By Jenna Jolie
Vegetarians, rejoice! If you're planning a trip to Vietnam, you're in for a treat. Vietnam is like a paradise for food lovers where they can find various superb dishes: Bun Cha, Banh Mi, or Pho. Not only that, it's a haven for those who follow a plant-based diet. This guide to the best Vietnamese vegetarian dishes will help you prepare for an unforgettable culinary adventure in one of Southeast Asia's most vibrant and diverse countries.
A Guide To Vietnam Vegetarian Food: 5 Must-Try Dishes
Vietnamese food varies from the rich and hearty flavors of the north to the light and refreshing dishes of the south. When it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, there's no shortage of yummy food for every taste bud. While each city has its signature dish, some universally beloved Vietnamese staples can be found in every corner of Vietnam, such as pho noodle soup, crunchy banh mi, and rice paper rolls. All these dishes can be enjoyed in vegetarian versions, with meat replaced by tofu, mushrooms, and other plant-based ingredients. Let’s take a glimpse of the top 5 must-try dishes to experience Vietnam vegetarian food!
Vietnam vegetarian food
Vegetarian Banh Mi (Banh Mi Chay)
Among the best Vietnam vegetarian foods, vegan bread (Banh mi chay) is on top of the list, which is the perfect choice for a frugal breakfast but is still full of nutrients. The vegan banh mi is typically made with a crispy baguette filled with marinated tofu, pickled carrots, daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, and chili sauce, giving it a unique and zesty flavor.
Vegetarian Pho (Pho Chay)
If tourists are asked about which food they like most in Vietnam, probably most of them will mention Pho. Pho is made with all the good stuff: broth made from beef (or chicken) bones and meat, thin noodles, and various herbs. Pho chay is a vegetarian version of this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that best suits vegetarians. This vegan soup is made with a clear vegetable broth (typically daikon, carrot, onion, or corn) flavored with a combination of spices and herbs, including star anise, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. The soup is then served with flat rice noodles, tofu or soy protein, and many fresh vegetables such as bean sprouts, herbs, and scallions. The dish is usually accompanied by a plate of fresh lime wedges and some chili peppers, allowing diners to customize the soup's flavor to their liking. Pho chay is a delicious Vietnamese vegetarian dish for vegetarians or anyone looking to try a meat-free version of this classic Vietnamese comfort food.
Vegan pho is a delicious Vietnamese vegetarian dish
Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon Chay)
Fresh vegetarian spring rolls (or goi cuon chay) are a popular Vietnamese dish enjoyed as a snack and a meal. These fresh spring rolls are tightly wrapped with rice paper wrappers and filled with fresh and flavorful vegetables, such as lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and bean sprouts, and herbs like cilantro and mint. In addition to vegetables, goi cuon chay can also include rice vermicelli noodles, tofu or tempeh, and sometimes a hint of spicy chili sauce for added flavor. There is no specific method to make vegan spring rolls so you can make this food with all your ingredients.
What makes vegetarian spring rolls such a beloved vegetarian food in Vietnam is their taste and nutritional value. Fresh, raw vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy diet. They are also low in calories, making them an excellent option for those watching their weight. These spring rolls are meant to be served with peanut sauce!
Braised Tofu In Tomato Sauce (Dau sot ca chua chay)
Braised tofu in tomato sauce (or dau hu sot ca chua) is a flavorful dish that is popular in vegan meals in Vietnam. The dish consists of chunks of tofu that are first fried until crispy on the outside, then simmered in a rich tomato-based sauce.
Its versatility makes braised tofu in tomato sauce such a popular Vietnam vegan dish. It can be served as a main course with rice or noodles or as a side dish to complement other dishes. People often combine braised tofu in tomato sauce with fresh vegetables such as lettuce or cilantro to harmonize its flavor. Additionally, it's a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, with tofu being a staple ingredient in many meatless diets. For those who love bold flavors and crave a hearty and satisfying meal, braised tofu in tomato sauce is a must-try dish in Vietnam.
Braised tofu in tomato sauce (or dau hu sot ca chua) is a flavorful dish in vegan meals
Vietnamese Vegan Pancake (Banh xeo chay)
Vietnamese Vegan Pancake (Banh xeo chay) is a popular vegetarian version of the traditional Vietnamese dish known as Banh xeo. To prepare banh xeo chay, the rice flour batter is poured onto a hot griddle and allowed to cook until it becomes crispy on the edges. The crust is made of rice flour mixed with coconut water with sweet fat. Meanwhile, green beans, tofu, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and chopped cassava roots are the principal ingredients of the filling. Vietnamese Vegan Pancake’s flavor cannot be perfect with a side of lettuce, herbs, and a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, and chili. The result is a crispy, flavorful, and satisfying meal that is a favorite of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. This dish is undoubtedly an excellent example of how Vietnamese cuisine can be adapted to meet the needs and preferences of different diets.
If you are interested in Vietnamese cuisine, you can explore the diversity of Vietnamese dishes and find some famous dishes in the country.
Vietnamese Vegan Pancake (Banh xeo chay) is a popular vegan dish in Vietnam
The Most Well-known Vegetarian Restaurants in Vietnam
Vegetarians traveling to Vietnam should be reassured about where to eat because there are numerous options for vegetarians to enjoy throughout Vietnam. Vietnam vegetarian dishes are impressive not only for their diversity but also for their excellent flavor.
In Hanoi, visitors can enjoy an elegant dining experience at Uu Dam Chay or a peaceful meal at Aummee. In Hoi An, Karma Waters, Am Vegetarian, and Annen Hoi An offer delicious vegetarian fare. Hue is home to Organic An Lac which should not be missed. In Ho Chi Minh City, Vi Que Kitchen is a standout option among the best Vietnam vegetarian restaurants, offering a wide variety of vegetarian dishes that feature mushrooms as the main ingredient, along with other delicious plant-based flavors. The restaurant's dishes showcase classic Vietnamese flavors in a new and exciting way, making it a must-visit spot for anyone looking to experience the best of vegetarian cuisine in HCM City. Another excellent option is Organik Kitchen Saigon, which is known for its creative pizzas that feature housemade nut cheeses as a key ingredient.
Vietnam, boasting of its stunning landscapes, diverse culture, and various superb dishes, will be a worth-visiting destination for your upcoming trip. Let’s check out the best time to visit Vietnam and enjoy a fun-filled holiday with your beloved. Don’t forget to apply for a Vietnam visa online to be well-prepared for your Vietnam journey.