Ho Chi Minh was the first city we landed in Vietnam, the city buzz and nightlife in Ho Chi Minh was electric and we loved it. The first thing when arriving in a new country what do you do? Of course, looking for food.
As newly arrived in the country we weren’t so impressed with vegan options Ho Chi Minh had to offer us but it got much better during our stay.
We have spent a lot of frustrating hours wandering around in the night market going back and forth and getting hungrier and hungrier and not finding anything suitable. A night market is only good for meat-eaters and seafood lovers.
We walked onto a street vendor who was selling local Vietnamese desserts Xoi, sweet. There were varieties of rainbow coconut sticky rice dishes with crushed peanuts, sesame, beaten durian as well as beans, yams in banana leaf, topped up with coconut flakes, condensed coconut milk, sweet bean paste and sugar.
It tasted absolutely delicious!
Another popular vegan Vietnamese dessert you can try on your trip to Ho Chi Minh is in underground Sense Market.
Address: 4 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Inside the Sense Market, you can find a traditional food court that resembles street markets. You will be able to find the varieties of most famous dishes of Asian foods from India, Thailand, Singapore, China, Japan and Vietnam.
We were in a mood for something sweet and decided to try traditional Vietnamese gruel, dessert, known in Vietnamese as Che. The varieties of Che can be sweet beverages, puddings or soup as a dessert.
Why is it vegan?
Because it’s made from kidney beans, tapioca, black-eyed peas, mung beans, fruits such as mango, durian, jackfruit, longan and coconut milk or cream. You can also find savoury types made from aloe vera, lotus seeds, seaweed, sesame seed, cassava.
The varieties of tubers, beans and usually glutinous rice are cooked in sweet water and garnished with coconut cream.
Prices: 30000 VND – 45000 VND per item ($1.30 – $1.95)
Healthy World – Vegan Restaurant
We came across Healthy World one of the vegan restaurants in the District 1 of Ho Chi Minh just simply passing by and saw a sign for Buffet Chay.
Address: 120 Nguyen Trai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
It was a large fancy looking restaurant in a Japanese style. As soon as we walked in we didn’t realise that’s entire restaurant was Vegan and Initially thought that they have some vegan options.
After looking around and checking the displayed dishes as pictures on the display of the restaurant, we realised that every single dish was vegan and the restaurant itself was purely vegan.
There was so much choice to chose from dishes made from vegan “meat”. You can have it as a buffet or takeaway. The buffet cost 200,000 VND ($8.70)
We ordered some dishes as a takeaway and they tasted really good.
You can also order ice-cream made from fruits and coconut milk. I loved durian flavoured ice-cream and it was rich, full or aroma and tasted delicious. I must admit that I kept coming back for it.
Within the restaurant, there was a shop selling vegan supplies made of soy. You can purchase soy in different forms, soy-based proteins and soy-based frozen and packed food.
On several occasions, we found soy-based meat in some grocery stores in Ho Chi Minh.
To conclude, it was challenging finding vegan street food especially if there is a language barrier and you are absolutely strict vegan. However, with a bit of research, you can find many vegan restaurants or restaurants with vegan options which are worth a visit.
On a final note, if you are strict about being vegan then you need to avoid what most YouTubers and bloggers do which is to assume and take things at face value. E.g Mr Bean looks like a vegan eatery they have photos of soy, everywhere but they don’t mention that they use eggs and milk in a large number of their products unless you specifically and repeatedly ask them.
In our case, we asked them if a particular item is purely vegan they say “yes vegan” then our Vietnamese friend asks in Vietnamese and they say “it has a little bit egg”
More about veganism in Vietnam see this post.