As a vegetarian, food can be the biggest concern when traveling. For a food paradise like Ho Chi Minh City, there is no need to worry about finding a tasty dish. However, a vegetarian food tour in Ho Chi Minh can pose a challenge, so let’s get to know the local food culture before setting out your journey.
Vegetarianism in Vietnam – Is It Easy to Survive As A Vegetarian?
Can we make a vegetarian food tour in Ho Chi Minh City at ease? The answer is both yes and no.
Vietnam is a land with many religions and some of which, particularly Buddhism, encourage their practitioners to follow vegetarianism either strictly or to eat at some specific days of a month. Besides that, with a large self-supply of various types of vegetables all year round, green in Vietnam can be freshly bought at affordable prices. Hence, vegetarianism is a prevalent lifestyle in Vietnam and there is an abundance of plant-based dishes to try.
Fruits and vegetables are abundant in Vietnam
On the other hand, it is not as easy for foreigners to find a legit local vegetarian place that is not a lavish restaurant. Additionally, some of the dishes might seem skeptical since it is hard to tell if the ingredients and cooking process are meat-free.
Must-try Vietnamese Dishes for Vegetarians
Since the recipe of any Vietnamese dish is unpredictable, here we have some safe (yet delicious) choices for your vegetarian food tour in Ho Chi Minh City.
Pho Chay – Vegan Pho
Pho is one of the must-try Vietnamese foods. And although most of the best dishes from Pho have meat as an indispensable ingredient, Vegan Pho still delivers the authentic taste of pho without the need for animal’s protein.
Pho Chay itself also has many different variants
Cha Gio Chay – Vegan Spring Rolls
Cha Gio is a Vietnamese specialty which frequently appears in lots of traditional special occasions. With the vegan version, the fillings are chopped vegetables such as carrots or black fungus instead of minced meat or shrimps.
Cha Gio Chay – vegan and tasty
Stir-fried Morning Glory
This is a dish that you really should try whether you are a vegan or not. Morning glory is a vegetable that can be found in many places across Vietnam and cooked in different methods. The stir-fried one is appetizing to eat and appealing to all ages.
Morning glory before and after being stir-fried with garlic
Vegan Hot Pot
Since the rainy season in Ho Chi Minh lasts for almost half a year, and during those days, nothing can be better for your vegetarian food tour in Ho Chi Minh City than a simmering vegan hot pot. The soup is tasty, and you can enjoy it with as many mushrooms and vegetables as you want. Rice vermicelli would also be served to complete the dish.
Ingredients for Vegan Hot Pot can be super diversified
Sweet Sticky Rice
Sticky Rice is a good pick for a mouthwatering snack. Note that there is savory sticky rice, which may heave meat floss or baby shrimps so you might want to go for the sweet version as a vegetarian option.
Some types of sweet sticky rice: Xoi Vo (mung bean sticky rice) and Xoi Gac (spiny bitter gourd sticky rice)
Check out Must-try Sticky Rice in Ho Chi Minh City to see a wide range of options and where to find them.
Che – Sweet Soup
Looking for a dessert to complete your vegetarian food tour in Ho Chi Minh City? Take a look at Vietnamese sweet soups. There are dozens of types of them which can be a combination of beans, fruits, or jellies. The majority of them are vegan, just a very few cases are exceptional.
Some favorite sweet soups of the local you can try are Che Me Den – Black Sesame Sweet, Che Chuoi – Banana Sweet Soup, Banh Lot, Che Troi Nuoc – Glutinous Dumplings in Ginger Syrup.
Che Me Den
Che Troi Nuoc
Where to Eat on Your Vegetarian Food Tour in Ho Chi Minh City
Most restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city serve a vegan menu, but to make it easier, go to the vegetarian restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. They offer a wide range of delicate vegetarian-friendly dishes with the highest quality.
Another suggestion is that you can go around the area of some temples and pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City. Usually, there would be several vegetarian food stores for Buddhists (or anyone who wants vegan food) serving rice and vegetarians or mock meat.
Some Tips to Help Your Vegetarian Food Tour in Ho Chi Minh City Easier
1. “Chay” is the Vietnamese word to refer to vegan or vegetarian food. You can look for that word to find a suitable restaurant or products. “Toi an chay” means “I’m a vegetarian”, which would help the cook find the best way to serve what you want.
See more Useful Vietnamese Phrases.
Look for the word “chay”
2. Make a list of Vietnamese food that you want to try and do some research. Look into the recipes to see if there is any step that requires animal products. For example, most of the Vietnamese noodles are served with broth which is cooked from beef bones, pork bones, or chicken bones.
3. Be careful with the spices on the tables of the restaurants. They might have Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce) which is made from fermented fish.
Fish Sauce can be not vegetarian-friendly
Summary of Vegetarian Food Tour in Ho Chi Minh City
Finding vegan food in Vietnam can be a little bit tricky sometimes. However, once you figure it out, your vegetarian food tour in Ho Chi Minh City would be full of joy (and deliciousness!).
Check out our personalized food tour in Ho Chi Minh City to experience the most delectable dishes at the best vegetarian restaurants.