Looking for meal inspiration from around the world? Vegetarian food in Vietnam will get your taste buds tingling
With growing numbers of non-meat and plant-based eaters, it is no wonder that vegetarian dishes are becoming more exciting and more adventurous. Many now take inspiration from flavours across the globe and while you may think travelling with dietary requirements is a scary thought, finding vegetarian dishes has never been easier! Vegetarian food in Vietnam is particularly trouble-free when you know what to look for and order, with many recipes easy to replicate at home.
Here at Rickshaw, we love to try local food and different cuisines, so we have come together to give you the top 7 vegetarian recipes from our travels across Vietnam.
Vegetarian Dish 1 – Bánh Mì Chay
You might have already heard of the Vietnamese snack “Bánh Mì”, which is a French-style baguette filled with a variety of savoury ingredients. Whilst you may normally see this include various types of meat, “Bánh Mì Chay” is its vegetarian counterpart – swapping the meat for tofu or vegetable options.
This typical street food is inexpensive, delicious and packed full of vibrant ingredients. You’ll often find things such as coriander, mint, pickled cucumber, carrots, radishes and a whole lot more! Bánh Mì Chay tends to replace meaty fillings such as pork or beef with seared tofu, egg, or more vegetables. Street vendors across Vietnam sell this delicious vegetarian dish, which is also easy to recreate at home.
Why not try it for yourself? You can find a tasty recipe here.
Vegetarian Dish 2 – Bánh Khoai Tây Chiên Giòn
Our second dish is simple yet utterly delicious and can normally be found on any street corner in Vietnam. Bánh Khoai Tây Chiên Giòn is essentially a potato cake, with either sweet potato or normal potato mashed up with other ingredients, shaped and fried until golden. These snacks are normally always mixed with non-meat ingredients, ranging from coconut, green beans, celery, onion and different spices.
Recipes for Bánh Khoai Tây Chiên Giòn vary but that is part of the fun! Each vendor has its own secret ingredients and precise way to form these cakes, which make the perfect vegetarian-friendly snack.
Another simple and effective recipe for you to try at home, find one of many recipes here.
Vegetarian Dish 3 – Gỏi Cuốn
Gỏi Cuốn otherwise known as Vietnamese rice paper rolls are gold! This delicious dish is often already vegetarian, involving colourful and wonderful vegetables being wrapped up in a naturally gluten-free rice paper package. Fresh, light and perfect for lunchtime these rolls have become a very popular recipe worldwide.
Gỏi Cuốn is often served with a dipping sauce, normally peanut, and the combination of flavours is bound to leave you craving ever more interesting vegetarian food. If you’re travelling with a non-vegetarian friend they can easily include prawns or pork in their rolls.
See how many vegetables you can fit into one rice paper roll and try a recipe for yourself!
Vegetarian Dish 4 – Nom Du Du
Think crisp, somewhat fruity and a real taste sensation – Nom Du Du is an absolute must when trying vegetarian food in Vietnam. This fresh papaya salad is perfect for something refreshing after a day in the Vietnamese sunshine (perfect when paired with a beer too!).
Normally the papaya strips are mixed with carrots, sesame, basil, coriander and peanuts then drizzled with a sauce made up of soy and rice vinegar. Whilst you might find recipes online that have incorporated fish or meat, this traditionally vegetarian dish is best left at its simplest!
If you’re looking to try and replicate Nom Du Du at home you can find this ingredients list that will make your shopping trip a breeze.
Vegetarian Dish 5 – Cải Xào Nấm
Perfect as a side dish or as the centerpiece of the meal, Cải Xào Nấm is a vegetarian Vietnamese dish that is wholesome and packed full of flavour. The base of this dish consists of frying shiitake mushrooms with bok choy, then you might find a variety of different ingredients added depending on where you stop to eat.
If you’re having Cải Xào Nấm as a main meal you might find it served with steamed sticky rice and maybe even tofu pieces, but it’s the combination of the mushrooms and bok choy that really make this one of the most exquisite vegetarian dishes in Vietnam. All of the Rickshaw team agree, this is a must try!
Looking to bring the taste of Vietnam home? There are plenty of Cải Xào Nấm recipes to pick from.
Vegetarian Dish 6 – Chè Chuối
Something for those of you with a sweet tooth, Chè Chuối is a creamy Vietnamese dessert that costs as little as 30p. You may find this dish served both warm and cold, but its vegan and dairy-free nature means it’s perfect for everyone to try.
Chè Chuối is a banana-based dessert, specifically a banana called Chuối Xiêm, that is cooked with coconut milk and tapioca or sago pearls. It is relatively easy to make but is sure to satisfy any sweet cravings! If you’re looking for a velvety pudding to broaden your palate, look no further.
Here is an authentic yet easy-to-follow recipe for you to try.
Vegetarian Dish 7 – Chè Trôi Nước
Another sweet vegetarian-friendly food in Vietnam, Chè Trôi Nước. These are glutinous rice dumplings are filled with mung bean paste and cooked in sweet ginger syrup, unlike any dessert dish in the UK. Chè Trôi Nước name actually translates to ‘floating on water’ because when boiled these delightful balls rise to the surface.
The gooey syrup these dumplings are coated with gives a delightfully sweet flavour whilst the ginger brings an aromatic touch. Chè Trôi Nước is normally eaten hot and will often be topped with sesame seeds and served with coconut milk. It’s a heavenly combination!
If you’re looking to test your cooking skills on something new, why not give this Chè Trôi Nước recipe a try!
Rickshaw’s Top Vegetarian Food Picks From Vietnam
Vietnam has so much to offer, from Hoi An’s lantern-lit streets to Karst mountains and Bai Tu Long Bay but the aromatic food markets are one thing you have to visit! Bustling with new and exciting foods ready to leave your taste buds wanting more – being vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Vegetarian foods in Vietnam are some of the best in the world with so much you can replicate in your own home.
If you do decide to make any of the recipes above, do send us a photo – we love to hear from all of our customers. If you want to read more about Vietnam and the wonders it has to offer, head to our destination page.
Far Away Isn’t Far Away
Cooking and enjoying food is one way to have the sense of travel and the experiences of the world from your own home – the only way we’ve been able to this past year! However, getting away is coming back and those destinations that feel far away won’t be soon enough. If you’re looking to get motions underway for your next adventure be sure to speak to our travel specialists who will leave you feeling excited and ready.