According to HappyCow, Hanoi has lots of (basic) vegan restaurants and even some chains but none, odd enough, near the touristic Old Quarters. We vegan tourists should start a campaign to get them there! ;) Look for ‘Loving Hut’, ‘Au Lac’ and “Com chay” if you go exploring the outer areas. Use the HappyCow-map if you like, see screenshot down below.
HOTPOT AND BBQ
Locals love to order a hotpot or BBQ and eat together. Mostly eating outside on the street surrounded by the traffic orchestra, sitting on tiny plastic stools. While most hotpots/bbq’s are offered with seafood or meat you can ask for a vegan one (The ones we got, didn’t have egg by default so you could try ‘vegetarian’). Although don’t be surprised if seafood or meat is still given on the side. The concept of vegetarianism is sometimes very unknown and likely to be misunderstood. Just ask for only tofu and vegetables and return the plate of meat if given. For the hotpot you could try to check if the broth is plant-based.
FRUIT AND MARKETS
I found fruit in Vietnam more expensive than in Thailand or Laos, but a big chance this was because of my total lack of bargaining skills. I personally think the latter!
We haven’t really looked into local markets in Hanoi since we lacked a kitchen to cook in and we were able to buy enough fresh fruit on the streets. But while looking for the Long Bien-bus station north of the Old Quarter, around 5.30am, we found a big market across the street. Apparently it is a pretty famous one but you’ll have to get up very early since it’s a night market. Read more about it on Travelfish. More Hanoi-markets are reviewed by Travelfish as well.
For restaurants I use the following categorization:
Vegan = fully vegan restaurant
Vegan friendly = vegetarian restaurant with vegan options
Veggie friendly = sells animals but has some vegan options
Zenith (vegan-friendly) – $$
The place was looking great with warm wooden pallets as the main element. Sweet features as free water and green tea refills. I really appreciate the concept and can only encourage the healthy vegan food they offer. The menu is looking fabulous and will let almost every vegan start mouthwatering. But, unfortunately the food was only mediocre at the time we were there.
We tried to order the Zenith Tasty Taster Plate which contains a variety of their dishes. We were ready to dive deep into all these flavors. Unfortunately they were out a couple of things so we couldn’t get it. So I tried explaining that a mix of less options would suffice as well, but unfortunately this didn’t work.
We were able to order the Falafel Pita with baba ganoush, beetroot and walnut tabbouleh with a tahini dressing. That sounds delicious but we thought it turned out a bit bland. Same goes for the Pumpkin and chia seed burger with pineapple slices and pine nut and tamarind sauce. But maybe our hopes and expectations were too high, so do check this place out and let me know if you liked it.
If you stay in Hanoi for a longer period and do yoga, Zenith also offers yoga classes so look for the schedule.
HappyCow: Zenith Yoga Cafe
?? (Veggie friendly) – $
Just around the corner where we stayed at (the cheap Green Street hotel), we found a cool place to eat. A bit fancier than some, but similar prices. We had a delicious and fulfilling vegan lunch. Man, Vietnam made me fall in love with tofu in tomato sauce! This place also sells meat but has plenty of vegan dishes. Which are mostly a lot cheaper then meat-dishes, how it should be! :) Prices were around 45.000 to 60.000 Dong ($2-4). I forgot to write down the name of this place so I tagged it on the map below, hopefully you’ll find it. Look for bamboo interior. It’s not Cari Truong though, we haven’t checked this one out.
I didn’t go on a real quest to find all veggie-restaurants since I didn’t have too long and due to TET (my Tet-experience), some were closed for a while. Hanoi has obviously more restaurants than I review, so go and catch them all! But big chance you’ll find a vegan meal anywhere in Hanoi. There is plenty of tofu so if your not avoiding soy then get your tofu-fix in this lively and lovely city.