Vegan Guide to Saigon

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Published October 2015

If you’re heading to Vietnam then it’s likely that you’ll end up in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City as it’s also called) which is great if you’re a vegan because there’s some awesome vegan eating to do. It’s easy to be vegan in Saigon because the number of ‘Quan Chay’ (vegetarian restaurants) which serve either all vegan food, or a large selection of vegan food. There is generally a good level of English spoken so language isn’t a huge barrier either (but do check out our Vegan Guide to Vietnam for a brief vegan language guide to be extra prepared). We hope you enjoy our Vegan Guide to Saigon with our favourite places to eat vegan food in Saigon.

Ngoc Tho

Address: 175/9 Pha Ngu Lao Street, District 1
Opening Time: 8am-10.30pm every day

We love this place. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with a huge menu of mock meat Vietnamese dishes and (weirdly) some Mexican food too (not tried by us because we’re waiting until we go to a country a little more famed for producing good Mexican food before we delve in). The noodle soups are great but it’s the fake stuff here that really blows our mind. Try their roast pork that had different textures in layers and tastes as real as either of us can remember but it’s just made from plants. The mock chicken dishes don’t taste like chicken as such but they do taste good and offer an opportunity to eat something with a different texture (normally a bit chewy and something you can get your teeth into). There’s wifi, beer and ladies trying to sell you tissues, a fan, some nail clippers or chewing gum at any opportunity which can be a good or bad thing depending on what you need during your meal.

mock roast pork with rolled ‘sheets’ of rice noodle at Ngoc Tho in Saigon
incredible mock meat in Saigon
Mock chicken with cashews and vegetables

Sen Quan Chay

Address: 171 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, District 1
Opening Times: 7am-2pm and 4pm-10pm every day

Just around the corner from Ngoc Tho, Sen is a little bit more upmarket and has a purely vegan Vietnamese menu. It’s much quieter (no ladies selling tissues), has a room where you sit on the floor on low tales and a table and chairs section upstairs. Downstairs there is a cabinet with foodstuff on sale including vegan stock, noodles, sauces and the intriguingly labelled ‘meat fluff’. The portions were small (and therefore a bit pricey for this kind of restaurant) but they have the not-to-be-missed-must-try-if-you’re-in-Saigon vegan egg on the menu, it’s worth a visit just to marvel at this vegan egg which actually tastes way better than an animal egg and has great novelty factor. No beer here and be careful for hidden extras that you will be charged for like the wet tissue they will add to your bill after leaving it on the table. We laughed when we saw ’tissue’ on the menu with all the mock meat, thinking it was a bad menu description for something, only to find that it did actually mean ‘serviette’ and was chargeable. Weird.

Vegan egg braised in a soy gravy with mock belly pork
vegan egg at Sen in Saigon

Bong Sung

Address: 86 Nguyen Du, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Opening Times: 7.30am-10pm every day

If you want a nice night out in a lovely restaurant, with exceptionally friendly service and tasty healthy Vietnamese food, then head to Bong Sung. The pate with baguette is full of flavour and has a great texture, it’s one of our favourite dishes there. Other things to sample include the ‘Mushrooms in Tamarind’ and the ‘Vegetable Curry’ (but be sure to ask for it to be made vegan as this dish normally has milk in it). The ‘Stuffed Tofu’ is also great. It’s become our other ‘go to’ place in Saigon when we want something that’s more of an occasion that a quick mock meat meal somewhere.

The staff speak excellent English and were really helpful recommending dishes and checking out ingredients. It’s worth noting that there is a ‘noodle’ dish on the menu that isn’t noodles at all, but a plate of mock chicken (freshly made). It split opinion here at the Vegan Food Quest with one of us not being too keen on it because it was a bit doughy and the other loving it because well, it was a bit doughy. They have beer here (only Heineken and you have to ask for it) and excellent soft drinks including a wonderful sweet and salted lemon juice (highly recommended).

Delicious mushrom pate at Bong Sung in Saigon
Tasty stuffed tofu in Saigon at Bong Sung
vegan mushrooms in a tamarind sauce in Saigon

Hum

Address: 32 Vo Van Tan, District 3
Opening Times: 10am-10pm every day

We’re really only including this restaurant because it’s the place that everyone suggests you go and every says is the best restaurant for vegetarians in town. It isn’t. In fact it’s awful (or at least it was on our visit). Overpriced under flavoured food that’s as stingy on ingredients as it is on flavour. We had a curry that was served with cold noodles which you’re supposed to add to the soup. Doing this makes an already not hot enough bland curry into a decidedly lukewarm bland curry.

“Are the noodles supposed to be cold?” we ask our waitress, “Oh yes” she says with a smile, followed by “Are you enjoying your food?” to which we reply “Not really as it’s cold and doesn’t taste of anything”. “OK that’s great” she says with a smile and walks off. That kind of sums up the service at Hum for us and we leave with a feeling that they have been trading on their reputation as opposed to producing really good vegan and vegetarian food.

Cold noodles and bland curry at Hum in Saigon
Average pineapple fried rice and a small portion too at Hum in Saigon

Vegan Fine Dining in Saigon

Li Bai Saigon

Address: Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, District 1
Opening Times: 11am-2.30pm and 6.30pm-10pm every day

We had a meal at Li Bai when we were staying at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers and were really impressed with the Chinese food there, they have a regular vegetarian menu with a lot of vegan dishes and there’s a huge choice of tofu, mock meat or just vegetable dishes to choose from. Here is the full review of our meal at Li Bai Saigon, but one of our favourite dishes was the ‘sweet and sour vegetarian chicken’ made with braised tofu skin and wrapped around a crunchy lotus root before being deep fried and covered in a sticky sweet and sour sauce.

vegan lotus root salad at Li Bai in Saigon
Supremely tasty deep fried bean curd skin with sweet & sour sauce at Li Bai

R&J Italian Lounge & Restaurant

Address: The Reverie Saigon, 22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, District 1
Opening Times: 5pm-12am every day

For a world class, authentic Italian meal (and maybe the best bread you’ve ever tasted) it’s well worth visiting R&J, the Italian restaurant from über luxury hotel The Reverie. There are already some vegan items on the regular menu but for best results, call ahead and tell them you are vegan so they can create you a few things to eat. Expect glitz, glamour and a bit of theatre with your food (and expect to be amazed). We loved everything we ate there but the Minestrone and the Smoked Eggplant Spaghetti were particular stand out dishes for us. Here is our review of R&J but be prepared for a lot of gushing about how good the food is.

delicous vegan bread at R&J in Saigon
delicious vegan Italian fine dining at The Reverie Saigon

Bistro Song Vie

Address: Villa Song, 197/2 Nguyen Van Huong Street, District 2
Opening Times: 6pm-10m for dinner every day

All the way out in District 2 but well worth a visit, is the restaurant attached to the lovely riverside retreat Villa Song. We were staying at Villa Song and were so impressed with the chef and his team that we decided to have dinner there too… it totally exceeded our expectations and we were blown away with a few of the dishes. Delicious soups, homemade fresh gnocchi and a vegetable platter that was like eating art.

vegan Vietnamese Pho at Villa Song for breakfast
A symphony of plant-based ingredients on our plate for our final vegan meal at Villa Song

Vegan Friendly Luxury Hotels in Saigon

Check out these ‘tried and tested’ vegan friendly luxury hotels and resorts in Saigon 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

2019-05-28T10:26:10+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Diana Marie Pablo May 28, 2019 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this. Being Vegan is really such a struggle but having people like you who gives these kinds of yips and guidance makes me appreciate my decision a lot more. Thank you again.

    • Vegan Food Quest May 29, 2019 at 1:35 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment Diana! It is very nice to receive messages or comments from our readers that have found our guides and reviews helpful. Enjoy your vegan travel adventure wherever you are heading next…

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