I thought of writing an article about vegetarian food in Vietnam when my inbox was flooded asking for vegetarian options. To be honest, I didn’t eat much of non vegetarian food in this part of the world since I have become very choosy about the non vegetarian food I consume. As it is I’m a picky person and recently I’ve become even more choosy about almost everything. Surprisingly I didn’t even eat a lot of sea food in Vietnam which is my favourite. This post will be helpful for vegans too in some way!
A large number of Indians generally prefer to eat vegetarian food so its natural when they travel to South-East for example Vietnam, they prefer to search for places where they can get healthy vegetarian food at the same time with Vietnamese flavours. Although fish sauce, pork broth and meat are very common in Vietnamese dishes, you can indulge in a range of healthy vegan food and here is a list for you :
1. XOI CHAY- Rice is the staple food in Vietnam and Xoi-Chay is nothing but sticky rice fried in oil and topped with a lot of vegetables and Vietnamese seasonings.
2. BABY BOK CHOI STIR FRY- It’s a super healthy dish prepared with Bok Choi, a special type of leaf enriched with vitamins!
Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, Onions and Cabbages. All these veggies are stir fried in light oil and topped with sesame seeds. Its an ideal food for breakfast.
3. BANH CUON – It is steamed rice rolls. Typically these are stuffed with Tofu and topped with fried onions and complemented with lots of leafy greens like lettuce, steamed bean sprouts, cucumbers, mints and cilantro.
4. BANH IT TRAN- This is the Vietnamese Mung Bean Dumplings and its compulsory to taste the dumplings when you are in Vietnam.
The filling of the dumplings is done with mashed Potatoes, Onions and Mung bean. The dumplings are super soft and gooey. Mung
bean dumplings are best enjoyed at evenings when paired with crafted beer.
5. INSTANT POT VEGAN PHO- This is one of the most famous dish from this part of the world. Vegetables like daikon radish, local cooking Onions, green Cabbages, Mushrooms and thin flat rice noodles are used to prepare Pho. All these ingredients are tossed with fresh lime juice, fennel seeds, star anise and other traditional Vietnamese spices.
6. STIR FRIED KING MUSHROOMS – the Mushrooms are stir fried with the chili pepper flakes, Black Pepper and Mushroom broth. The creaminess and tanginess creates a beautiful taste on the tongue.
HERE’S A SMALL GUIDE ON HOW TO EAT VEGETARIAN FOOD IN VIETNAM
HOI-AN – The historical ancient town of Hoi-An is a major tourist destination. Hoi-An serves a wide range of vegan or vegetarian food and the most popular one is Banh Mi – basically baguettes stuffed with a variety of fillings, usually cabbages, Radish, Tofu, Onions, mushrooms and Vietnamese herbs. The best place to grab this one is at Banh Mi Phuong. You can choose the filling so it’s even better. Anthony Bourdain made this place super famous. At the Karma Waters one can enjoy an authentic vegan pho or rice-noodles soup. They make the best Tofu pho in the entire region. The Pho there is extremely light and fragrant and served with bean sprouts, onions, basil, mushrooms and soybeans. Do not forget to try the Rice Pizza which is a very popular street food here, you can choose the topping for this one too! Just be ready with your Google translate because that’s a saviour sent by communication Gods. You cannot leave Hoi An night market without trying the Mango Pancake, I obsessed over this too much because it’s just so good. I’m sure you’ll be sick of hearing this “try egg coffee” as soon as you mention it to people that you’re going to Vietnam, head to the Hoi An roastery for the best!
HO CHI MINH CITY – The vibrant city provides veggie-friendly street food. As Hoi-An is known for its traditional restaurants and cafes, Ho Chi Minh City is completely a street food city. You can try the green Papaya salad at street cart in Le Van Tam Park. Along with Papaya you can ask for any vegetable
of your choice and all these ingredients are tossed in a light mustard sauce. Another street food delicacy in Ho Chi Minh is Banh Xeo or the crispy rice flour pancakes cooked on hot flame and stuffed with Thai basil, wasabi leaves and bean sprouts. The bite is very satisfying- crunchy and squidgy. Hum Vegetarian cafe and restaurant serves some very healthy and yummy food loaded with anti oxidants. Its also very pocket friendly.
HANOI – The city of Hanoi is also popular for its western themed restaurants and cafes but it’s better to look for authentic Vietnamese food. An Lac restaurant serves some mouthwatering classical vegan food. The signature dish is veg spring rolls, the soft texture of the rolls and the well-cooked veggies inside melts inside your mouth. The Veg-Organic Vego and Tea is a mix of restaurant and tea house where you can get vegetarian Pizza, vegetable pot pho and Thai styled vegetable curry. The space is so comfortable and the food so delicious that you will want to waste half of your day relaxing and nibbling on snacks. I also tried bread sticks on the streets of Hanoi which basically tasted like Bhature but you gotta try what you gotta try! Ưu Đàm Chay is another place which serves yummy Asian vegetarian food. If you are not in the mood for Asian food you can go to Four P’s for the best pizza in town, you’ll love it. It’ll be a shame if you leave Hanoi without going to any of the Cong cafes, it’s on my list of best cafes in the world.
DA NANG – Famous for its beaches and night life, Danang is also famous for its exquisite vegan dishes. Lion Hoa is a family run restaurant which offers 120 vegetarian dishes. The must on platter includes Banh Nam (rice flour and mushroom dumplings), veg pho and Che Cung Dinh (sweet soup). You can always go to Sheraton Grand Da Nang for meals, they will happily customise your food and obviously one of the best in the area. One can also eat at Hy Lac and their specialility is Mi Quang, a type of rice noodle cooked with turmeric and served in a bowl with peanuts, crispy slices of tofu, vegetables and fresh lime juice. Thuy is another eatery and their signature dish is the Cao lao. It’s a noodle dish characterised by an unique springy texture and is served with fried tofu, bean sprouts and chili flakes.