sandwiches that you would swear have meat on them. This is the BBQ Bahn Mi. With a small staff and a lot of customers the sibling owners of All Chay, Binh Nguyen and Kim Hoa Nguyen, stay very busy in the kitchen. A satisfied customer dives into a large bowl of vegan Phô with noodles at All Chay.
Photos by Daniel Lombardi|All Chay has a variety of vegan sandwiches that you would swear have meat on them. This is the BBQ Bahn Mi.|With a small staff and a lot of customers the sibling owners of All Chay, Binh Nguyen and Kim Hoa Nguyen, stay very busy in the kitchen.|A satisfied customer dives into a large bowl of vegan Phô with noodles at All Chay.|| Photos by Daniel Lombardi|All Chay has a variety of vegan sandwiches that you would swear have meat on them. This is the BBQ Bahn Mi.|With a small staff and a lot of customers the sibling owners of All Chay, Binh Nguyen and Kim Hoa Nguyen, stay very busy in the kitchen.|A satisfied customer dives into a large bowl of vegan Phô with noodles at All Chay.|| |||||
By The West View

Sister and brother Kim Hoa Nguyen and Binh Nguyen realized their dream in March of opening the first Vietnamese vegan restaurant in Salt Lake City, and perhaps Utah.

All Chay is a surprise found on a quiet intersection at 1264 W. 500 North in the Fairpark neighborhood, nestled in a small strip mall among Latino businesses and a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal church.

“I have a passion to introduce vegan food to people, especially Vietnamese vegan food,” said Kim Hoa.” She would like people to recognize the word “chay” (which means “vegan” in Vietnamese) the way many people recognize “pho” (Vietnamese beef noodle soup). This passion drove Kim Hoa and her brother to take on a new venture; they travelled to California to research and study with friends and then spent a year planning for their first restaurant.

Kim Hoa and Binh Nguyen are both vegans, which means they do not eat meat nor any foods made with animal products such as butter, milk or eggs. Binh explained that a vegan diet “reduces your calories, but increases your energy.” Kim Hoa became a vegan for her own health and the earth’s, and out of respect for the Buddhist teaching of reverence for life. “When I eat meat, though I’m not killing, I am making others kill,” she said. When she was young, she thought animals were very different from herself, beneath her, but through teachings of Buddhism and PETA, she came to believe that they are living beings just like her.

Kim Hoa also has a passion for west Salt Lake City. Sponsored by a family member, she and her family immigrated to Utah from Vietnam in 1982. She found her first residence on Salt Lake City’s west side, as many immigrants do. However, unlike other family members and neighbors who have moved out as they upgraded to newer, bigger homes, she found her new, big house in Poplar Grove. “I have lived 33 years on the west side, and I love it. It has everything: it has big trees; it’s peaceful, diverse, close to the airport, downtown and the pretty Jordan River Parkway,” she said.

All Chay brings her two passions together. Kim Hoa said that there are many vegan options on the east side, but no vegan restaurants west of I-15. This family-owned and operated restaurant is proud to contribute more diverse choices to west side residents. Binh beamed, “It’s very rewarding to know that people are happy to have a vegan restaurant here. There are many vegetarians and vegans in the neighborhood that now don’t have to leave their community to find a restaurant.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

In addition to feeding west side locals, All Chay has attracted vegans and vegetarians from all over to the Fairpark neighborhood. Binh said thanks to word of mouth and customers’ support on sites such as Yelp, Urban Spoon, Happy Cow and TripAdvisor, he has met people from many states as they travel through Utah.                                                                                                    

All Chay’s owners are very conscientious in selecting suppliers that use no animal products in the making of their foods. Though they spend more time and money in preparing their dishes, they seek to keep their prices low because they want to make vegan food accessible to more people. All entrees range from $5.50 to $8.95.

 All Chay’s menu offers vegan versions of typical Vietnamese fare such as spring rolls, pho, rice plates and banh mi (sandwiches). Drinks include vegan boba Thai iced tea and iced coffee as well as fresh carrot juice. Customer favorites include Ocean Love Noodles, which is a spicy salad bowl of rice vermicelli and vegan shrimp sprinkled with fresh lettuce, cucumber, and mint. Other favorites include pho and banh mi made with vegetables and soy-based meat.