Vietnam

4 Tips for Finding Vegetarian and Vegan Food in Vietnam

Vietnam is a travel destination that is friendly for travelers regardless of their lifestyles. No matter your diet prefrence, Vietnam will be a travel destination where you don’t have to worry about it. In Vietnam, it’s not complicated to get vegan or vegetarian food. So, feel free to embark on a journey to Vietnam without any concerns.

Is Vietnam Friendly for Vegans and Vegetarians?

Papaya Salad | Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash

Actually, the Vietnamese share a similar tradition with Chinese when it comes to having a vegetarian diet. On the 1st and 15th day of each lunar month, many Vietnamese people, including those who believe in Buddhism, will eat vegetarian foods. With the Buddhism tradition, many restaurants, grocery stores, and even street stands in Vietnam are also used to providing their customers with meat-free meals. 

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You may notice that Vietnamese cuisine contains a lot of vegetables, especially raw veggies. For example, Vietnamese people are fond of wrapping roasted beef, chicken or seafood with raw veggies. As a vegan or vegetarian, you don’t eat meat. Therefore, please pick up must-learn Vietnamese keywords and phrases as below to express a little bit more accurately to Vietnamese people who serve you.

Tip 1: Make Use of Vietnamese Words and Vocabularies

Herbs and Spices | Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

Please do not forget. When you land in a whole new country, language would probably be the biggest barrier in your happy travel. However, even though communicating with foreigners is always challenging, it would never be a reason that stops you from exploring the world. 

In fact, a lot of exceptional travelers are monolingual speakers. Living In today’s tech-savvy world, it’s convenient to quickly memorize some useful vocabulary and phrases in local languages. You may get information via a search engine, online dictionary, and of course MyProGuide Website. Then, let’s learn the necessary Vietnamese keyword and phrase to help you out. 

Must-learn Vietnamese Keyword:Chay. It means ‘vegetable(s)’ or ‘vegetarian,’ so, it will the most used word to express what you really desire for meals.

Must-learn Vietnamese Keyword:Không. It means ‘no’ or ‘without.’ It’s a really useful word to say no to something.

Must-learn Vietnamese Phrase:Không thịt, literally ‘no meat.’ It’s an expression way to emphasize on the dietary restriction. And it’s clearer to use this phrase to strongly express that you can’t have anything with meat(even cooked with meat).

Additional  Vietnamese Phrase:Không nước mắm. ‘Nước mắm’ means fish sauce, which is often used in Vietnam’s cuisine. If vegans or vegetarians don’t want to eat any food cooked or mixed with fish sauce, please bravely utter this phrase. 

After learning how to use Vietnamese vocabulary, keywords, and phrases, you may feel finding vegetarian foods to eat seems much easier. It’s quite a simple way to convey the exact meaning to Vietnamese people. No need to pronounce perfectly right(of course~you’re not a native speaker). Vietnamese people will be super kind and easygoing to understand you. Or maybe you can just show Vietnamese people the word and phrase on this MyProGuide website page, or hire a local tour guide to make your order much easier.

Tip 2:Common Vegetarian Foods to Order in Vietnam

Street Food Breakfast | Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

Vietnam is actually famous for producing cultivation, such as fruits, plants, and vegetables. Da Lat City, situated in the middle Vietnam, features booming agriculture industry. And farming even function as an essential part of local tourism. Travelers visiting Da Lat City will have the chance to take a glance of wide selection of well-grown vegetables and beautiful flowers. It’s generally known in Vietnam that Da Lat is the city that offer nourishing veggies for all Vietnamese people. 

As a result, vegans or vegetarians won’t suffer from veggie shortage in Vietnam. Vietnam is definitely a country that produce good quality and quantity of vegetables. No matter you’re on streets or in fancy restaurants, it’s common to order a plate of boiled spinach or other raw veggie set. So, enjoy it. BTW, you can refer to MyProGuide’s food recommendation as follows,

  1. Cơm:Rice
  2. Mì:Noodle
  3. Sữa:Milk
  4. Trứng:Egg
  5. Đậu hũ:Tofu
  6. Đậu hũ sốt cà:Vietnamese tofu cuisine with tomato sauce
  7. Phở chay:Vegetarian pho(rice noodle) 
  8. Bánh mì chay:Vietnamese-style vegetarian sandwich
  9. Gỏi chay:Vietnamese vegetarian salad
  10. Bánh xèo chay:Vietnamese vegetarian sizzling pancake
  11. Lẩu chay:Vietnamese vegetarian hotpot

Tip 3: Mark Your Targeted Vegetarian Restaurants on Map

Ho Chi Minh| Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

Although Vietnam is a vegetarian-friendly country that is accessible to many vegetarian dishes. However, you’re new to Vietnam. Everything unfamiliar might drive you crazy. For example, about location and direction, even if you’re confident in your sense of direction, it’s still risky to get lost in a foreign place. Then, if you fail to find the right place to consume nutrition, you’ll get exhausted. Also, vegans or vegetarians may feel quite insecure if something unknown shown up on tables. 

Remember to demand shopkeepers not to serve any food with meat, and speak out the phrase’Không thịt’ to inform them. After all, it’s a time-saving idea to keep those vegetarian restaurants in your travel guidebook and mark them on the map. Don’t forget to do it in advance before you start the journey. 

Tip 4:Be Brave to Ask for Meat-free Meals

Sa Pa, Vietnam| Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

Perhaps you may be a little bit anxious when talking to Vietnamese strangers because of the language barrier and unfamiliar culture. However, it’s totally fine to ask if a food stand or restaurant is willing to customize foods as meat-free kind. Vietnamese people are pretty open-minded to interact with foreigners. So, even if they aren’t fluent in English or your language, they’ll try to answer you through any kind of method, such as body language. 

Plus, as mentioned above, many Vietnamese people have the habit of having meat-free meals. That’s why restaurants and ordinary food stands in Vietnam wouldn’t be surprised if they’re asked to make vegetarian meal sets. Most of the time, they are happy to satisfy customers’ needs. Next time, if you’re not sure where to have vegetarian foods, or simply get lost in Vietnam, just calm down. Always remember to apply what you just learn here-’Chay’ and ‘Không thịt’-everything will be okay.

Moreover, if you’re a strict vegan that cannot consume milk and egg, note that many authentic Vietnamese dishes, such as gỏi cuốn(Vietnamese cold spring roll) are cooked with these kinds of ingredients. 

Find your Vietnam tour Guide Here

So, now that you’re in Vietnam, take advantage of your language ability-Vietnamese-at most. In conversation with Vietnamese people, just add ’không’ in front of anything you want to reject, and Vietnamese people will understand your request.
Although we list out 4 tips for your reference and remind you of many things to be concerned with, however, put your fear aside. Those ups and downs happened in your journey are also unforgettable memories to cherish, right? So, cheer up and open your mind, we believe Vietnam will be the destination for all vegans or vegetarians.

Author

Hello, Yu is my middle name. Currently an full-time media editor, also lifelong traveler. Easily attracted by exotic culture. Once exploring a new place, I feel like travel spirit get refreshed thousand times. So far, have lived in Vietnam, Korea and Spain for quite a while, and been to Portugal, Japan, etc.. Journey never ends...Feel free to share with me your travel stories:shonelouis@gmail.com