Vegan food in Vietnam in general is pretty bad; the mock meats are weird tasting to say the least, the dishes lack flavour, the portions are small and vegetarian food can be quite expensive here.
I was really excited when I found out that Hoi An was meant to be vegan heaven- after spending 5 days here, whilst I’m not sure I’d crown it that title; the food has been pretty fabulous. Unfortunately, as we’re visiting Hoi An close to Tet (Vietnamese New Year) a lot of the eateries we wanted to visit were shut, but here’s my list of favourites (and places to avoid).
1. Minh Hien
Minh Hien served THE best food I’ve tasted in Vietnam- if not my entire trip. I was so upset I wasn’t able to get an image of their food, but I was really too busy enjoying myself eating that I completely forgot. We only managed to eat here twice (in one day to be specific) because sadly is shut for Tet- not for good I promise. The staff are really helpful and the cafe is in a nice setting, but the real draw is the food. Minh Hien also offer a cooking class which we really wanted to do but we didn’t even discover this place until it’s last day- if you want to try it turn up at the cafe at 10am and pay 330,000 VND (£11.50) p/p; I hear it’s a great experience and is certainly not to be missed.
What Katie Recommends-
- Stuffed Tofu in Banana leaf– this dish is to die for, it’s the best thing I’ve tasted in a long long time. It’s basically a large tofu steak stuffed with chilli’s, mushrooms and vegetables, topped with spices wrapped in a banana leaf and then grilled. It’s honestly a taste sensation
- Tofu in Tamarind Sauce- The tofu is lightly fried to perfection- not oily or greasy. The best thing about this dish is the sauce which is made from fresh dates, it’s so good. If dates aren’t your thing you can ask for passion fruit sauce which I hear is equally as good
- Fried Garlic Bread-Now I’m normally a healthy eater, but when Joe ordered some bread which had been smothered in garlic, deep fried and then had chilli jam drizzled on top I HAD to try it and it was delicious. Not one for the health conscious but damn was it good.
- Wonton Noodle Soup-It was great to get to try a local delicacy, as it’s not often you do, especially in meat loving Vietnam. Noodle soups aren’t really my thing but this one was really flavourful and the wontons were incredible
- White Rose-Another Hoi An speciality we just had to try- think of an open dumpling with crispy onions on top with a sweet chilli dip. Definitely get some of these as a starter, you won’t try them anywhere else.
- Coconut Ice cream– Need I say more? It’s creamy, freshly made and absolutely fantastic. Your taste buds will never forget it.
Total cost: 1 Starter, 2 main meals, 2 side dishes, 2 drinks- 170,000 VND
2. Hi Restaurant
An Hội, Minh An, Hội An
We came across Hi unexpectedly and I’m so glad we did as the food here is incredible. It’s part of a small food court, which is across the main bridge (not the Japanese one) in the Ancient centre. Hi is not a vegetarian restaurant but does offer a ‘Mon Chay’ menu which is full of tasty treats. Miss Hi herself is really friendly so make sure you chat to her before she makes your food, she also offers a cooking class for a similar price to Minh Hien’s.
We ate here twice and ordered the exact same thing each time as it was so good.
What Katie Recommends:
- Tofu in Clay Pot– lightly fried tofu, chilli’s, green beans and onions marinated in a spicy, tomato sauce in a clay pot. The taste of this is gorgeous, please just try it.
- Tofu with lemongrass & chilli-I’ll admit that I’m not lemongrass’ number one fan, but I have got used to whilst in Asia. Having said that, the lemongrass in this dish is subtle and really does add to the flavour- the chilli’s are the right side of spicy and the crispy onions are so good.
Total Cost: 2 main meals, 2 side dishes, 1 large bottle of water- 100,000 VND
3. Namaste- Omar’s Indian Restaurant
441 Cửa Đạ
Usually I prefer to eat local cuisine where I can-mainly street food and cafe’s where possible. However we just couldn’t do this while Tet was happening as most places we wanted to go to were shut. I am so glad we visited Omar’s though as the meal was very enjoyable. Slightly more expensive than other restaurants you’ll find, but the food quality is really high and the place is very contemporary and modern. The staff are very helpful and attentive and food came really fast.
I have Crohn’s disease, so Indian food is usually a little too heavy for me; I was pleasantly surprised at how light this food was. You should definitely give it a try if you’re in the mood for food that’s not Vietnamese.
What Katie Recommends:
- Aloo Palak- A dish made with creamed spinach and potatoes. Very light and very tasty
- Pindichanna-A chickpea curry with ginger and Indian spices
- Vietnamese Rice-Unless you really have a hankering for Basmati, Vietnamese is less than half the price!
Total Cost: 2 mains, 2 side dishes, 1 large bottle of water- 215,000 VND
4. Hong Phuc 2
98 Bach Dang
Again, this restaurant is not vegetarian and it does serve predominantly meat dishes, however the veggie section is very promising. This place is on the river front in central Ancient Town so the location is VERY convenient, if you’re wanting to grab a bite whilst shopping or seeing the sights, this is the place to go. Priced slightly above some other eateries we visited, the rooftop terrace here is a lovely place to relax, the fresh fruit juice is amazing and like I said- the location is everything.
What Katie Recommends
- Tofu & Papaya salad– I’ve never tried Papaya before (which is crazy after spending so much time in Thailand) and now I’m really upset that I haven’t eaten the 100000 papaya salad’s I’ve had the chance to- they’re delicious. This one came with Hoi An tofu and chilli oil and was really delicious
- Tofu in lemongrass & chilli- We tried this one after the delightful one we tasted at Hi- whilst not as good it was still a really tasty dish and really recommended.
Total cost: 2 mains (the Tofu in lemongrass came with rice included) & 2 fruit smoothies- 218,000
5. Loving Hut- Da Nang
Okay, so I may have cheated a little- this place is in Da Nang and not Hoi An. BUT if you do make the trip to Marble Mountain, which I highly recommend that you do; Loving hut is a 5 minute drive away. You may have heard of Loving Hut before as it’s a global chain of vegan restaurants, I went to so many whilst in Europe. Well, this one’s a little different from that and really bares no resemblance other than the name and logo of the place.
The menu is really small, but there are some tasty looking things on there so this wasn’t really an issue at all. I ordered the fried vegetables with rice and it was okay- but the fried noodles with vegetables more than made up for it-they were absolutely delicious and the best noodles I’ve tasted in a very long time. Plus, it’s VERY cheap.
Total Cost: 2 x main dishes, 1 x Side dish- 65,000
6. Tam Quang Minh
33 Ly Thai to Street
This place was absolutely fantastic, it’s ran by a family so don’t be surprised if there are children watching the TV whilst you’re eating. More of a buffet style of dining, there are only 4 options on the menu- one is rice with added extras, if you go to the front of the cafe you can pick whatever you want with your dish (green beans, fried veggies, mock meats etc). As good as the food is, the best thing about the place is the price it is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!
What Katie Recommends
- Speciality- I didn’t really know what this was as the menu image was a bit blurry but I went for it anyway. It’s Hoi An noodle soup and tofu (the water pressure here changes the taste) with mock meat and crispy fake pork crackling. It’s a taste sensation and is definitely not one to be missed
Total Cost: 3 x main meals- 40,000 VND (now THAT is a bargain)
7. Annen Yoga
320 Nguyễn Duy Hiệu
I totally forgot to take photographs of this place as well as Minh Hien so you’re going to have to use your imagination. This place is in a good location (just outside of the Ancient town) and is a fairly good price as well. The outdoor terrace location was a great place to relax and spend an afternoon.
Joe and I shared the vegetable fried rice and the vegetable fried noodles- both were just okay. This place is good if you’re desperate but there are much better places to go- perhaps there are better dishes to try.
Total Cost: 2 x Main Dishes, 1 x side dish, 2 x drinks- 160,000 VND
Place to avoid-Karma Waters
This place is overpriced, overrated and the food quality is really low. For a restaurant which prices its dishes at around 70-90,000 per dish you expect fresh, handmade food however this is not the case here. The portions are also really small, bland and completely tasteless.
I was really disappointed as Karma Waters is a complete vegan restaurant with a great concept, but unfortunately- the food is just not good.
Total Cost: 2 x main meals, 2 x drinks- 305,000 VND