There are good news and bad news for you to look for vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An. The bad news is that no Vietnamese dishes are naturally vegetarian. The good news is that many Buddhists in Vietnam eat vegetarian food for at least two days a month. This means that there are many vegetarian restaurants. They eat vegan food for two days at full and new moons (30th/1st and 14th/15th days of the lunar calendar). Therefore, you can even find street stalls selling meat-free dishes.
The key word to learn is “chay”, which means vegetarian. You can use it to explain your dietary requirements in restaurants (“Tôi ãn chay” means “I’m a vegetarian”) or look for the sign “Com chay” or “Quan chay” outside vegetarian restaurants. You can find vegetarian restaurants on Lodyhelp.
The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Hoi An
1) Minh Hien
Minh Hien was our absolute favourite restaurant in Hoi An and we visited countless times. They have a large menu, don’t use mock meat. Everything was much more flavourful than at other vegetarian restaurants in Vietnam. You can try meat-free versions of local classics like white rose dumplings and cau lau noodles. But our favourite dishes were the fried tofu in lemongrass and chile and the sautéed pumpkin with peanuts. The dishes cooked in banana leaves are also very tasty, and if you are a mushroom fan, try them braised in black pepper.
Sauteed pumpkin, banh xeo, fried tofu with lemongrass and chile
The food is reasonably priced, although portions can be a little small, so we usually shared three dishes. Drinks are inexpensive—a glass of fresh beer is only 3000 VND ($0.15)!
We also took their cooking class to learn how to make our favorite dishes. They were surprisingly quick and simple, and we learned that the flavor comes from their spicy mushroom stock. We managed to replicate the dishes at home successfully, which isn’t always the case with cooking classes.
Classes run for 2-3 hours at 11 am and 4 pm and cost $15. You can choose what to cook from the menu—one dish per person, plus one extra (so four of us made five dishes). The classes are very informal, with a mix of demonstration and participation, and you have to write down the recipes yourself. For more professional experience, you might prefer one of the cooking schools (which all cater to vegetarians), but we liked learning Minh Hien’s secrets.
2) Karma Waters
Karma Waters has a healthy, vegan menu of Vietnamese, Indian, and international dishes. We liked the dahl, vegetable noodles, and tofu banh mi. They also have red rice. I would have liked to try one of the many Vietnamese salads.
3) Morning Glory
Morning Glory is one of the most popular restaurants in Hoi An. It’s a huge and busy place that seemed touristy, but the food is really good. The vegetarian dishes are described as side dishes, but the portions are quite large and three dishes between us was plenty. The fried eggplant with garlic and chile was especially tasty.
Anthony Bourdain’s favourite banh mi place always has a queue. It’s not listed on the menu but ask for “banh mi chay” with “đậuphụ” (tofu) and you’ll get a crispy baguette stuffed with spicy tofu and salad. Although I asked in Vietnamese, the lady spoke English and understood not to use fish sauce.
5) Hola Taco
Hola Taco only has one vegetarian taco, but it’s delicious—spicy black beans, corn and pepper salsa, avocado, shredded cabbage, queso fresco, and pickled shallots. The guacamole and chips are also great.
6) Dingo Deli
If you are craving Western food, head to Dingo Deli. It’s run by a friendly Australian couple, and you can find cakes, bread, and imported products in the shop and meals from breakfast to dinner in the restaurant. We found most of the vegetarian dishes (bean burrito, veggie burger, lasagna) average and stodgy, but we enjoyed the coffee, juices, cakes, potato wedges, and huge create-your-own sandwiches with a choice of many types of bread and interesting toppings. The Wi-Fi is fast and there are some comfy couches, so it’s a good place to work. It’s easy to spend a fortune in here, though!
It was easy to be vegetarian and eating out is very affordable. What are your favourite vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An? Join Lodyhelp to getting more information about Hoi An food