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Vegan ‘chicken’ sandos that even carnivores can enjoy

Modern Shaman's No-Clucks-Given Burger No-Clucks-Given Burger at Modern Shaman in Whittier. Photo courtesy Modern Shaman

SoCal residents have been happily jumping on the fried chicken sandwich trend for years now, lining up at favorites like Howlin’ Ray’s and Dave’s Hot Chicken to dig into crispy-crunchy goodness on a bun.

But vegetarians and vegans can get in on that decadent, deep-fried deliciousness, too, thanks to an array of eateries—from upscale restaurants to food trucks—that offer crispy plant-based “poultry” in handheld form. Here are 3 local spots serving vegan chicken sandos that even carnivores can get behind.

Modern Shaman

6744 Greenleaf Avenue, Whittier. (562) 789-1111

Owner Kimberly Harlan tries to infuse healthfulness into every item on the menu at Modern Shaman. Her stylish sit-down restaurant revolves around plant-based plays on many of the comforting Southern-inspired dishes she grew up eating, thanks to her Louisiana-born dad and grandma.

The No-Clucks-Given Burger is a vegan chicken patty dipped in a seasoned egg substitute and coated in a house-made dredge, then topped with scratch-made country-style mushroom gravy and hand-mashed potatoes infused with turmeric, all served up on a brioche-style bun. 

Evolution

2965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Evolution Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Fried chicken sandwich with buffalo sauce at Evolution in San Diego. Photo by @eremenkoandrew

Opened in 2006, Evolution was one of the world’s first vegan drive-throughs. At this San Diego eatery, the patty is dipped in a “secret” wet batter, then a mix of dry ingredients—including nutritional yeast—to impart an umami punch. It then gets a quick deep-fry dunk in California-grown rice bran oil.

Visitors can customize the sandwiches with house-made sauces including honey mustard and chipotle aioli, or add-ons like tempeh bacon slices or melty Swiss. But co-owner Jon Branch says the most popular option is Evolution’s zingy buffalo sauce with a smear of ranch.

Lettuce Feast

Los Angeles County

This roving vegan food truck is best known for its version of the beloved Nashville hot chicken sandwich. It logs a lot of miles, with a schedule that might take it from Downtown L.A. to Culver City to Long Beach in any given week.

Lettuce Feast’s Nashville Sando features a hand-breaded, Southern-fried patty (cooked in peanut oil), topped with pickle chips, slaw, and ranch on a toasted bun. As for how hot you can go, patrons can default to the original version, tone it down with mild or medium, or go bold with hot honey. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

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