Vietnam

Vegan Vegetarian Vietnam

The Vietnamese vegetarian food is delicious, flavorful and almost always made fresh on the spot. You must try Banh Mi, Pho, Obama’s famous Bun Cha (veggie version of course), Curries and Stir Fry Veggies. However, if you travel in Vietnam for a long time like we did, be prepared to eat a lot of rice as that’s a staple here. Take your pick, dishes with steamed rice, rice noodles or rice crackers! There are quite a few restaurants also offering western food like pizza’s, pastas and burgers, however, eating here comes at a price as they are a lot more expensive but it can be a welcome change. We had to do a little bit of digging around, and we were fortunate to find Vietnamese vegetarian food (along with some other international cuisines) almost everywhere we went.

“An Chay” (vegetarian), “Mon Chay” (vegetarian dishes) and “Khung co nuoc mam” (no fish sauce) are three phrases you need to remember as you travel across Vietnam. Given the number of buddhists in Vietnam (many who are strict vegetarians two times in a month), scoring a good veggie meal is fairly easy everywhere. If you say “An Chay” and “Khung Co Nuoc Mam” all restaurants understand and will serve you at least stir fried veggies in soy sauce with rice or noodles. We were also surprised to find at least one Indian restaurant in all the places we visited including Son Trach in Phong Nha. Ganesh or Namaste India have managed to open branches in most towns.

Word of Caution: Vietnamese use fish sauce in all their food so make sure you say, no fish sauce, if not, you will find it in your vegetarian stir frys and spring roll dipping sauce.

Here are a list of restaurants in Vietnam serving Vietnamese vegetarian food along with some other international options:

Vietnamese Vegetarian Food, by Destination:

Ho Chi Minh City

Unfortunately our first stop in Vietnam. The only reason I say unfortunately is because HCMC completely spoilt us with some amazing Vietnamese vegetarian food options. It set the barometer so high that no other place in Vietnam (that we visited) was able to live up to this.

Hum (Cost: $$$; Rating: *****)

You know you are in veggie heaven when the facade of the bar is made entirely of green vegetables. Amazing ambience, amazing service, and amazing food defines Hum. This is a 5 star place in our books. We visited both locations in the city, and were equally impressed.

Pineapple Fried Rice
Really delicious Roasted Veggie Salad with lemon ginger dressing.

My Banh Mi (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: *****)

If you want Banh Mi this is the place to go to. They have different sauces and we tried the garlic and mint. Definitely one of the places that make you wish you had another stomach. The added bonus was chatting with the owner’s dad and getting to know more about Banh Mi sandwiches and what makes theirs one of the best. They also only serve one beer, Sapporo. That can be a little pricey compared to the food, but it was worth it.

Baba’s Kitchen (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: *****)

Right on backpacker street in HCMC, this food hit the spot for us. We ordered the spinach daal to keep things light. At our request they didn’t add too much oil, so make sure to ask for that. The vegetable korma wasn’t as light, but full of veggies and yummy!

Phuong Mai (Cost: $$; Rating: *****)

The trouble with going to an entirely vegetarian place is that you have way too many options. Not that that’s a bad thing. We got great vietnamese vegetarian food here. We also tried the coconut based flan and found that it was the first time we liked a vegan flan.

Vegan Flan
Vegetarian Pho

Hurom (Cost: $$; Rating: ******)

If you are around the Bitexicon tower go to Hurom for your juice fix. The beet orange carrot juice was perfect for hydration and nutrition. It also temporarily helped us forget about the scorching heat outside.

Beet Carrot Apple Juice

Cong Caphe (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: *****)

We were delighted to chance upon this uber cute cafe overlooking Dong Khoi and next to the Vincom plaza. Slightly pricey with small portion sizes, but the ambience was excellent. It is meant to evoke a 1960’s anti-establishment Vietnam and that’s exactly what it does. We were a little disappointed to find out that it is a chain, but that didn’t take away from the wonderful experience we had.

Really good iced vietnamese coffee with mung bean cakes.

Dalat

Pizza Tet (Cost: $$; Rating: ****)

We ended up eating here a couple of times and not just because we were staying here. The vegetarian pizza was pretty decent, and a welcome change when you are looking for Western food.

An Cafe (Cost: $$; Rating: *****)

Probably the best ambience for a coffee shop that we have been to. Set on multiple levels it is a quintessential hill station cafe. The coffee was really good, and they have accessible plug points so you can feel free to work here. The food portions are a little on the smaller side, and not very varied for vegetarians but good enough for a decent meal or snack.

Working and enjoying the view and ambiance at An Cafe with an authentic cup of vietnamese coffee.

Lien Bakery (Cost: $$; Rating: ****)

They have a really good Banh Mi sandwich and loads of bakery options. We tried the almond chocolate bread that was really good. Beena didn’t care too much for the Durian bread.

Le Chalet (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ***)

This is going to be a natural stop if you are visiting the Crazy house (which we highly recommend). Although a beautiful ambience this wasn’t the best place for food. We ordered the pad thai and didn’t care too much for it.

Nha Hang Chay Hoa Sen (Cost: $$; Rating: ****)

Good food that’s cheap is always a great combination. Don’t expect too much in terms of ambience though. We had congee here for the first time and relished it. Other dishes we ordered were also satiating.

One More Cafe (Cost: $$; Rating: ****)

This would be a good place to get a coffee, a carrot cake and then sit down and work. We preferred sitting upstairs and enjoyed working there.

Hoi An

An Nhu (Cost: $; Rating: ***)

We ate here thrice, primarily because we wanted to off set some expensive days. The food the first couple of days was not bad. We tried the quang noodles and pho, and both were pretty good. The last day was terrible for some reason, and we also noticed that the food portion sizes were getting smaller day by day. A completely no frills restaurant, could be worth a try if you are looking to save money away from ancient town.

Home Hoi An (Cost: $$$; Rating: ****)

Good service and right in the heart of the Hoi An ancient town. The mushrooms were delectable. The 100,000 VND bottle of water was off-putting. They have vegetarian options, however, it is extremely pricey and not nearly enough in terms of portion sizes.

Nomad Cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ***)

This was the cafe at our yoga joint. Unfortunately, it was really pricey and the juice was extremely watered down. Didn’t dare to go back for food. The yoga was Kick Ass! Take a class with Rahul and you will feel like you just took your first real yoga class.

Ganesha Restaurant (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ****)

One of the few, if not the only, Indian restaurant in Hoi An. Decent food, with really good portion sizes. We were left licking our fingers after ordering the vegetarian thali and the veg korma.

Much needed veggie thali after being on the road for 2 months

Cocobox (Cost: $$; Rating: ***)

Juice was good and the coffee was okay. We found this place highly overrated based on reviews on Trip Advisor!

Cocobox Juice Bar & Cafe

Minh Hein (Cost: $$; Rating: *****)

100% vegetarian. We tried all their famous dishes: cau lau, wonton noodle soup and the white lotus. They also have a vegetarian cooking class for $15 per person. That’s very affordable compared to the other offerings in Hoi An.

One of the most flavorful wonton noodle soups is to be had at Minh Hein.
Banana Flower Salad

AM vegetarian (Cost: $$; Rating: *****)

By far the best food we have had in Hoi An. The fact that it is entirely vegetarian gave us plenty of options to choose from. There were a few firsts for us: Japanese pancake and the hot pot. Both were excellent.

One MUST go to AM Vegetarian to have the hot pot. Delish!
The hot pot comes with several veggoe broth options and tofu on a burner so it stays hot. You can add as many greens and herbs as your heart desires. You eat this with fresh rice noodles. Very very flavorful and although you may think “pho” it is actually same same but different.

Purple lantern (Cost: $$; Rating: *****)

When we first entered we were a little apprehensive, because of the setting. But don’t let that fool you. We ordered the papaya salad (one of the best we have had) and then came back to order dinner. With dinner we got a slice of the superior work ethic of Vietnamese women. The owner / chef got married 4 days ago and was already back at work. Hats off to her!

Karma Waters (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ****)

Excellent ethos, a little pricey, not great ambience and okay food. The vegetables with rice crackers was decent. A good option if you happen to be around the neighborhood, however, not worth a special trip.

Sautéed veggies with rice crackers. We weren’t kidding about the rice.

Rosie’s cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: *****)

In an alley close to the japanese bridge, Rosie’s cafe was a really nice place to hang out and work. Their cold brew coffee was unique (we hadn’t tried cold brew coffee). The cacao shake took us back to our chocolate shake days. Packed with goodness, we highly recommend the shake.

Phi Banh Mi (Cost: $; Rating: *****)

One of the few places that offer vegetarian banh mi. It wasn’t as good as the My Banh Mi in HCMC, but we had seconds, so that says something. Don’t expect much in terms of ambience, however, the sandwich is yummy!

Tofu Banh Mi

Smile cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ****)

Great for a change if you are looking for Western food. Not too many veg options. It was a challenge to get them to put mushrooms, green peppers and onions on the margherita pizza. We settled with just getting onions. The pizza was decent, but nothing to write home about.

Phong Nha

Namaste India (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ****)

Since we were in Phong Nha for the caving adventure and nothing else, we weren’t expecting too much in terms of food. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find an Indian restaurant there. They happily obliged when we asked for khichdi – an item that wasn’t on the menu. The mixed vegetable dish was delectable.

Bamboo Cafe (Cost: $$; Rating: ****)

Great ambience, and you are bound to run in to your fellow travelers. It’s pretty spacious and serves a wide variety of food, something that will keep getting you to come back.

Stir fried veggies with rice
Phong Nha Vegetarian Volcano – a tomato lovers delight

 

Hanoi

Aha Bread and Drink (Cost: $; Rating: *****)

A great place for coffee and a banh mi. Was super close to our hotel and our go to place for breakfast. Adorned with very cute chairs and tables this is a roadside cafe. Sit there order breakfast and then spend time watching Hanoi go by.

Enjoying a nice hot coffee at a road side cafe while waiting for our room in Hanoi.

Cai Mam (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ****)

Pretty good but not great. Their noodles were good, but not enough to make up for the lack of ambience.

Veggie spring rolls are really really good.
Stewed tofu and mushroom in a clay pot

Bun Cha Ta (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ***)

The idea was to have a vegetarian version of Bun Cha. They had said they were able to make the dishes vegetarian, however, in the end they brought out soy sauce as the broth. That is way too much salt for one meal, so we skipped the soy sauce. The meal otherwise was decent, however, it would be hard to recommend this place for vegetarians. Might be better for non-vegetarians.

Cat Ba

Cat Ba caters to tourists there are no dearth of restaurants serving both Western and Vietnamese cuisine, however, finding good vegetarian was quite hard. We had to settle with the few options available to us over the 4 days we spent on the island.

Buddha Belly (Cost: $$; Rating: ***)

The only 100% vegetarian place, has good outdoor seating, but not friendly staff. There is one lady who waits the tables and cooks the meal, so don’t expect speedy service (you might want to peek in the kitchen if you have been waiting long). The food was pretty decent. We ordered the small meal (set meal that differs every day) and the mushroom noodle. Both were decent, but not the best vegetarian food we have had.

Oasis Cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: **)

A very western style restaurant, with a lot of western food options. We ordered the vegetarian pizza and the curry with vegetables. Both options were disappointing. Good for the ambience and drinks, but wouldn’t eat there.

Like Cafe (Cost: $$; Rating: ****)

Excellent place for at least for breakfast and working. This was the only place where the banana pancake was not fried. So it was more like we are used to in the west; fluffy all the way. They also had a wide array of coffee options.

Noble House (Cost: $$; Rating: ***)

Similar to Oasis cafe, but not as good in terms of the ambience. The vegetable curry was decent.

Phu Quoc

We were close to Long Beach and almost all the restaurants on the beach are going to be pricey. It’s just something that you are going to have to get used to. A dish will set you back 120,000 VND on average.

Thanh Kieu (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: *****)

Part of a resort this beach facing restaurant has a good ambience and great food. The vegetarian sandwich was easy on the cheese and had a decent amount of veggies. The tofu sandwich was really good, although we would have preferred if the tofu wasn’t fried. The standout were the fries that came with the meals.

Phuong Binh (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: ****)

This restaurant is closer to beach and the tables and chairs are set on the sand. Great music and good food. We ordered the hot pot and the fresh spring rolls and were not disappointed. You can easily spend a day here ordering food and drinks while enjoying the beach.

Our daily hangout in front of the beach. Excellent service and quite a few vegetarian options.
Vegetarian Pho

Rory’s Cafe (Cost: $$-$$$; Rating: *****)

We went for breakfast and stayed till lunch. There are not too many vegan options for breakfast, but we asked and they made us a sandwich with sautéed vegetables, which was really good. Had the same sautéed vegetables in our salad at lunch. The cinnamon french toast was flavorful. We had almost everything vegetarian on their menu. An awesome spot to go anytime during the day. Also, this is the only place that has music, bon fire and a chilled out vibe at night. A MUST VISIT!

Roasted vegetable salad at Rory’s. If not for the food, you must go here to enjoy the night scene with drink by the bon fire.
Drinks by the bonfire @ Rory’s; the most happening place in Long Beach.
The bonfire @ Rory’s

September Vegetarian (Cost: $$; Rating: *****)

A 100% vegetarian place, that is on the main road and away from the beach. The prices are therefore pretty reasonable. The cuisine is a mix of various styles. The portion sizes are not huge, but you are left feeling satiated. The papaya salad was fresh, the mushroom masala curry was very flavorful and the noodles, although a little oily, were delectable.

Phu Quoc Kim (Cost: $$; Rating: ***)

This was the place that we figured we will hunker down in for the day. They have lounge chairs and a restaurant with not over the top prices. The mango pancake was fried, so perhaps not the best way to start the day. The fruit platter was a great for off setting the unhealthy mango pancake. Not many vegetarian options.

 

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