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Where To Find The Best Vegetarian Food In Hanoi, Vietnam

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.

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.

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.

How To Visit The North Cape In Norway

Europe’s northern most point and wild weather swings might not be your first thought for a summer vacation but if seeing wild elk, whale watching, and stunning natural views sound like your kind of trip, Norway’s North Cape has something for you. The land of the midnight sun, Hege Jacobsen recently joined an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast on how to plan your trip to North Cape.

Getting There

Although it’s a bit remote, getting to the North Cape is pretty straightforward once you get to Norway. You’ll want to get to Alta (the one in Norway, not Alta in Utah which is also great for hiking by the way) and from there you can either take a bus or rent a car. A drive from Alta to North Cape takes roughly 3-4 hours but keep in mind the weather can change rapidly and potentially slow you down.

What To Do

The North Cape is where you want to be outdoors but to best enjoy it, make sure you dress appropriately. Summers are generally chilly while some days climate change shines and it can get quite warm. Take a look at any given 7 day forecast and you’ll be taken on a roller coaster of icons with plenty of precipitation possible on any given day.

North Cape Norway Costs

Norway is expensive there’s no other way to put it. There are ways though you can travel to North Cape on a budget as Hege explains in the episode. For a unique experience up in the Arctic circle with plenty of hopping off points around Norway, North Cape might just be the perfect next destination for you with family or as part of a solo trip.


Asking Indians What They Really Think About Pakistan

A few years I ago I visited Pakistan and asked locals if they could say one nice thing about India. After that video was posted many said that trying the same thing in India would go sideways and nobody would have anything nice to say.

Well, I went back to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) which is known for its active student political base during contentious elections. With feelings of nationalism, pride, and general rhetoric in the air, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

You can watch the video above to see the slow start but once people opened up, I was surprised at what Indians had to say about their neighbor, Pakistan.

Where To Stay In Paro, Bhutan

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan isn’t the easiest to visit but if you’re flying in it will be through Paro. Home to the country’s only airport, Paro is the gateway into Bhutan. A historic city of just over 11,000 people it’s worth more that a stopover and one of the most unique places to stay is fit for royalty.

Hotel Olathang

Literally made for a king, Hotel Olathang was originally created for the guests of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s coronation in 1974, also making it Bhutan’s oldest hotel. Reservations aren’t possible online, you’ll have to call to make a reservation so don’t rely on last minute planning. Although Bhutan doesn’t get many tourists, around certain times of the year there are events (like March’s Paro Festival) and bookings can fill up fast.

paro bhutan

Royal Rooms With Variety

Because of its original purpose as royal accommodation, Hotel Olathang’s rooms are separate buildings on a large mountain property overlooking Paro. Many of the hotels in Paro are higher up but only a short 10 minute cab ride into town, with each way costing roughly $3-4 USD.

The design of each room is different with several options for larger groups and the newer tent rooms, ideal for summer stays. Walking is a must at Hotel Olathang as the stone walkways to the rooms may not accommodate wheelchair access. Reception is a separate building a few minutes walk from the furthest room and that’s where you’ll find the hotel’s restaurant as well.

paro bhutan

Bed And Breakfast

Hotel Olathang does offer a breakfast that’s not included with all of the rooms but you’re not missing much if you don’t pay for it. The breakfast is a mix of eggs, beans, tea, and bread plus or minus some miscellaneous additions. Where you’re short on time for an early morning to a place like Tiger’s Nest, it’s better than no food at all. Same goes for the dinner at their restaurant but if you have the time, you’ll certainly get a better meal in town. You can also order to the Hotel Olathang which reception will happily help you with.

Best Of Bhutan

Hotel Olathang has incredibly helpful staff that can arrange drivers, pickups, and provide you with a lot of local tourism expertise. Located in the mountains just outside of town gives you incredible views, a peaceful environment, and fresh air. Hotel Olathang is close enough to town where you don’t feel isolated and the wifi is surprisingly fast. Finally, when it comes to the prices the rates at Hotel Olathang are quite reasonable ($50-70 a night) when compared to other accommodation in Paro.

How Trove Slim Wallets Are Made

Most slim wallets manufacturers are large scale operations pumping out metal backed wallets for a premium price. On the other hand, Trove is an outlier, making fabric based slim wallets by hand and at competitive prices. I recently had the opportunity to visit the Trove factory in Leistershire, England and watch their wallet making process. Each wallet can be custom-designed before ordering and takes around 15 minutes to make before it is shipped out worldwide.

You can watch the entire process in the video tour here.

The Worst Websites To Book Flights With

There are a lot of reasons to not use any of these sites but terrible customer service, undelivered bookings, and general hassle are some of the main offenses.

1. eDreams


Let’s start with the first offender, eDreams, a site that keeps their airfare listings low by basically not having a customer service department and by sneaking in fees right after you book. For starters, eDreams shows you the absolute lowest price you’ll definitely not be paying when searching. A lot of aggregators do this but eDreams is a particularly bad offender where your final fare can be 30-50% more than what you’re first shown.

Another shady practice many have come across with eDreams is they show you fares with their “Prime” membership discounts included.

So, for example for a flight from New York to London is might show a $535 round trip. Notice the greyed out fine print in the video above though and it’s actually $608. But eDreams automatically includes a free 30 day trial of prime when you book, which isn’t very clear – because Prime is $59 a year – so many people are unwittingly charged a month later for a service they didn’t explicitly sign up for.

You have to click to “Show other fares” to see the true price.

2. SmartFares


The trick SmartFares likes to do is show you low prices for a fare, then when you do book, will send you their confirmation code. That’s not confirmation by the airlines – a few hours, up to a day passes, then they say your flight wasn’t booked because the airline raised their price. They’ll then (hopefully) send an email asking if you want to book at the new, higher rate. If you try to cancel, they’ll charge you a fee to do so.

There are in fact so many issues with Smartfares that they’ve included an entire section in their terms about charge backs and credit card disputes. Basically saying you agree to not dispute any of their fees with your credit card and they you’ll be charged a $250 charge back fee if you attempt to dispute.

You know things are bad when there’s several sections in the terms on how you can not get a refund for botched bookings. My advice, avoid using SmartFares when possible.

3. GoToGate


GoToGate is so bad, in my testing, I wasn’t able to book a single flight. All were dropped, requests for refunds ignored, and there are fees for handling refunds. And believe me when I say, Gotogate will fight you and your credit card tooth and nail for that refund or charge dispute. They’re really nasty to work with so avoid them. Seriously, you can find a flight elsewhere.

There Is Hope

All services and booking sites not to mention airlines, screw up. They make mistakes are incompetent, some percentage of the time. With enough customers, even a small percentage adds up. But with eDreams, SmartFares, and GoToGate, that percentage is very high. To stay in business they make refunds difficult, charge fees wherever they can – and just enough people have a smooth experience that sites like Kayak still work with them.

Keep that in mind next time you’re looking for a flight and see an unusually low price through an aggregator. It’s probably too good to be true and if it’s one of those 3 sites I’ve mentioned, not worth the trouble.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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