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The Wild Chive has been featured in my 2021 Underrated Long Beach Restaurants list. And my 2022 Underrated Long Beach Restaurants list. It would have been included in my 2023 list but I was specifically aiming for a list that included entirely never-mentioned-before spaces.

And when it comes to vegan food, what Nguyen has achieved is—at least when she began kicking off this concept as a popup in 2017—is quite extraordinary: No one really thinks of The Wild Chive as vegan; they go simply because it is good food.

Additionally, this posits one specific ideal: One must not underestimate the growing vegan scene here in Long Beach—whether that is at a restaurant dedicated to veganism, like the stellar Seabirds (which is also up for sale) or (the now sadly closed) Under the Sun, or a non-vegan restaurant which offers heft vegan options, like Sura and Ammatolí.

Of those many options, it remains The Wild Chive, the brainchild of Nguyen, that is by far the most underrated—and its resilience amid an ever-changing scenery of restaurant spaces is worthy of applause.

And calling it underrated, even now, has an irony to it because, well, it still is underrated. And what makes that odd is not only its large following—the restaurant’s Instagram has over 25,000 followers—but that it has been a vagabond staple across the city for over five years before she settled into the Chive’s forever-home in Alamitos Beach. With that brick-and-mortar, she has introduced a steady place where the public can experience her spectacularly creative and solid vegan grub.

Photos and written by Brian Addison.

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