Vegan Guide to Hoi An

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Published November 2015

If you are visiting Vietnam then the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An ancient town should definitely be on your list, it’s hands down one of the nicest places in Vietnam, if not South East Asia, we’ve yet to meet anyone that didn’t love it and wished they had longer to explore. Here’s our vegan guide to Hoi An with everything we think you should know when visiting including a lot of delicious vegan food. There is an abundance of things to do, see and eat and how people cram it all into a 2 day visit is beyond us; if you have extra days in your Vietnam itinerary then add them on to spending time in Hoi An, it’s probably fair to say we’re just a little bit in love with this place…

Hoi An Ancient Town

Wander the pretty streets of Hoi An Ancient Town where buildings are adorned with lanterns, flowers bloom and you’ll get a glimpse of times gone by. Bargain with shop keepers (every second shop is selling some kind of souvenir), drink coffee in one of the many coffee houses or visit the old market for an assault on the senses (but expect to pay more for everything you buy there).

pretty streets of Hoi An old town

The Beaches

There are two beaches to visit in Hoi An, our favourite is An Bang probably just because we’ve spent more time there. It’s a white sandy beach, which is clean with relatively little hassle once you run the gauntlet of people renting beach beds and wanting to invite you into their restaurant. We recommend paying a couple of dollars to rent a sun bed just because there is no shade on the beach and no one likes to get sunstroke. There are lifeguards on duty but don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security; there are rip tides and strong currents and it’s unlikely the lifeguards will save you if you get into trouble. Just use you common sense and don’t go too far off shore or swim when the waves are huge and crazy.

Our top tip for the beach is to turn right just before the main car park area and park your bike with one of the locals who have houses that back on to the beach. Not only will you avoid the aggressive car park attendants and their charges to park but you also won’t have to walk up the beach to avoid the crowds as you can cut through after parking your bike, straight onto the quiet end of the beach.

picture perfect An Bang beach near Hoi An

The UNESCO world heritage site of My Son

A visit to the ancient temple ruins at My Son is well worth the day trip from Hoi An, we rented a scooter and drove an hour and a half to get there but unless you are a) fearless, b) extremely experienced at riding a scooter (and fearless) or c) have a death wish, then it might just be better to take a tour which isn’t that much more expensive. It’s worth noting that we are none of the above, we just didn’t realise just how dangerous the journey was in parts (think busy roads with hurtling buses, lorries, cars, coaches speeding by you within inches). Take lunch with you because there we didn’t see any good vegan eating spots on the way.

My Son temples near Hoi An

Get some new clothes made

Hoi An is famous for it’s tailors and practically every 2nd shop is dedicated to making you a made to measure outfit to take home with you. As long term travellers with bulging bags we were limited in what we could buy but our favourite tailor of choice fixed some of our clothes, copied some of our worn out items, made us a pair of smart shorts and a pair of yoga pants and we were really pleased with the results. You can find our favourite tailors at ‘Vinh Lien Tailors’ on 323 Nguyen Duy Hieu.

Vinh Lien tailor in Hoi An

Practice yoga

I love yoga and have practiced it for many years in many different countries but never thought I would see the day that Paul signed up for a month of yoga with me; his new found passion for yoga and meditation is still rather surprising (and pleasing) to me and our month in Hoi An was the perfect place to continue our yoga adventure together. The fact that we found possibly the loveliest yoga teacher in the world helped alot; Jyoti is both knowledgeable, passionate, talented and has a kind heart meaning we got to experience a month of yogic bliss at her classes. She can be found at Annen (see review of the vegan food below) and we would strongly recommend that if you are in town pop along to experience her unique Sivananda classes…

yoga with Jyoti at Annen in Hoi An

Shop ethically and support a good cause at Lifestart

The Lifestart Foundation is an inspiring not-for-profit organisation that helps disadvantaged Vietnamese people become self-sufficient. Their shop in the ancient town sells the products that the people they support have made and you might get to meet some of the people making their products in the workshop area. They run free Vietnamese language classes (go and learn the local lingo!), responsible, ethical tours and workshops where you can learn lantern making and how to make (beautiful) hand painted cards. They also stock the only natural vegan toiletries that we found in Hoi An so it’s a great place to stock up on shampoo, conditional and natural mosquito repellent.

Lifestart Foundation in Hoi An

Minh Hien

One of the best places to eat in town, the lovely folk at Minh Hien have been turning out vegan MSG free food for a long long time. Their restaurant is friendly (you can always meet other vegans and vegetarians there) and they have a really nice dog. The food is great, all Vietnamese and includes local Hoi An specialities like White Rose and Cao Lau and you’ll find it hard to order something that you are disappointed with. We must have eaten everything on the menu at east once and we never get tired of it. They also sell fresh beer for 3,000 VND a glass (which works out at 13 cents or about 8 pence!).

Minh Hien
50 Trần Cao Vân
Hoi An

Opening Times: 9am – 10pm every day

vegan cao lau at Minh Hien

Quan Chay An Nhu

We love the ladies who run An Nhu and if you are lucky enough to be in town on the 1st or 15th day of the lunar calendar then you’ll get to try their legendary vegan chicken and rice dish. If not, then everything else is good, locals often rave about the hotpot (we do too) but the Banh Xeo and spring rolls are also phenomenal.

Quan Chay An Nhu
516 Hai Bà Trưng
Hoi An

Opening Times: 6.30pm – 8pm (closed Tuesday)

com ga chay vegan chicken and rice in Hoi An at Quan Chay An Nhu

Tam Quang Minh

Cheap local vegan eatery where they have an extensive ‘Com Dia’ offering (buffet with lots of daily changing dishes including tofu, mock meat and veggies). They also have a menu where you can order a la carte.

Tam Quang Minh
33 Ly Thai to Street
Hoi An

Opening Times: 7am – 7pm every day

vegan food at Tam Quang Minh in Hoi An

An Lac

Local vegan restaurant recommended to us by our Vietnamese friend who says it’s her favourite vegan ‘com ga’ (vegan chicken rice) in town. It’s only served on the 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar but it’s wonderful. There’s a menu full of other local Vietnamese food if you are visiting at other times (the soups are particularly good). Highly recommended by us.

An Lac
108 Thai Phien Street
Hoi An

Opening Times: 6am – 8pm every day

com ga chay vegan chicken and rice in Hoi An at An Lac

Quan Chay Nhat Da

Our first visit here was great with huge portions and delicious food. Our second visit wasn’t quite as good as everything was a bit oily and felt full of MSG. If you go, the tomato tofu is the best dish, avoid the ‘chicken rice’ as there are much better places in town to get it.

Quan Chay Nhat Da
98 Phan Châu Trinh
Hoi An

Opening Times: 6am – 9.15pm every day

vegan tomato tofu dish at Quan Chat Nhat Da

Vegan Dessert Stall

An abundance of sticky sweet fired and glutinous rice sweet treats, all vegan and mostly delicious. The best are the donuts filled with sweet yellow beans and with icing sugar on the outside, the mango cake (no mango just peanuts and sugar inside) and the steamed, sweet crumpet like  cakes.

Vegan Dessert Stall
Tran Phu Street
(opposite Central Market)
Hoi An

vegan donuts in Hoi An

Grilled banana and sticky rice stall

Vegan street food at it’s best with a nice dog who’s sometimes at the stall too. Sticky rice wrapped around a banana, wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled on coals before being chopped up and covered in coconut custards and sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Once eaten, seriously addicted.

Grilled banana and sticky rice stall
Junction of che lan viên and luu trong lu
Hoi An

grilled bananas and sticky rice in Hoi An

Karma Waters

This long standing, all vegan restaurant has a mix of western and Vietnamese dishes, it’s a bit hit and miss depending on what you order but they do the most amazing breaded ‘chicken’ on lemongrass skewers, a great vegan burger (you can order 5 of the patties as a separate dish) and some kick ass ginger tea. It’s a little pricey which is a downside and portions can be a little on the small side but still well worth a visit.

Karma Waters
213 Nguyễn Duy Hiệu
Hoi An

Opening Times: 10am – 8.30pm every day

Karma Waters in Hoi An

Annen

MSG free, homemade and some of the cleanest tasting food in Hoi An. This is food that makes you feel really good when you eat it. They also make their own soya milk with no sugar (a rare find in Hoi An). Order the tomato tofu and the eggplant (by which we mean aubergine) claypot, try the soups and local specialities and get plenty of free smiles from two of the loveliest people in Hoi An who run it.

Annen
320 Nguyễn Duy Hiệu
Hoi An

Opening Times: 9am – 9pm every day

vegan noodles at Annen in Hoi An

Namaste

When you fancy a bit of Indian food this is the place to go. We tried the other Indian (called Ganesh to name and shame) who claim to be friendly to vegans in their menu, but it turns out that they were, how shall we say, not friendly to vegans (us) after all. So we headed to Namaste where the service was friendly, it was quieter so we didn’t have to wait and the food was delicious. The vegan options we tried were tasty with the tarka dahl and the pindichana (chickpeas) being our Vegan Food Quest favourites, but the other dishes we tried were good too.

Namaste
441 Cửa Đại
Hoi An

Opening Times: 11.30am – 10.30pm every day

vegan Indian food at Namaste in Hoi An

Fusion Cafe

This is a nice upmarket cafe with great juices (the best we had in town) and a lovely vegan pumpkin soup with spinach tempura. Staff are friendly and speak great English so it’s easy to find out what is vegan from the menu.

Fusion Cafe
35 Nguyen Phuc Chu
Hoi An

Opening Times: 9.30am – 10pm every day

vegan pumpkin soup at Fusion Cafe in Hoi An

Banh Mi Phuong

Contender for the best vegan Banh Mi in Vietnam (it was a close call but they got pipped to the post by another, read about the winners here) if you’re in Hoi An, you have to eat here. They were made famous by Anthony Bourdain proclaiming that it was the best sandwich in the world and we’re happy they do a vegan version which seems to win the hearts of all who try it.

Banh Mi Phuong
2B Phan Chau Trinh
Hoi An

Opening Times: 6.30am – 9.30pm every day

vegan banh mi in Hoi An

Visit Central Market and eat Banh Xeo

Do battle with the many fruit sellers whilst trying to get a fair price for a fruity snack or head inside and find yourself something tasty from one of the vendors inside the food court area. If you take the entrance where the old well is behind you (on Tran Phu street) you can find a tasty banh xeo stall on your right hand side at the bottom. Just ask for ‘an chay’ and enjoy.

Central Market
Tran Quy Cap and Tran Phu streets
Hoi An

Central market in Hoi An

Drink vegan coffee

There are lots of great places to drink coffee in town where people roast their own beans (not in butter!) Read our post Is Vietnamese Coffee Vegan?!?  to make sure you don’t accidentally get beans roasted in something non-vegan. Two of our favourite places that have vegan coffee are Cafe 11, who also have soya milk (17 Nguyen Phuc Chu) and The Espresso Station (28/2 Trần Hưng Đạo) up a small alley way, very chilled and they serve awesome coffee.

Coffee Art Roastery in Hoi An

Vegan Friendly Luxury Resorts in Hoi An and Danang

Check out these ‘tried and tested’ vegan friendly luxury hotels and resorts in Hoi An and nearby Danang 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.

Vegan Food Quest in Vietnam

2019-05-28T10:32:35+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Paul Lewis April 12, 2019 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Loving the guides… these will be so helpful when we visit Vietnam

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