Vegetarian Vietnamese Food & Restaurants: Best for Vegan Lovers

Last updated: March 04, 2022 / 993 Views

If there’s one thing Vietnamese cuisine is known for, it’s the meat. But, it is not all. If you are not a big fan of meat, there is an abundance of delicious vegetarian or “chay” meals across the country for you to choose from.

Being vegetarian is not always the easiest thing. However, finding vegetarian food in Vietnam is not difficult. There is a variety of vegetarian food for you to choose from. This article will help you to have a deeper insight into Vegetarian food, typical Vegetarian dishes, and where you can find them.

The story of vegetarian Vietnamese foods

Vegetarian food is believed to have first appeared in Vietnam during the reign of the Ly Dynasty in the 11th century. However, it only became popular during the long rule of the Nguyen Dynasty in the early 19th century. It was the time when the King requested the chefs to offer the finest food as part of a royal ritual, a prayer for peace and prosperity in the kingdom. That kind of food is vegetarian food.

Since then, eating vegetarian food has become a tradition in Hue, where the King lived. A lot of Hue people have vegetarian meals on the first and full moon days of every month. On those days, restaurants serve vegetarian food instead of non-vegetarian food. Hue people also have vegetarian food on the first day of the New Lunar Year.

Following Hue, some restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City which serve non-vegetarian food began to close on first and full moon days. The number of street restaurants serving vegetarian food has increased. Then, vegetarian food came to Hanoi and other provinces in the north. Vegetarian food was mostly served in pagodas in the early time. Then there were several dozen places in Hanoi serving vegan food.

Vegetarian food has become increasingly popular in Vietnam over the last few years. All major cities, including the capital, have many restaurants that serve vegan food, and their number is increasing. Ho Chi Minh city has a whole range of vegetarian eateries which can be found with ease, from the street food stall to the most luxurious restaurant. More and more Vietnamese are turning vegan because they care for their health and the environment. With its abundance of delicious vegetables, fruits, and roots, Vietnam has all the conditions to cater to vegans.

Vegan dishes

Vegetarian Vietnamese food 

 

The specialty of Vietnamese vegetarian food

Vegetables, roots, fruit, soy products, and mushrooms are the main ingredients to make vegetarian Vietnamese foods. Vietnamese vegetarian food is delicious, healthy, and also eye-catching. Vegans can find in Vietnam a variety of vegetarian dishes. However, the most common vegan dishes are made of soybeans. Since soybeans are nutritious, rich in protein and calcium, and non-fattening, they are a good replacement for animal meat.

They are also said to be useful in treating several illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. From soybeans, people can make tofu, soya paste, fermented tofu, veggie Vietnamese ham, and a wide variety of other dips and dishes. Vegans can also find in Vietnam many dishes that look like they’re made with real meat like chicken legs, barbecued pork chops, beef wrapped in la lot leaves, stewed chicken, steamed fish.

 

Typical dishes of Vietnamese vegetarian food

Banh Mi Chay (Vegetarian Banh Mi)

Banh Mi Chay must be among the top choices for vegetarian food in Vietnam. Banh mi is a French baguette filled with many different ingredients. A vegetarian version is made from tofu, mushrooms, cheese, or fried eggs. It is also filled with fresh chilies, pickles, and herbs and finished with a sprinkling of soy sauce. While banh mi is relatively inexpensive, banh mi chay is even cheaper. It can be found in Vietnamese street food stalls or restaurants.

BANH MI CHAY Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Vegetarian Banh mi

Pho Chay (Vegetarian Pho)

Traditional Pho noodle soup is meat-based with noodles, beef, and vegetables, however, it is not difficult to find vegetarian pho. The way of cooking vegetarian noodle soup is the same as normal pho, people use vegetables instead of meat. It is served with piles of vegetables, herbs, fresh chilies and limes. Vegetarian pho is particularly popular in central Vietnam in cities such as Hue and Da Nang, where the majority of the population is Buddhist.

Pho chay Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Vegetarian Pho

 

Banh Cuon Chay (Vegetarian Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

Banh cuon chay is similar to a crepe. It is made from a rice flour batter, which is spread into a large, thin sheet and stuffed with plenty of greens and spices. Normal banh cuon are stuffed with ground pork and mushroom, but the vegetarian option uses tofu instead of pork. It’s then topped with crispy onion and served with herbs and a spicy dipping sauce.

Banh cuon chay Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

 

Nom Du Du (Green Papaya Salad)

Nom Du Du is a cold Vietnamese vegetarian dish that is made from green papaya, carrots, peanuts, sesame seeds, basil, and coriander. All are then covered with a sweet and sour dressing of honey and rice vinegar. This kind of salad is crunchy and fresh.

Nom du du Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Green Papaya Salad

 

Banh It Tran (Glutinous Rice Dumplings)

Banh it tran is a bean-filled dumpling made of glutinous rice filled with beans, fried shallots, and spring onions. The dough, which is made from glutinous rice flour and water, is rolled out and stuffed with a mixture of cooked and mashed mung beans, fried shallots, and fresh spring onions. The dumplings are then boiled and served with a chili dipping sauce and a few pickles. This dish can be eaten as a snack or as part of the main meal.

BANH IT TRAN -Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Banh it tran 

 

Xoi Chay (Sticky Rice with Vegetables)

Rice is a staple Vietnamese food & Xoi Chay or Sticky Rice is simple, cheap, and can be found at every corner of the street. Normal sticky rice is made of rice, meat, and vegetables. Xoi chay is made by cooking rice and sliced into flat round shapes, fried in a hot oil pan until they turn yellow and crisp. It is often served with chickpeas, coconut, sugar, mushrooms, broccoli, pepper, red chili, and onion.

Xoi chay

Sticky Rice with Vegetables

 

Banh Khoai Chien (Sweet Patotpaan Cakes)

Banh Khoai Chien or deep-fried sweet potato pancakes can be found in every street stall throughout Vietnam. It is made from sweet potato, coconut, wheat flour and other ingredients. All are mashed, molded into cakes, and cooked or fried till golden brown. They are served with peanut dipping and spices.

Potato Cakes with Vegetables (Banh Khoai Tay Chien)

Sweet potato pancakes

 

Dau Sot Ca Chua (Tofu with Tomato, Green Onion, and Herbs)

Dau Sot Ca Chua is cheap and easy to make. The tofu is fried until it turns yellow, then cooked with slices of tomato, green onions, and herbs for extra flavor. This dish is often served with steamed rice.

Dau phu sot ca chua Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Tofu with Tomato, Green Onion, and Herbs

 

Rau Muong Xao Toi (Fried Garlic Water Spinach)

Rau Muong is freshwater spinach. To make Rau Muong Xao Toi, you need to boil rau muong, then deep it in cold water. After that fry it with garlic and other Vietnamese herbs. This dish topping with peanut powder is often served with steamed rice.

rau muong xao toi Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Fried Garlic Water Spinach

 

Cai Xao Nam (Fried Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms)

Cai Xao Nam is made by frying bok choy with shiitake mushrooms. The flavor of the shitake mushrooms is brought out by the bok choy and the mushroom or soy sauce that it is fried in, making it one of the most exquisite dishes of vegetarian food in Vietnam, and an absolute must-try. It is served with steamed sticky rice and tofu pieces.

Fried Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms (Cai Xao Nam) -Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Fried Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms

And some other vegetarian dishes

che troi nuoc- Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Che Troi Nuoc (Rice Balls with Sweet Soup)

Chao dau xanh - Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Chao Dau Xanh Chay (Vegetarian Green Bean Soup)

Che chuoi - Vegetarian Vietnamese food - A must-try for vegan tourist

Che Chuoi (Sweet Banana with Coconut Gruel)

bun cha gio chay

Bun Cha Gio Chay (Vegetarian Egg Rolls with Vermicelli Noodles)

 

Top recommend Vegetarian Vietnamese Restaurant

Best vegetarian food restaurants in Hanoi

Uu Dam Chay

Uu Dam Chay is located in Hang Bai street which is near the Old Quarter. There are a green garden and a water stream inside the restaurant. Uu Dam serves a wide variety of vegetarian dishes ranging from southern to northern cuisine, including local favorites such as pho, bun cha, and banh xeo. There are also Western options for you to choose from. The food looks fantastic and the price is affordable, making this restaurant number one choice for vegetarian food in Hanoi.

  • Address: 34 Hang Bai Street, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 7:30 am - 10:00 pm

Vegan restaurant in Hanoi

Vegan Uu Dam restaurant 

Minh Chay

It is a vegan restaurant with excellent food and service. The restaurant serves many different Vietnamese traditional foods and drinks like pho, a savory crepe, has soy milk, black sesame drink, loose leaf teas, juices, and fast food. This restaurant has a lovely and tranquil atmosphere, the staffs are friendly and enthusiastic.

  • Address: 30 Ma May Street, Hanoi & 45 Xuan Dieu Street, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm

Minh Chay Vegan Restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam

Minh Chay Restaurant

You might also want to read: Top 10 Hanoi Vegetarian Restaurant to Vegan Food

 

Best vegetarian food restaurants in Ho Chi Minh

Sen Vegan House

Sen Vegan House is a place where you can sit on the floor on low tables to enjoy the food. This is a 100% vegan Vietnamese restaurant and it has a grocery shop. The best foods in the restaurant are Vegan Egg, Vietnamese noodles, soups, and veggie stir-fries. The price can be a little high but it is worth trying.

  • Address: 171 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Saigon
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Sen Vegan House in Hochiminh

Sen Vegan House

Hum Vegetarian Café & Restaurant

Hum Vegetarian Café & Restaurant is aimed to serve its customers the freshest ingredients which are good for your health. The atmosphere in this restaurant is peaceful, bringing peace in your mind. The food here is healthy; ingredients are selected for health-giving benefits. Hum’s excellent Vietnamese cuisine is creative and flavorful. The huge vegetarian menu includes an excellent range of salads, soups, hot pots, and rice dishes, as well as teas and fresh juices. You should come to eat here when you are in Ho Chi Minh city.

Address:

  • 2, Thi Sach, Ben Nghe, Ho Chi Minh city
  • 32, D10, Thao Dien, Ho Chi Minh city
  • 32, Vo Van Tan, Ho Chi Minh city

Opening hours: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm

Hum Vegetarian in Ho Chi Minh

Hum Vegetarian Café & Restaurant

You also want to read: 15 Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City

 

Best vegetarian food restaurants in Hoi An 

Minh Hien Vegetarian Restaurant

Minh Hien is one of the most famous restaurants for vegetarian food in Hoi An. It is in the center of Hoi An, but not many people know it because it is inside the secret garden. There are a stream and a bridge inside the restaurant. Here, you will be able to try the best vegan dishes in Vietnam and Hoi An like the white rose dumplings, cau lau noodles, the fried tofu in lemongrass and chile or the sautéed pumpkin with peanuts.

Address:

  • 50 Tran Cao Van, Hoi An
  • 29 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An
  • 25A Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoi An

Opening hours: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

Vegetarian restaurant in Hoi an

Minh Hien Vegetarian Restaurant

Vegan Zone Hoi An

This is a new but famous restaurant in Hoi An for its traditional Vietnamese dishes like lemongrass tofu, vegan rolls, fried morning glory. The restaurant is friendly, local, environmentally-conscious. Food is tasty and has a very homemade feel to it. Dishes are not heavily seasoned and condiments are provided to allow you to adjust the taste. They also serve a variety of smoothies, juices, coffee, and tea.

Address: 197 Nguyen Duy Hieu, Hoi An

Opening hours: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

vegan zone hoi an

Vegan Zone Hoi An

Read more: 10+ Amazing Vegan Restaurants in Hoi An

 

Best vegetarian food restaurants in Nha Trang 

Long Son Pagoda

Long Son Pagoda is a must-see place in Nha Trang and the temple also has an excellent vegetarian restaurant near the main entrance. It is one of the best places in NhaTrang to eat vegetarian food. This place has an excellent selection of traditional Vietnamese noodle soups, spring rolls, and more. The service in the restaurant is very polite. The dishes here are tasty and cheap.

Address: 20, 23/10 Phuong Son, Nha Trang

Opening hours: 6:00 am - 10:30 pm

 

Lanterns

This restaurant follows the decoration of Hoi An restaurant style. The restaurant uses supplies from local fishing villages and uses a proportion of profits to support local orphanages and provide scholarship programs. The menu focuses on both Vietnamese and Western cuisine which includes pasta, salads, and sandwiches. The restaurant also specializes in hotpot, clay pots, Vietnamese curry. Rau muon xao toi, Banh xeo chay, stir-fried mushrooms are among the best vegetarian dishes in this restaurant. 

Address: 30A Nguyen Thien Thuat, Nha Trang

Opening hours: 7:00 am - 10:30 pm

Vegan restaurants in Nha trang

Lanterns Restaurant in Nha Trang

 

Best vegetarian food restaurants in Hue 

San May Vegetarian

San May is an authentic restaurant, which is more upper class than most veggie restaurants in town. There is a small private pergola in the front and many Koi fish swim in the courtyard pond. The staff is friendly and efficient, the menu is extensive, and has many Hue specialties. It includes a vast range of salads, vegetables, tofu, and starches. Favorite dishes in this restaurant are the guava salad, mushrooms wrapped in shredded tofu, lotus rice, and jackfruit-salad cracker.

  • Address: 08 Thanh Tinh, Hue City
  • Opening hours: 7:00 am - 9:00 pm

 

Lien Hoa Vegan Restaurant

Lien Hoa Vegan Restaurant is among the most popular restaurant in Hue for both locals and tourists. There are over 150 dishes for you to choose from in this restaurant. It is extremely crowded on every 1st and 14th or 15th each month in the lunar calendar. The food here is delicious and the price is good. The best dishes of this restaurant are fresh banh beo, noodle dishes, crispy fried jackfruit, and cauliflower fried with capsicum.

  • Address: 03 Le Quy Don Street, Hue City
  • Opening hours: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm

Vegan resturant in Hue

Lien Hoa Vegan Restaurant

Read also: Top 10 Vegetarian Restaurants in Hue

 

With diverse and mouthwatering vegetarian food, Vietnamese food is surely attractive enough to catch vegan attention. More and more people come to Vietnam to explore the culture, enjoy the beautiful landscape, and of course, taste the delicious food. How about you? If you have been to this country, plan a Vietnam food tour and you will not be disappointed!

Jenny Tran

Image sources: Internet

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