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An Insider’s Guide to Vegetarian Restaurants in Saigon • Travel Lush

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I’m simply going to come proper out and say it – being a vegetarian in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis (aka Saigon) rocks. Typically touring as a vegetarian in Southeast Asia may be brutal, however that’s not in the case in Saigon. Thanks to Vietnam’s sizeable Buddhist inhabitants, there are tons of vegetarian and vegan eating places in Saigon — and different main cities in Vietnam — in addition to loads of vegan and vegetarian-friendly eating places. I’ve carried out a whole lot of consuming since shifting to this metropolis. It’s one of many issues that I do greatest. So should you’re a vegetarian (or vegan) and also you’re planning a visit to Vietnam right here’s my insider’s information to a number of the greatest vegetarian eating places in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

Vegetarian Vietnamese noodle soup for $1? Sure, please!

Only a word, most of those eating places are pure vegetarian however I’ve additionally included some which have nice vegetarian and vegan choices on the menu. Additionally, I’m together with every little thing from Vietnamese meals to worldwide choices as a result of this metropolis has a variety of eating places – and to be frank, as an expat I like to combine issues up. And eventually, I’ve added a number of ideas and phrases that may provide help to navigate the town should you’re a non-meat eater.

Most individuals who go to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis base themselves in the downtown space, which is in District 1. That is the place I reside so I’ve come to know the vegetarian scene fairly properly. Nearly all of eating places I’m recommending are in District 1 (with a number of scattered a few kilometers away in District 2).

Chay = Vegetarian

The phrase chay in Vietnamese means vegetarian. That is actually the #1 factor you want to know in the event you’re a vegetarian in Vietnam. In the event you see the phrase chay on a restaurant signal, this implies the complete menu might be absolutely vegetarian (and principally vegan).

vegetarian-vietnamese-restaurant

If any dish makes use of the phrase chay (pho chay = vegetarian pho) you’ll be able to relaxation assured that the dish is vegetarian, together with the broth. I’m a reasonably strict vegetarian, which suggests I don’t eat issues like animal-based broths or fish sauce. So chay eating places match with my private necessities, which places me comfortable. Whereas most gadgets in chay eating places are vegan, strict vegans will want to double examine with the waiter, simply in case.

Obtain the Completely satisfied Cow App

This app is the love of my vegetarian life. Significantly, I exploit this app once I go to any new metropolis. It’ll record each vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurant and retailer close to you and the critiques are tremendous useful. I don’t understand how I ever lived with out this app whereas touring. It really works in most cities however is tremendous useful right here in HCMC as a result of it’ll lead you to hard-to-find eating places.

Mock Meat

Mock meat is widespread in Vietnam. I completely LOVE mock meat – belief me it options prominently in this weblog – however I perceive that many vegetarians and vegans detest it. Whereas pretend meat is widespread, vegetarian eating places have tons of different choices. So don’t stress if pretend meat freaks you out. And for those who love mock meat, you’ll be in heaven!

Vegetarian Banh Mi

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There isn’t a scarcity of vegetarian banh mi (aka banh mi chay) in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis. A whole lot of locations that serve Vietnam’s well-known baguette sandwiches could have a chay model. These are often full of mushrooms, tofu, mock meat or some kind of variation thereof, in addition to the usual cucumbers, pickled veggies, cilantro, scorching peppers, and mayo. Vegetarians ought to observe that the banh mi opla (principally banh mi with a fried egg) often comes with pate, so make sure that to ask for it with out pate…I discovered that the arduous method.

Anyway, listed here are a few my go-to locations:

Banh Mi Ba Lac: Proper off of the Nguyen Hue Strolling Road.

Nice Banh Mi & Cafe: A sequence with tons of places across the metropolis.

Chi Cu

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I used to be a bit intimidated by this restaurant at first. I feel I walked previous it 10 occasions earlier than I lastly mustered the braveness to stroll in. It’s an excellent hole-in-the-wall place and once I first began consuming there, there was no English menu. (FYI, they now have a menu in English, which makes ordering means simpler in case you’re not acquainted with Vietnamese dishes.) The menu is small, so I began by simply pointing at dishes not understanding what would come. Although I had no concept what I used to be ordering every little thing was tremendous recent and scrumptious. That is palms down my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis. Every part prices 25,000 dong (US$1). Additionally, order the tra da (iced tea) for two,000 dong or nuoc mia (cane juice) for six,000. Each are staples in Saigon and actually assist to cool you off in the course of the sweltering days.

Chay Nha Toi

vegetarian-vietnamese-food

Actually instantly throughout the road from Chi Cu, Nha Toi is the brand new child on the block. This place opened a couple of months in the past and thus far every thing I’ve sampled is scrumptious. The servers are tremendous useful and can principally level out all their specialties, which embrace a variety of scorching pots and BBQ’d mock meats. Additionally they have all of the staples from noodle soups to superb salads to veggie dishes. Their menu is in depth and I nonetheless have lots of consuming to do there.

Quan Chay Giac Tha

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This place is true down the road from Chi Cu and Nha Toi. It’s an excellent informal spot that specializes in hu tieu, which comes in a number of totally different types, together with a soup model and a number of dry variations. Though it’s truly a pork-based dish, this can be a pure vegetarian restaurant that specializes in hu tieu. Thus far I’ve tried two varieties, each of which remind me numerous Chinese language and Cambodian meals — which is sensible as a result of the origins of the dish could be traced again to these nations. It’s now ultra-popular in southern Vietnam, and it’s scrumptious. That is one other certainly one of my go-to locations together with Chi Cu. Dishes vary from 30,000-40,000 dong ($1.50-2).

three La Vegetarian

three La was packed once I visited and for good cause. It’s undoubtedly a bit extra on the fashionable aspect and is common amongst vacationers, expats, and locals. Anticipate to pay a number of dollars per dish. They provide a variety of vegetarian Vietnamese meals, however what actually intrigued me about this place is that they’ve a bunch of artichoke dishes (recent from Dalat in the Central Highlands), although you could have to get them organized at some point in advance. I’m an enormous artichoke fan so I’m dying to attempt them!

Saigon Vegan

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Saigon Vegan has a pretty big menu filled with vegan variations of Vietnamese dishes. There are a selection of noodle soups, scorching pots, and seasonal salads. There are additionally all types of braised veggies, tofu, mock meats cooked in clay pots and a lot extra. All the things is scrumptious and the servers are very pleasant. Pictured above is my go-to, Mie Tiem Noodle Soup (55,000 dong).

Chan Nhu II

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This can be a fashionable spot amongst foreigners and locals alike and it all the time appears to have a gentle stream of visitors, which is all the time a great signal. This place serves up all of the staples on their menu however should you’re on the lookout for one thing to take away, you’ll be able to order from their sizeable buffet, which is principally a mock meat lover’s dream come true.

Nha Hold Chay Wholesome Farm

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Talking of mock meat…that is in all probability one of many extra distinctive vegetarian eating places in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis. You principally decide and select your veggies and (mock) meats from the show on the entrance of the restaurant. The employees will then prepare dinner them up with both noodles or rice and current you with some fabulous concoction. Truthfully, this truly isn’t my favourite vegetarian restaurant in city. The actual purpose I’m going right here is as a result of there’s a full freezer part in the again of the restaurant that sells all method of mock meat. I principally go to this place every time I really feel like stocking up.

Hum Vegetarian Café & Restaurant

Hum might be probably the most well-known vegetarian restaurant in the town, which is why I don’t actually need to embrace it in this record. It’s the place that everybody recommends to vegetarians, in all probability as a result of it’s listed in the Lonely Planet. It’s actually good however there are such a lot of different locations that I’d advocate over Hum. Hum truly has two branches in Saigon and each are a bit extra on the upscale aspect. The meals is scrumptious however I suppose I’m extra of a road meals/hole-in-the-wall woman. When you’re on the lookout for a nicer night time out, a spot to deliver colleagues to, or someplace to have a romantic dinner this can be a nice choice for vegetarians and vegans. All the things I sampled there was actually good.

Bookworm’s Espresso

From the appears of it, you’d assume that is only a backpacker café nevertheless it’s truly a vegetarian and vegan paradise. It’s not pure veg however they’ve tons of choices for many who aren’t meat inclined. (The proprietor is definitely vegan, therefore all of the veg dishes.) Whereas they do have Vietnamese choices, it’s the British consolation meals that drew me right here. Assume vegan bangers and mash and mock meat pies. I actually respect that this place has such all kinds of meals that you could by no means discover in veg-friendly types. It’s situated proper off of Bui Vien Strolling Road (aka the “backpacker street”).

Nonla Guys

This Mexican-Korean fusion joint is a responsible pleasure of mine. As a result of I’m from San Diego I’ve a factor for making an attempt each Mexican food-ish place I come throughout in Southeast Asia. So whereas I used to be tremendous skeptical, I had to attempt it. I all the time order the Vegetarian Quesadilla (it has tofu, beans, cheese, and a creamy sauce). It’s bomb. It’s undoubtedly not conventional Mexican meals, however it’s rattling tasty. They’ve tofu burritos, salad bowls and extra. This place is situated simply off of Bui Vien Strolling Road. You can even request to have diced chilies added to your meal. As a spicy meals lover I can attest that they’re not fucking round when it comes to spice, one thing I recognize.

La Fiesta

Talking of Mexican meals, this one’s undoubtedly my favourite in city. I in all probability eat right here as soon as every week. There a handful of vegetarian gadgets on the menu: from burritos to enchiladas to chilaquiles. No, it’s not precisely like my beloved Southern California Mexican meals, however it’s truly fairly good.

Al Sham

This Syrian-Lebanese restaurant is a gem. It’s small and unpretentious however they serve up one of the best Center Japanese meals in city and there are many vegetarian choices on the menu. I’ve heard they’ll even make gadgets vegan for those who notify them forward of time. They’ve all of it from falafel wraps (40,000 dong) to hummus to (80,000 dong) to conventional flatbreads (70,000). Plus, it’s truly actually reasonably priced contemplating the extent of high quality and love that’s put into their meals. I stroll previous this place day by day and the Syrian proprietor is all the time cooking away. The truth that the proprietor truly does the cooking, oversees the restaurant, and eats there day in and day trip is all the time a superb signal. He’s tremendous pleasant too. I really like the shakshuka (80,000 dong) and moutabal (80,000 dong).

Mon Hue

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Mon Hue is a well-liked chain and there are branches throughout Saigon. I didn’t understand it till just lately, however Mon Hue has a full vegetarian web page that includes all types of specialties from the Hue area, together with the ultra-famous bun bo hue (beef noodle soup). As a result of it’s a sequence dishes are extra like $2-Four however the high quality is respectable and it’s the right place to go in case you’re with a gaggle of vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Bali Home (previously Dapur Bali)

Bali Home simply opened a brick and mortar location in District 2. What I really like about Bali Home is that the Indonesian proprietor is extremely pleasant and prepared to accommodate vegetarians. The menu encompasses a lengthy record of vegetarian choices, together with a few of my favourite Indonesian dishes corresponding to bakwan (corn fritters), sayur asem (veggie tamarind soup) and tahu isi (stuffed tofu). Simply ask whether or not or not dishes are pure veg. For instance, I consider the sayur asem is often cooked with shrimp paste, however she’ll make it with out it. The meals is scrumptious, genuine, and this place is certainly one among my new favorites in city.

Take a Vegan Meals Tour

In case you are pressed for time and need to expertise all of the veg goodness Ho Chi Minh Metropolis has to supply, you’re in luck as a result of there are literally vegan meals excursions in this metropolis!!  For my part, meals excursions are all the time a good way to get an introduction to the native delicacies. And they’re particularly useful for us non-meat eaters!

You may also like: Vegetarian Guide To Nha Trang, Vietnam: Every part You Want To Know

An chay – I eat vegetarian
Bahn – bread
Bo – butter
Bò – beef
Cá – fish
Chay – vegetarian
Com – rice
Gà – hen
Mam tom – shrimp paste
Nuoc mam – fish sauce
Pho mai – cheese
Rau – greens
Sua – milk
Thịt heo – pork
Trung – eggs

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An Insider’s Guide to the Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Saigon - Travel Lush

Do you’ve gotten any veg-friendly Saigon eating places or vegetarian Vietnamese meals to add to this record?

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