For all the vegetarians worried about not being able to eat anything but rice in Hanoi – don’t worry! Today, we will gives you the insiders view on eating vegetarian food in Hanoi.
“An chay” means no meat and is an essential phrase that usually gets the point across. Make sure to say it a few times or write it down. “An chay” means to eat vegetarian and although it is a useful word to know, I find “An Chay” to be more effective. Unless you are eating in a vegan restaurant, “nuoc mam” or fish sauce is served with pretty much everything and dishes without it can seem slightly bland. So I recommend carrying sachets of soy sauce to compensate.
The following is a list of street food and small restaurants serving vegetarian food in Hanoi; where a vegetarian can somewhat integrate oneself into the wonderful culture and atmosphere.
Vegarian street food in Hanoi
- Bun Dau: 55 Phat Loc Lane or Trang Tien Lane, Hoan Kiem
Freshly cooked by roving street stalls throughout the day, “bun dau” is a savior for vegetarians in search of street food. So long as you like tofu. A plate of cold “bun” (noodles) is served with an abundance of fresh herbs, lime, chili and freshly fried tofu; that is crispy on the outside and smooth as silk on the inside. Make sure to specify “no meat” otherwise watch out for fried pork masquerading as tofu. Like many Vietnamese dishes, this will come with shrimp or fish-based sauce on the side, easily avoided if you wish.
- Banh Cuon Chay: 14 Bao Khanh Street or Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh at 66 To Hien Thanh Street.
It is a rice paper crepe (of some sort) that is understated and, in my opinion, usually underrated. Here, you can see them making the fresh crepes by rapidly spreading and flipping the thin white sheets over a steamer. The result is a subtly-flavoured, warm slimy dish that tastes much better than it sounds. It is served with herbs, chilli and a steaming bowl of fish-based sauce on the side. The vegetarian “banh cuon” comes with dried onion.
We strongly recommend taking soy sauce to compensate for the fish sauce.
- Fried Rice / Noodles
If you are not too concerned about meat touching your food or the occasional sprinkle of fish sauce, you can usually grab a tasty dish at any of the small places serving fried rice or noodles. It is where they will happily cook you up a plate of something with a few veggies and no meat. The noodles are usually the better option (particularly fresh “pho”); but avoid ordering “my” which are just instant noodles. Instant noodles have a high salt content.
Vegetarian/Vegan restaurants in Hanoi
- Truc Lam Trai: 39 Le Ngoc Han Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Chay Duong Sinh – Homefood: 26 Tran Binh Trong Street, Hai Ba Trung District
- Com Chay Nang Tam: 79A Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Loving Hut: 147B Au Co street, Tay Ho District; 3/10/121 Chua Lang street, Dong Da District; 18/07 Nguyen Hong street, Dong Da District; 9A Dang Tat street, Ba Dinh District.
- Bo De Quan: 65 Quan Su street, Hoan Kiem District
- Ha Thanh Restaurant: 116/166 Kim Ma street, Ba Dinh District
- Jalus Vegan Restaurant: 46 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District
- Dieu Tam Restaurant: 133 Nguyen Dinh Thi street, Tay Ho District
- Uu Dam Chay: 34 Hang Bai Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Minh Chay Vegan Restaurant: 30 Ma May street, Hoan Kiem District; 45 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District
Useful vegetarian phrases in Vietnamese:
- an chay: vegetarian
- com chay: vegetarian food
- nha hang com chay: vegetarian restaurants
- rau: vegetable
- khong co trung: no eggs
- khong co thit: no meat
Besides, you should consider Hanoi street food tour then asking for vegetarian food. It is quite sure that you could have a great vegetarian street food tour.
Nam Lucas – Travel Expert