Vietnam is a paradise of food and its capital city, Hanoi, is famous for a number of dishes and drinks. Although meat is an important part of Vietnamese cuisine for various cultural reasons finding vegetarian and vegan local foods isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Many dishes are vegetarian in their traditional form while some require substitution.

You can take a tour of Hanoi’s vegetarian food in the video above or read on.

The Word To Know

For those of you looking to order food in Hanoi or elsewhere in Vietnam, the word to know is “chay.” Pronounced like the word tea (you can hear it in the video here) this means without meat. By saying “chay” at the end of your order (for example bahn mi chay) is asking for a vegetarian version of the famous Vietnamese sandwich. Anytime you see the word chay on a menu it’s a strong indication that the dish is meatless (though not necessarily vegan).

hanoi vegetarian food vietnam

Vegetarian Food Spots To Try – Old Quarter

  • Xôi xéo – Sticky rice and corn with mung bean. It’s not for everyone, some may find it bland, but ended up being one of my favorite foods in Hanoi. Play around with different toppings, like eggs, get a picked cucumber salad, and cold beer.
  • Bánh mỳ chay – Vietnamese sandwich with egg omelette, green papaya, cucumber, carrots, coriander, chilly, and mushrooms sauce. Long lines throughout the day but worth the wait.
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A Taste Of Sweets

  • Cốm and Côm xào – The former is sticky green rice with lotus seeds and coconut. It’s like a little ball of sweetness something I can describe as a coconut gummy bear flavor. Served underneath is green rice stir fry with coconut and coconut dipping sauce.
  • Che chuoi nuong – Grilled banana inside sticky rice with coconut milk, fresh coconut, peanut, and tapioca. There are several versions of this warm winter soup served year round.
  • Che khuc bach – Sugar water cold soup cooked with jasmine flower, condensed milk, chocolate, green tea jelly , and almonds can be found at the same spot as che chuoi nuong.
  • Coconut ice cream – Fresh coconut water, condensed milk with coconut cream. Served on the street, perfect for the hottest days.

vietnamese sweet soups

Classic Hanoi Dishes

  • Bánh xèo chay – Crispy pancake made of wheat, turmeric, coconut milk , green onions, mung bean filled with bean sprouts, eggs, and tofu. One of those foods perfect before or after a night.
  • Banh cuôn chay – Rice roll with shallots and soy dipping sauce with chilly and lime. One of the most unique flavors and consistencies of food I’ve tried, one of my favorites in Hanoi.
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Best Coffee I’ve Had

Egg coffee is a uniquely Hanoi beverage. Strong Robusta coffee with cream and egg yolk, C.O.C. serves the best coffee I’ve had anywhere. The ambiance is helped by its hiding spot you get to through some alleyways and narrow stairs (

Like many other places such as Turkey where you wouldn’t expect to find vegetarian food Vietnam’s broad use of fresh ingredients as a base makes omitting meat in common dishes possible. Remember to make sure the sauces aren’t meat or fish based if you’re a strict vegetarian and enjoy eating in one of the best places to travel.