7 Must-Try Vegetarian Dishes When in Hanoi, Vietnam

Identify suitable options by looking for the word 'chay' (vegetarian) on menus, and explore Vietnam's diverse culinary offerings
Vegetarian vietnamese spring rolls
Vegetarian vietnamese spring rolls Shutterstock

Vietnam's capital Hanoi caters to vegetarians with its diverse cuisine influenced by various cultures. Its food offers a wide range of flavours, and its Buddhist roots make vegetarian options abundant with fresh herbs and vegetables. If you are a vegetarian exploring Hanoi, the culinary scene here won't disappoint. Remember to say "tôi ăn chay" to let restaurants know you're vegetarian. Here are seven must-try vegetarian dishes and their recommended places to try them:

Rau Muong Xao Toi (Stir-Fried Water Spinach With Garlic)

Rau muong xao toi is a beloved Hanoi staple. It features freshwater spinach stir-fried with garlic and seasonings, creating a flavourful dish. The simplicity highlights the quality of local produce. Enjoy it alone or as a tasty side with a main course.

Where to eat: Try the dish at Hanoi's popular eateries like Quan An Ngon, Nha Hang Ngon, Highway 4, Home Hanoi Restaurant. 

Nom Hoa Chuoi (Banana Blossom Salad)

Nom hoa chuoi is a salad made of tender banana flowers and a tangy dressing. It's accompanied by fresh ingredients like bean sprouts, green papaya, carrots, and coriander, creating a refreshing and flavourful dish. A touch of lime juice or vinegar balances the slight bitterness of the salad.

Where to eat: Try the dish at popular eateries like Nha Hang Ngon, Quan An Ngon, and Highway 4.  

Dau Sot Ca Chua (stir-fried tofu in tomato sauce)

Enjoy the tangy flavours of Dau Sot Ca Chua, a nostalgic Vietnamese dish featuring deep-fried tofu in homemade tomato sauce. Pair it with steamed rice to savour the sweet, tangy, and spicy tastes enhanced by vibrant herbs.

Where to eat: Try the dish at Hanoi's popular eateries like Green Tangerine, La Verticale, Highway4, Apron Up restaurant.

Che Chuoi (Tapioca Coconut Pudding With Banana)

Che chuoi is a popular Vietnamese dessert that combines ripe bananas, chewy tapioca pearls, creamy coconut milk, and a hint of aromatic pandan leaves. It's a comforting treat, especially on a cool day in Hanoi.

Where to eat: Head to Quan Che Loc Tai in the Hoàn Kiám district to try Che chuoi and a variety of other desserts.

Bun Cha Chay (Soupy Noodle Bowl)

This Hanoi culinary creation remains popular even today. It's a flavourful, soup poured over vermicelli noodles and herbs, served with sweet and sour sauce. While traditionally meat-based, it's equally delicious for vegetarians.

Where to eat:  Visit the Bun Chả Huong Lien eatery to enjoy the soup.

Banh Xeo (Rice Flour Pancake)

Bánh xeo's batter is a mix of rice flour, turmeric, and coconut milk. Cooked in a sizzling skillet, the pancake crackles, creating anticipation. Once crispy, it's folded over a filling of abalone mushrooms, bean sprouts, and your preferred proteins, topped with aromatic herbs like mint and perilla leaves.

Where to eat: Try the dish at popular eateries like Highway4, Bánh Xèo Zon and Banh Xeo Gia Truyen.

Xoi (Sticky Rice)

Xoi is a versatile Vietnamese dish made from glutinous rice with a sticky, chewy texture. It can be served savoury or sweet and is often enjoyed with pickled vegetables and toppings like mung beans, fried shallots, or roasted peanuts. It's a popular breakfast, lunch, or snack option and represents Vietnamese comfort food.

Where to eat: In Hanoi, you can find Xoi at street food stalls and vegetarian eateries like Uu Dam Chay. 

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