It can often be a challenge being vegetarian or vegan in Vietnam. The cuisine is often flavored with animal bones, or sprinkled with dried meat, even if it is not a meat dish. But there are so many beautiful vegetables and fruits in the country, that when you start to look for alternative foods, you can start unlocking doors to beautiful and vibrant new culinary treasures. And there are some lovely restaurants catering to the vegetarian, with flavors to be tasted that will tantalize the taste buds, making you proud to be going animal-free.
1. Bo De Quan
A new location from 2015, this lovely little family business is a vegetarian restaurant in Tay Ho. Their new address, 164 Au Co, is an improvement on their previous location on the same street. They make their food with so much love that you can taste it. They have some of the best fresh spring rolls and fried nem you’ll ever taste. Be sure to try their banana soup sometime—it’s such a unique and delicious creation.
Located on 33 To Ngoc Van, Daluva is always a wonderful dining experience. While not a vegetarian restaurant, Shay, the owner, is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about food. The artful menu is has vegetarian dishes labeled, making the vegetarian feel at ease. Asking for modifications on the menu, and vegan recommendations is never a problem; Shay is extremely accommodating. The falafel is always a treat, and there are often specials being featured weekly, as well as special events, such as wine tasting on Fridays nights.
3. Zenith Yoga
Zenith Yoga, with two locations—on at 247 Au Co and the other at 17 Duong Thanh, provides lovely and fresh vegetarian and vegan food in addition to their yoga classes. Decorated with lush pillows and relaxing atmosphere, it is a wonderful place to enjoy your meal. Their menu incorporates many fresh salads and sandwiches, soups and pizzas. They also do refreshing drinks and artfully presented coffees and desserts.
4. Thien Phat
If a tasty meal is what you want, Thien Phat is a great option, though they do have an extensive menu filled with veggie treasures. Located on 16 Hang Hanh (Just steps from Hoan Kiem Lake) and 91 Ly Thuong Kiet (a more premium location), this Vietnamese restaurant is a quaint operation, though the food is belly-warming and will leave you eager to come back. You can ask for brown rice, and they do many concoctions with fake meat that is very convincing.
There is buffet lunch twice a month for just $6 and you can sample the very best of Vietnamese's vegetarian food.
5. Gelato Italia
Gelato Italia deserves a mention as far as desert is concerned. Their luscious, creamy gelato is as good as any you’ll have in Italy. And theirs will have you a gelato convert, kissing ice cream good-bye. What is extraordinary about their menu is that they mention which flavors have egg and/or dairy, making the vegan as welcome as anyone. And their fruity flavors are almost all vegan; as is allegedly their dark chocolate, which is one of the richest, decadent things you’ll ever taste. Gelato Italia is located on 31 To Ngoc Van.