SEPTEMBER 2021: Due to COVID we have been unable to travel for more than 18 months, which means it’s been impossible to update our vegan travel guides. Therefore we cannot be sure if the below inclusions are still open, so please contact them directly to check. For up to date information, check out the excellent HappyCow, which you can find via the link at the bottom of this vegan guide.
Updated November 2019
Our Vegan Guide to Hanoi was put together during multiple trips to the Vietnamese capital over the last couple of years. We were blown away by the amount of vegan options in town and the obvious explosion in vegan culture and lifestyle since our first visit back in 2010.
Below are the vegan spots we visited during these trips and at the end of our Vegan Guide to Hanoi you will find links to other useful vegan information online. We spent our time predominantly in two locations, the old town and West Lake, and we’ve included a section highlighting the luxury hotels we stayed at during our trip. You’ll also find a final section about Ninh Binh, a great destination for nature lovers which is a couple of hours from Hanoi (and well worth a visit in our opinion).
The first thing you should do when you arrive in Hanoi is head to Minh Chay and eat the other-worldly-divine vegan creme caramel, it’s one of the tastiest vegan desserts we’ve had for some time and we loved it. We also enjoyed some delicious traditional steamed rice rolls and loved that the staff were super friendly. Go here and make vegan friends.
This is the original location of Minh Chay Vegan restaurant (watch this space for expansion with a new branch opening soon). When we visited we were lucky enough to meet the owner, Mr Minh and his lovely wife and share an amazing lunch full of local vegan cuisine. Lovely people, great food and we enjoyed talking all things vegan. You will not be disappointed with the food here…
We tried an interesting vegan ‘omelette’ which was made with tofu (more like a scrambley type creation than an omelette) and a piece of chocolate cake (sadly a little too dry) but both were decent on the whole. The rest of the menu did look interesting, so it’s worth a visit if you’re nearby. There’s a small balcony where you can watch the world go past whilst enjoying your food.
There is a small vegan supermarket downstairs with a variety of noodles, mock meat and vegan sauces, we were excited to find this but to be honest the selection was limited and lots of it included MSG, which might be a problem for some travellers. Upstairs, the restaurant has an extensive menu of vegan food with lots of mock meat and tofu dishes, we chose a couple of the set menus which were decent and well priced but as we expected they were heavy on the MSG. We also picked up some snacks for our train journey including tofu in tomato sauce and vegan spare ribs (both were delicious).
There is a lunch buffet at Quan Chay Bo De that offers great value for money at 98,000VND per person. When we visited there were more than 20 options including, salads, soups, vegetables and mock meats. They also have breakfast and dinner buffets at set times of the day.
We finally got to visit the Vegan Banh Mi Food Cart on our recent visit due to previous trips being at the weekend when they’re closed. Firstly, it’s not a food cart but a small restaurant at the end of an alley that is run by a super friendly family. There are other items on the menu but we were here for the banh mi of which there are 2 options and they were both excellent. One has mock meat made from seitan and the other made with lentils. They are both served with vegan mayo and homemade pate, they each cost just 20,000VND. Excellent value and an excellent option. Look out for the red sign on the roadside at the end of the alley…
This is more up market than many of the other places we visited and has an extensive menu with all an vegetarian and mainly vegan selection. We ordered 3 dishes; pineapple and macadamia fried rice, tofu with tomato sauce and fried spring rolls. The first 2 dishes were tasty but the spring rolls were very oily so we sent them back. The food we ate was enjoyable and we can see why people like this restaurant, it’s a very pleasant setting and the staff were friendly, you pay a slight premium for this but it’s worth it in our opinion.
This grocery store has a huge selection of mock meat, sauces, TVP, frozen, tinned and dried vegan food. This type of ‘fake’ food is not for everyone of course but if you were living in Hanoi and it’s your thing then this is the place to go. We picked up a few bits to take home including mock chicken and mock mackerel.
This was our favourite option in West Lake for sure. Simple, cheap and all served with a smile by the lovely family that run the place. Our 45,000VND (around $2) plateful of vegan delights included mock meat, tofu, rice, all sorts of veg including okra, carrot, green beans, cauliflower and a delicious pumpkin curry. This was served with a clear soup which rounded off a very enjoyable meal for not much money at all.
We chose a simple rice noodles, bean sprouts, salad and mock meat dish which was served with a dipping sauce which included vegan fish sauce. We don’t know about you but the smell of (vegan) fish sauce is off putting and we never want to eat it. The food we selected was just OK but what was really exciting is that they serve the Beyond Burger, this is the place to go for your Beyond Burger fix in Hanoi. Theyt even sell the packs so you can take home at 340,000 VND for 2. Not cheap but we are big fans so took a couple of packs home.
Located near West Lake and serving Vietnamese food with a Japanese influence, Sesame comes highly recommended by us. We sampled quite a few dishes of the menu, the Vegan Food Quest favourite were the mushroom rolls which were amazing!
This bar overlooks the lake and is where to go for craft beers, wine and cider in cool surroundings, a great place to spend the evening with friends. They not only serve some interesting drinks but they’ve teamed up with ‘Junis Kitchen’ meaning you can enjoy authentic Indonesian cuisine (including lots of tempeh) with your craft beer of choice, there are plenty of vegan options so we ordered a selection of small dishes which were all very tasty. Go here if you get the chance.
A super popular spot right on the corner of the lake with seating both inside and outside next to the lake. We went here to check out the fruit salad which we had been told about and we were not disappointed at all, not only was it HUGE and packed with juicy and fresh tropical fruits but it also included one of our all time favourite ingredients, avocado. This was a next level fruit salad and well worth visiting to eat this alone…
This was our ‘go to’ coffee spot during our time in West Lake, if you love coffee you will love their selection of interesting blends for sure. It’s set in a converted villa overlooking the lake and is a cool spot indeed, the food looked decent with a few vegan options but we were only there for the vegan friendly coffee, which we loved. Did you know that not all Vietnamese coffee is vegan, read all about it in our post Is Vietnamese Coffee Vegan?
Visit Ninh Binh
Van Long Nature Reserve
Just a couple of hours from Hanoi is Ninh Binh which is well worth a visit to explore the surrounding natural beauty of Van Long nature reserve. This place deserves a mention because it was so amazingly beautiful, we would highly recommend a boat trip here instead of Trang An which was so busy and over crowded it kind of ruined the vibe for us.
This was the only all vegan restaurant in Ninh Binh. The staff were really friendly and the restaurant was very clean. The food was OK (there was a bit too much MSG) and perhaps we didn’t choose the best options as our meal was a bit too oily, we’d go back and persevere with the menu to support fellow vegans though.
Vegan Friendly Luxury Hotels and Resorts in Hanoi
Check out these ‘tried and tested’ vegan friendly luxury hotels and resorts in Hanoi that one of our team has stayed at. Each of them understood our request for plant based food and ensured that our experience as vegan guests was very enjoyable. We would always recommend contacting your hotel or resort in advance to advise them of your dietary choice, and then to follow this up upon check in by asking to speak with either the restaurant manager or member of the F&B team.
We found these other vegan guides to Hanoi online that will help with your vegan travel planning. Also, make sure to check out Happy Cow which has more than 40 vegan restaurants listed and always help us wherever we go…