If you are embarking on your first Vietnam travel adventure, you will be amazed by the uniqueness and variety of Vietnamese cuisine, from traditional food to Western dishes. It won’t be hard to find vegetarian Vietnamese food, as we will suggest the top 10 options for you to keep your dietary choices!
1. Is vegetarian food available in Vietnam?
While meat-based dishes are undeniably popular, Vietnamese cuisine also provides a diverse array of vegetarian alternatives. The influence of Buddhism in Vietnam further enhances the accessibility of vegetarian cuisine, too. Whether your palate leans towards stir-fried, boiled, or raw vegetables, Vietnam caters to a spectrum of flavorful preferences. And thanks to the integral role of herbs and spices in Vietnamese gastronomy, even vegetarian dishes burst with an irresistible medley of tastes and aromas.
2. Top 10 best vegetarian Vietnamese foods to try
Vietnam has a treasure trove of vegetarian delights just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the best vegetarian Vietnamese foods you can find while traveling in Vietnam.
2.1. Pho chay - A famous vegetarian food in Vietnam
When it comes to vegetarian Vietnamese noodles, pho chay will be the best alternative for you compared to Vietnam’s original “pho bo”. In pho chay, soft flat noodles are bathed in a broth crafted from simmering vegetables along with essential spices. The protein-rich addition comes from deep-fried tofu and shiitake mushrooms, infusing the broth with savory flavors.
2.2. Goi cuon chay (Vegetarian spring rolls)
Spring rolls is also one of the most famous Vietnamese foods. The vegan version of spring rolls is a flavorful mix of boiled oyster mushrooms, sliced cucumbers, green onions, rice noodles, pickled carrots, sliced green mangoes, and aromatic herbs. This dish is dipped in fermented soybean sauce or a sweet and sour sauce for a bursting flavor.
2.3. Lau chay (Vegan hot pot)
Craving for a warm hot pot gathering with your loved ones? Lau chay is particularly ideal for group dining while offering a variety of vegetables: morning glory, napa cabbage, corn, and a variety of mushrooms. Lau chay also comes with a range of flavorful broths, from the spicy kick of Thai chili to the savory richness of fermented soybeans and mushrooms.
>>> Save your money for a vegetarian buffet in Hanoi!
2.4. Com chay - One of the best vegetarian Vietnamese foods
One of the most popular vegetarian Vietnamese foods is com chay, a rice dish that is typical in a daily meal of Vietnamese people. This dish includes a plate of steamed rice, and you simply need to choose the accompanying vegetarian side dishes like stirred cabbage, pickles, fried tofu, etc. You can find a lot of good restaurants serving com chay in Vietnam.
2.5. Xoi chay (Vegetarian sticky rice)
Sticky rice holds a special place in Vietnamese cuisine. This vegetarian Vietnamese food is a breakfast favorite among locals and is readily available at sidewalk eateries throughout Hanoi. This tasty dish is made of steamed glutinous rice (sticky rice) along with peanuts, mung beans, black beans, sesame, etc. There are various types of Vietnamese sticky rice to choose from.
2.6. Vietnamese green papaya salad
Vietnamese papaya salad, also known as "goi du du", is also one of the locals’ favorite vegetarian Vietnamese foods. It has a crunchy texture along with a sweet and sour taste. Raw papaya and carrot are sliced into strips and mixed with a medley of flavors that come from soy sauce, vinegar, chili, and aromatic herbs such as basil and coriander. The finishing touch comes from a sprinkle of roasted peanuts.
2.7. Banh xeo chay - Among delicious vegetarian Vietnamese dishes
Banh xeo chay, or vegetarian pancake Vietnam, is a unique dish in Vietnamese cuisine. It is the vegetarian version of the traditional Vietnamese pancake called "bánh xèo". Its name, "xèo", comes from the sizzling sound when the pancake is cooked. This meat-free version has a thin, crispy, yellow texture filled with bean sprouts, carrots, and shrimp-like tofu.
>>> Explore other traditional Vietnamese foods loved by tourists!
2.8. Dau sot ca chua (Fried tofu with tomato sauce)
Another beloved vegetarian Vietnamese food is fried tofu with tomato sauce, a dish that brings back childhood memories for many Vietnamese. It is simple to make but no less delicious, featuring crispy fried tofu served with a flavorful tomato sauce, a sprinkle of green onions, and a side of white rice. This comforting combination makes dau sot ca chua a favorite among locals and a must-try for anyone exploring Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine.
2.9. Banh it tran (Vietnamese sticky rice dumplings)
Banh it tran is one of the cherished Vietnamese cakes in the Central region, particularly in the city of Hue. Filled with a savory mixture of shrimp and meat, the original banh it tran is a beloved treat praised for its delectable flavor. The vegetarian version features a filling crafted from green beans and enclosed in a chewy layer of glutinous rice flour.
2.10. Banh mi chay - A top-rated vegetarian Vietnamese street food
Last but not least, banh mi - a pride of Vietnamese cuisine - also has its vegetarian version. The vegetarian version of the famous Vietnamese bread offers a range of fillings, with the most popular featuring vegan sausages, deep-fried tofu, pickled carrots, and fresh herbs. Each ingredient is thoughtfully prepared, making banh mi chay a conveniently flavorful option for those on the go.
>>> Discover the best Vietnamese street food while wandering around the city!
3. Where to eat vegetarian Vietnamese food in Vietnam
3.1. In Hanoi
- Uu Dam Chay: 55 Nguyen Du, Hoan Kiem District
- Veggie Castle: 7 Yen Ninh, Ba Dinh District
- Vi Lai: 67 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem District
- Om Tara Vegan: Golden Palm, 21 Le Van Luong, Thanh Xuan District
- Vegito Vegetarian Buffet Restaurant: 4 Dinh Ngang, Hoan Kiem District
3.2. In Ho Chi Minh City
- Phuong Mai Vegan: 82/86F Vo Thi Sau, District 1
- Be An Vegetarian Cafe: Saigon Garden, 99 Nguyen Hue, District 1
- Buddha Chay: 31 Dang Tat, District 1
- Hum Vegetarian Restaurant: 32 - 34 Vo Van Tan, District 3
- Chay Garden: 52 Vo Van Tan, District 3
To learn more about Vietnamese cuisine, you can explore other famous tourist destinations like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ha Long. For these destinations, make sure to arrange where you will stay ahead of time. It is recommended that you book a room at the hotel and resort system of Vinpearl.
Scattered across the most touristy spots in Vietnam, Vinpearl provides visitors with luxurious rooms, all-inclusive services, and a range of attractive amenities such as restaurants, bars, swimming pools, etc. You can also discover the ultimate fun and thrill at VinWonders - a chain of entertainment complexes that promises endless fun and excitement for visitors of all ages. Together, Vinpearl and VinWonders will surely bring you an unforgettable experience that will leave you and your loved ones enchanted!
In conclusion, Vietnam's culinary landscape is a treasure trove for travelers on a meat-free diet. These top 10 vegetarian Vietnamese foods offer a tantalizing journey that showcases the ingenuity of Vietnamese cooks in crafting dishes bursting with tastes and textures. From the fragrant pho chay to the crispy banh xeo chay, Vietnam caters to vegetarians with creativity!