Vegan in Ho Chi Minh City
Our Vegan Food Quest is now in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, which is lucky because there are lots of vegetarian and vegan restaurants here…
…this has meant that we’ve eaten really well without trying too hard and can report back that on the whole we quite like the food here!
We’ve officially been in Vietnam for 3 days (although the first day doesn’t really count because we got here so late) but even in this super short bit of time we’ve already developed a healthy addiction to ‘pho’.
For those of you who don’t know what pho is, it’s a noodle soup that is eaten everywhere in Vietnam. Being the hapless tourists that we are, we were embarrassingly pronouncing it ‘faux’ but we’ve finally got with the programme and realised its actually pronnounced more like ‘fur’ or fer’ only with less ‘r’ at the end.
Either way, finding and eating a vegan version of this tasty noodle soup was high up on our ‘to do’ list and we found it in ‘Ngoc Tho Restaurant’ at 175 Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1.
Our daily pho fix
If you’ve never eaten vegan pho before, its a thin soup with wide rice noodles thats packed full of fresh herbs like mint, thai basil, corriander and lots of chili. It has little chunks of tofu and various vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, onions, beansprouts that float around in the yummy broth.
Be warned though, it’s normally a very meaty soup and so most places aren’t selling an animal-free version.
We also realised that there are regional varieties of our new found best soup friend, with ‘Hue Pho’ (from Hue in the north), being sweeter, more tomato based and having chunks of pineapple in it, the noodles were different too, more akin to udon noodles or spaghetti.
We loved this variety too
Vegan Pho happiness
As Ho Chi Minh City is a haven for vegans we also managed to get our hands on another Vietnamese staple, Banh Mi, which is basicallly a filled baguette. Again, normally not vegan when you see them being sold all over the streets of the city from small carts or in little restaurants, we set off to find a place that did a vegan version.
We walked for miles in the heat and the sun (such is our devotion to finding vegan food) and finally ordered our Ban Mi from a little place called ‘Banh Mi Bistro’ at 76 Vo Thi Sau Street in District 1.
What we received was a baguette, filled with salad and a range of mock meats and a couple of bottles of ketchup and chilli sauce.
So basically a mock meat sandwich and not a very exciting one at that, is this really what all the fuss is about, surely it can’t be??
Is this what we’d been waiting for?
It filled a spot but we were expecting something more exciting…
It seems we need to do some more vegan research to see what all the Banh Mi fuss is about…
Mock meat seems to be staple vegan option in veggie and vegan restaurants here, which not only feed hungry travelling vegans like us but also serve the population of Vietnamese Buddhists. Some of it looks really lifelike (we had to check that it definitely was vegan at first) and if you’re a lover of the fake stuff, you’ll have a great time in Vietnam!
Pretty tasty mock chicken dish
Saigon is a great place to wander about, lovely parks, busy markets and full of really friendly people. Even better, there seem to be a lot of places where those of us with a sweet tooth can get a vegan sorbet to cool off from the craziness and heat of the city. We indulged for Vegan Food Quest Meets Vegan MoFo research purposes of course…
Black tea and lemon sorbet anyone?
It was also Vietnamese Independence Day when we were visiting and we got to watch a brilliant dance performance which we think was depicting the history of Vietnam.
So great vegan eating and a free concert in the evening, you can see why we liked Vietnam straight away!
We loved the show even though we didn’t really know what was happening.
Tomorrow we’re getting a 17 hour train to Hoi An, pop back to read how it went and what vegan goodies we could get our hands on…