After eating my way through Vietnam, I can now confirm I am 50% girl 50% Bahn Mi.
When is the best time to go travelling around Asia? During the start of a world wide pandemic. After corona popped its head up, my travel plans turned into a bit of a shit show. Asia – and subsequently the rest of the world – went into meltdown, meaning that following my original itinerary was no longer an option. However, there is a silver lining in every covid-19 outbreak and for me that was getting stuck in Vietnam for much longer than I had planned.
In the 6 weeks (on and off) I spent in Hanoi, it became a home away from home; so now, I feel I am now somewhat qualified for sharing my knowledge on the best spots to eat decent veggie scran. I have split this food guide into three of the main districts where I spent my time: Hoan Kiem (The old quarter), Tay Ho and Bah Dinh.
- Om Hanoi Yoga and Cafe – 62 Lý Thường Kiệt, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội – Be warned this first place is not cheap ( about 100K vnd for a salad) and it most certainly isn’t Vietnamese. This place is clearly targeted at cashed up vegan hippies who want some food with their good vibes (insert peace symbol here) yoga classes. However, I am still including this on my list as this place definitely provided me with some serious nourishment when I needed it the most. I would highly recommend one of their salads and mint lemonade. Perfect after a heavy weekend to trick your body into thinking you are going to look after it again.
- Vegan Bahn Mi – 66B Tran Hung Dao, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội- I mean, it does what it says on the tin. This adorable little establishment offers the best vegan bahn mi I had in Vietnam – and for only 20-23K vnd, go ahead and grab 2 or 3 or 4 because you will not regret it.
- Tam An Lac– 70 Lý Thường Kiệt, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội- Run by a Buddhist family, this vegan restaurant is super welcoming and homely. As you are in Hanoi, give their vegan Bun cha (35K vnd) a go. I don’t know how they do it, but it tastes unreal. You are definitely required to eat some Bun cha whilst you are in Hanoi even if you are veggie. They also run a donation based buffet the 1st, 14th, 15th and 30th day of the Lunar months. This place is not one to be missed.
- Noodle and Roll– 39C Ly Quoc Su, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội – This is the place to take your mates who refuse to go to a veggie restaurant. With both an extensive carnivore and vegetarian-friendly menu, everyone is happy, and the quality of the food speaks for itself. The vegetarian menu is also mostly vegan. A veggie noodle dish will usually cost you around 50K vnd.
- Loading T – 8 Chân Cầm, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội – This was by far the best egg coffee I tried in Hanoi, and as a bonus, this cafe is set in the dreamiest run down French Mansion in the old quarter.
Being the ex-pat haven that it is, almost all of the suggestions on this next list are western. No judgement. Sometimes, you cannot physically eat any more noodles and that is okay. However, there is still plenty of great Vietnamese food in Tay Ho, but I have just chosen to focus on some of the alternatives here.
- Hey Pelo (Original French Tacos) – Location 1: 81B Xuân Diệu and Location 2: 164 Tu Hoa, Tây Hồ. This will most likely be the first restaurant any mate from Tay Ho will ask if you have tried. Think of what would happen if a burrito had a baby with a kebab, and this is what you’ll get at Hey Pelo. Their veggie option is falafel. It provides incredible greasy drunk or hangover food and you can even pick your sauces to go inside the wrap (give the algerian and frappaz a try). Be warned though, I doubt you will want anything bigger than a small (85K vnd) as these “French Tacos” are packing.
- Taco Non La – Location 1: 32 Đường Tô Ngọc Vân, Quảng An and Location 2: 25A Xuân Diệu, Quận, Tây Hồ. This build your own style of tex-mex will be more up your street if you are looking for an actual burrito. These are still big boys though, so once again I would opt for the smallest size.
- La Studio – 44 Ngõ 31 – Xuân Diệu, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội – This place just screams brunch vibes on a Sunday morning. I can’t even take the piss though, because the food is just too good. Everything here is vegan and the smokey tempeh sandwhich on the sesame bagel is something else. Bonus tip: don’t skip on trying one of their baked goods.
- Kiez Vegan Cafe & Bistro – Số 2 Ngõ 31 – Xuân Diệu, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội – Home of the vegan philly cheese steak (75K vnd) and the vegan doner kebab (79K vnd).
- Crust – Số 3 Ngõ 12 – Đặng Thai Mai, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội – Crust is your mate who you can always rely on to be down for a good time and to stay out late. Being one of the cheaper pizza options in the area and one that is open till 3am it had to get a mention. It is 159K vnd for a large margherita pizza and they even have the option for vegan cheese.
- Pizza Belga – 225 Âu Cơ, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội – If you are feeling a bit more boujee, give Pizza Belga a go. Wood-fired pizza with super fresh-tasting tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella. Pizza’s range from 150K vnd to 320K vnd. Some even say it’s the best pizza in Hanoi…
- Loving Hut – 147b Âu Cơ, Tứ Liên, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội – This is the only Vietnamese restaurant that has made it onto the list. The Bun Bo Hue (35K vnd) is top on my list of vegan alternatives they offer here. This place is also great for stocking up on vegan essentials like nutritional yeast and they even sell impossible burgers.
- Com Chay Ha Thanh – 116 Ngo 166 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh – If you like fake meat, this place is for you. In the courtyard, you can find them seasoning and spicing their “sausage” and, their “pork ribs” even come with coconut bones. I know realistic fake meat is not for every veggie but for me… that bangs.
- Pho Tu Bi Vegan Restaurant – 30A Ngo Truc Lac, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh – This is your stop in Truc Bach for vegan phở bo (Pho Tu Bi- 25K). Friendly staff and tasty food.
As well as eating at these restaurants, I also made Bahn mi trung a staple food group whilst travelling in Vietnam. Bahn mi trung (hold the pate) is essentially just a Bahn mi with an egg omelette filling. I always try to eat some form of street food whilst travelling, so these would just be from any cart I found on the side of the road. As well as this, I often ate at Bia Hois with no issues. “Dau hu sot ca” (Tofu in tomato sauce) and “rau muống xào tỏi” (garlicky stir fried morning glory) were my usual picks. But disclaimer: if you are particularly fussy about cross-contamination…I wouldn’t bother. It is not high on these places list of priorities, so I would stick to the restaurant options above or give Happycow.net a gander.