Did you read a lot about the amazing food Vietnam offers, but after you come here you see a lot of meat everywhere? Do you wonder whether it’s heaven only for non-vegetarians? Well, part of it is true, but not completely. You can find any kind of meat in Vietnam. But Vietnam also offers a fair amount of amazing vegetarian food. And this holds true even in remote Ha Giang.
This Guide for Vegetarians in the Ha Giang loop includes a list of delicious vegetarian dishes you’ll find along the Ha Giang loop. Hopefully, it’ll help you satisfy your green stomach fairly well!
“Chay” is the Vietnamese term for “vegetarian”. Its pronunciation is “chaa-e”. Using this term will often help you to send your message across about your vegetarian cravings.
1. Phở Chay
Remember that big bowl of noodles with broth you always saw in your favourite Japanese anime? … Well, phở is a similar dish. Actually, you might have tried it in a Vietnamese restaurant in your home town, as it’s probably THE most famous Vietnamese dish.
The phở chay is a light broth, filled with rice noodles and vegetables. In it you can find mushrooms, cauliflower, Asian greens, beansprouts, carrots, etc. Usually, you’ll get tofu as well. There’s also soy sauce, lime and some herb, like Vietnamese basil, mint or coriander. Of course, you can make it as spicy as you want by asking for some chilli.
2. Bánh mì chay
Well, French still do have some of their marks on the kind of food that we see in Vietnam today. The vegetarian version of bánh mì is a French style baguette sandwich filled with either tofu, cheese or fried eggs and veggies. You can even choose to have your bánh mì filled only with vegetable salad filling.
Vegetarian bánh mì is very inexpensive and always easy to find around the streets. Besides, all bánh mì sellers can perfectly adapt their sandwiches to make them “chay”, so this is a great option to eat easy, cheap, yummy street food.
3. Đậu sốt cà chua
This one is an authentic vegetarian Vietnamese dish which consists of yellow tofu pieces, some slices of tomato, onion and herbs. This colourful dish has subtle taste of tomatoes in good harmony with soft tofu and is generally served with steamed rice.
4. Gỏi cuốn chay
Vegetarian Vietnamese spring rolls consist of vegetables, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper or cold roll. They can be served either fresh at room temperature, or even cooled, or fried. A sweet sauce comes on its side, like a dip.
5. Xôi chay
This Vietnamese version of sticky rice is made by cooking rice and then slicing it into flat round shapes. Then the steamed rice is fried in hot oil pan until it turns yellow and crisp. The vegetarian version of xôi is generally served with items like chickpeas, coconut, sugar, mushrooms, pepper, red chilli and onion.
6. Rau muống xào tỏi
To prepare rau muống xào tỏi, you pick out fresh water spinach and fry it with garlic and some herbs. You’ll find this dish almost everywhere along the Ha Giang loop.
BONUS TRACK: Chè
Chè is a traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding. It’s definitely one of the most unique beverages you can try in the world! Varieties of chè are made with mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, jelly of different colors and coconut cream.