A tad bit challenging but certainly possible. Go back a few decades, finding vegetarian food in Vietnam might have been very tricky, considering the predominance of fish sauce in most of their cuisine. But the best part is that now, most of their signature dishes have vegetarian alternatives too. Just a little check on the ingredients before you order and voila! You’re all set to enjoy all the mouth watering food, just the way you like it.
Here are 5 global food experts telling us how to thrive as a vegetarian in Vietnam:
1.Rice paper rolls
Rice paper rolls have long been known as one of the most popular Vietnamese delicacies. We have bloggers Kristy and Jarryd who had tasted the rolls and couldn’t stop raving about them.
“Oh how I love rice paper rolls! Whatever time of day, you can’t really go wrong with crisp, fresh salad or veg in a rice paper wrap. And don’t forget the sweet and sour nuoc cham dipping sauce, made from lime juice, lemongrass and chillies. Yum!Sometimes called ‘fresh spring rolls’, we definitely made a habit of ordering these every chance we got.We quickly discovered that they came in various sizes and with different types of fillings. And yet we still enjoyed every single version we had.”
Comforting and flavoursome, pho comes in numerous forms with a range of ingredients. Popular blog Food Republic talks in detail about the experience of having pho, plus gives us suggestions on the best places to enjoy it.
“One of the dishes I was looking forward to eating most in Vietnam was pho, a rice noodle soup that traditionally comes with beef or chicken and is served with herbs in a meat broth. While veggie pho is relatively easy to find in the west, finding a meat-free version in Vietnam proved more difficult than I thought; even the tofu phos are often cooked in beef broth. But truly vegetarian pho can be found in a few places in Hoi An, and the best is served up at Karma Waters, a 100% vegan and organic restaurant.”
3.Banh mi Chay
Vietnam also has its own version of the sandwich in the form of Banh mi chay. Basically consisting of baguettes filled in with the likes of pickled cucumber, carrot, daikon radish, fresh cilantro and mint, this is a dish you can’t afford to miss when in Vietnam. City Pass Guide, a popular publication, speaks about the significance of Banh mi chay in Vietnamese cuisine.
“No trip to Vietnam would be complete without a decent bánh mì — a Viet/French fusion style baguette sandwich. Finding one that isn’t packed full of pork belly and pâté is a challenge, but vegetarian versions are available.
A nice veggie option can include tofu, egg or mushrooms, stuffed into a freshly baked baguette with fresh chillies, pickles and herbs and finished with a sprinkling of soy sauce.”
Think of comfort food and Vietnam is ready to offer you with the best, the hotpot. Vegan Travel Guide talks about all that it takes to make this pot full of happiness.
” A vietnamese hotpot always involves a certain amount of ceremony as its cooked in front of you at your table, flames or coals heating the ingredients to near volcanic temperatures inside to produce a noodle soup in a tasty clear broth that will fill your stomach and warm your heart with its loveliness.
Spice it up with chilli paste and add a bit of fermented tofu and you’re ready to enter hotpot heaven.”
5. Potato Cakes
Hear Vietnamese street food, and every foodie’s mouth is bound to start watering. Vietnam is one of the best when it comes to offering a diverse range of street food options. A vegetarian favourite has to be the potato cake. UK based travel blogger Charlie loved her experience of tasting the potato cakes.
“The sign says it all. Sweet potatoes, green beans and coconut all mashed and molded into cakes, sold on the streets in Hoi An. There was also a white version of the potato cakes in Dalat, however they didn’t have as much of a flavour as the yellow ones in Hoi An. Potato cakes cost VND 5000 (14p) each.”
If you’re a vegetarian and still have second thoughts about finding the right kind of food in Vietnam, be rest assured that the country has a plethora of delicious vegetarian alternatives for most of its authentic dishes. Book our Vietnam tours and come enjoy the best of the culinary dishes Vietnam has on offer.