Vietnam, famous for its rice fields, war history, pho and chaotic traffic. A country worth visiting and definitely doable as a vegan. In this post I will try to give some tips and basic knowledge about Vietnam.
My pre-made image of Vietnam was one of people eating snakes and all other sorts of animals out on the street. But I found it doable to cope with the Vietnamese eating habits. They offered and consumed lots of meat but nothing new compared to Thailand or Laos. The more uncommon frogs and pigeon could be found in Hanoi and sometimes were a speciality of the restaurant. But besides all of this, tofu is a much bigger thing in Vietnam than Laos or Thailand, so you can get your fix if you want to! Tofu and noodle dishes on the street were around 40.000 and 60.000 Dong ($2-3).
ORDERING (VEGAN) LIKE A VIETNAMESE
Eat vegetarian = “Ăn chay” (sounds like chai). Seeing this vegetarian signage could be quite rare. Lucky us that most restaurants offer quite some vegan dishes by default. If you see ‘Com cháy’, with the accent on the A, it says burned rice.
If you find yourself in the need to explain your diet, you can use “I don’t eat..” which is “Toi khong an” in Vietnamese – then add any of the following words:
Bo – butter
Sua – milk
Trung – eggs
Pho mai – cheese
Nuoc mam – fish sauce
The less necessary but possibly handy;
Dâu = Tofu (Dâu Phu being Fried tofu)
Rau = Vegetables
Nâm = Mushrooms
Com = Rice (Com chien = fried rice)
Mì = Fried noodles
Pho = Noodle soup
Miên = Rice noodle soup
Duòng = Sugar, for those trying to lessen their intake
Just grab a menu with translations and take your time to study it. Sometimes the words change a bit because of grammar rules.
In Vietnam you will use ‘Dong’ to pay. Since exchange rates differ over time please check the current rate. While I was there we got around €1 = 24.000 Dong. $1 = 21.300D.
Next to HappyCow and other sources you can look at this website for veg-&vegan places to eat: www.vietnamanchay.com
Read more about Vietnam, how to speak vegan Vietnamese and what delicious food to eat on VeganFoodQuest from Caryl&Paul.