Vegetarian And Things To Know When Coming To Hanoi, Vietnam

Nga Do
When you think of great travel destinations for vegans Hanoi is probably not somewhere that springs to mind. In fact, it’s probably quite the opposite. From Vietnamese friends and buddies who had travelled the area we knew the local cuisine was ‘open minded’… to put it one way.

“but what’s it like for vegan in Hanoi?”

We can confirm that the rumours were true… and false. Vietnamese cuisine did include almost every meat imaginable and the concept of a full-time veggie or vegan lifestyle was almost unheard of…


With a little getting used to things for a vegan Hanoi could be an ethical eating haven. With more vegan restaurants and dishes than you’ll have time to try, once you know what to look for and where to look you’re spoiled for choice.

Vegetarian And Things To Know When Coming To Hanoi, Vietnam
Photo by Takeaway

There is vegan food everywhere!

At Hanoi, veggie places dotted around every street corner, varying from street food vendors to formal restaurants. The Vietnamese word for vegetarian, ‘ăn chay’, could easily be found above restaurants or stalls with little searching. This makes picking places out nice and easy when you’re looking for vegan restaurants.

What to order

A few key words will help you find more vegetarian options to eat in Vietnam. ‘Chay’ (pronounced ‘chai’) is the magic word. Say, "Tôi ăn chay” to let someone know you’re vegetarian, or “không thịt” to ask for no meat in your food. “Không nước mắm” — no fish sauce — is also an important phrase to use when placing orders. You can add the word ‘chay’ to request meat-free versions of regular dishes. Like this:

Phở chay = vegetarian pho 
Gỏi cuốn chay = fresh vegetarian spring rolls

There are some dishes vegetarian must-try when in Vietnam. Here are a few:

Nộm hoa chuối: banana flower salad with lime

Đậu sốt cà chua: braised tofu in tomato sauce

Rau muống xào tỏi: stir-fried morning glory with garlic

Bánh xèo chay: savoury rice pancakes with bean sprouts, and mushrooms

Cao lầu chay: Hoi An noodles in soy dressing with greens

Đậu hũ chiên sả ớt: Tofu fried with shredded lemongrass and chili

Best vegetarian restaurants in Hanoi

There are countless excellent vegetarian restaurants everywhere in Hanoi capital. For example, be sure to stop by for an elegant meal at Uu Dam Chay, and a quiet one at Aummee.

But, best interesting experience is vegetarian food in street food.

The vegetarian culture is almost non-existent in Hanoi street food. This is tragic for anyone who wants to enjoy the very attractive food in this city. Don't worry, we can completely transform street food into unique vegan dishes.

An important ingredient in vegetarian meals in Hanoi is “soy sauce” which you can use to replace fish sauce. Because not every food item has soy sauce, it is not a bad idea to have a small bottle of soy sauce in your pocket. You also have to ask the chef not to use the fish sauce in your dish, even though the results are only risky.

Here are some vegetarian/vegan versions of Hanoi street food:

Pho Cuon (roll) with egg

Pho Cuon is a dish made from square beef rolls and raw vegetables. But fried egg can be substituted for beef, which is widely accepted by vegetarians. At Pho Cuon stalls, you can also order fried Pho and fried corn which also are attractive vegetarian dishes.

Banh mi trung ( Vietnamese sandwiches with egg)

A lighter version of the most popular Vietnamese street food for vegetarians. You just need to replace meat with fried egg and cucumber, onions and chili sauce. The taste is still amazing.

Xoi (Sticky rice)

Xoi are usually served with different types of meat, but it’s not bad if you order this with peanuts, green beans or eggs. You can even eat the sticky rice with ice cream. Trust me, this is the best dessert ever!

Che (Vietnamese sweet dessert)

Che is a mixture of green mung bean paste, coconut milk and many other things. On winter, there are other kinds of hot Che called “Banh troi tau” which are made from black sesame or mung beans with hot ginger juice.

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