Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine with this collection of 21 mouthwatering vegetarian Vietnamese dishes.
This is a special guest contribution from Adriana Neptuna from Wanderlicious. Enjoy!
Vietnam is the ultimate foodie destination. I recently travelled to Vietnam for 1 month, and it’s a country with many incredible attractions; incredible landscapes, kind people, gorgeous weather but the thing that sticks with me the most is the food. I couldn’t help but book street food tours at every destination we went to, and I travelled from south to north. The food in the northern provinces of Vietnam around Ha Giang (closer to China) was very different from that of the southern provinces around Ho Chi Minh City. But one thing remained consistent; the mouthwatering food.
As a nutritionist, I particularly like Vietnamese food because of how fresh and fragrant everything is. Many of the main dishes are prepared with fresh salads, fragrant herbs, crunchy bean sprouts, and lots of tofu, meaning the food is not only delicious but is actually good for you. It also meant I didn’t feel guilty about splurging and buying multiple dishes every night for dinner. And the bill doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket
either, with many dishes costing between $ 2-5 USD. It’s also worth trying some of the many incredible fresh coconut smoothies or fresh fruits for breakfast.
21 Vegetarian-Friendly Vietnamese Dishes
1. Pho Chay
Traditional Vietnamese noodle soup made with vegetable broth, rice noodles, tofu, and an assortment of vegetables and herbs. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam. Obviously, everyone knows the popular Vietnamese Soup; it’s delicious, tasty, and one of my favourite things to eat every day! Locals eat this at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2. Xoi Chuoi
In short, banana sticky rice. A popular street food dessert consisting of sweet sticky rice infused with coconut milk, served with ripe bananas and a sprinkle of sesame seeds that give it a special crunch. This dish originates from various regions of Vietnam, commonly found throughout the country. I tried this on the street food tour in Ho Chi Minh City and it recently won international awards for tastiest dessert.
3. Banh Mi Chay
Banh Mi sandwiches are one of the most popular snacks or dishes in Vietnam. A vegetarian version of the popular Vietnamese sandwich, filled with tofu, pickled vegetables, and a variety of herbs. This dish originates from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, although it is also extremely popular in Hoi An too.
4. Bun Chay
A vegetarian version of Bun Cha, featuring grilled tofu or tempeh served with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a sweet and tangy sauce. This dish originates from Hanoi in Northern Vietnam. It is also often served with peanut sauce, meaning this turned out to be one of my favourite dishes in Vietnam!
5. Com Chay
Fragrant vegetarian broken rice topped with stir-fried tofu, pickled vegetables, and a side of vegetarian fish sauce. It’s fragrant, filling and refreshing. This dish originates from the provinces in Southern Vietnam.
6. Goi Cuon Chay
Refreshing rice paper rolls filled with tofu, vegetables, and herbs, accompanied by a peanut dipping sauce. The Peanut sauce you find in Vietnam is out of this world, something I personally can’t get enough of. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam.
7. Banh Xeo Chay
A vegetarian adaptation of Banh Xeo, a crispy pancake filled with tofu, mushrooms, and bean sprouts, and served with lettuce and herbs. It’s quite unusual but still very interesting; they call it a Vietnamese pizza, but very tasty. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam.
8. Cao Lau Chay
A vegetarian version of Cao Lau, featuring thick rice noodles, tofu or tofu substitutes, bean sprouts, and crispy rice crackers. This dish originates from Hoi An in Central Vietnam, my favourite city in Vietnam!
9. Mi Quang Chay
Vegetarian version of Mi Quang, featuring turmeric-infused noodles topped with tofu, herbs, peanuts, and a small amount of yummy vegetarian broth. This dish originates from Quang Nam Province in Central Vietnam.
10. Cha Gio Chay
Crispy vegetarian spring rolls filled with tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables, typically served with a dipping sauce. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam.
11. Canh Chua Chay
A vegetarian twist on Canh Chua, a tangy and savoury
Vietnamese sour soup made with tofu, pineapple, tomatoes, and aromatic herbs. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam.
12. Banh Cuon Chay
Delicate steamed rice rolls filled with seasoned tofu and vegetables, served with a vegetarian dipping sauce. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam.
13. Chao Tom
Grilled tofu or vegetable paste skewers wrapped in rice paper, served with fresh herbs and a sweet and savoury sauce. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam.
14. Banh Bot Loc Chay
Clear tapioca dumplings filled with tofu and vegetables, often enjoyed with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. This dish originates from Central Vietnam, although it is not clear if it is from Hoi An, Da Nang or Hue; it’s likely that they are derivatives of each other.
15. Goi Du Du
Green papaya salad with tofu, herbs, and peanuts, dressed with a tangy vegetarian fish sauce-based dressing. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam and is one of my favourites.
16. Xoi Chay
Sticky rice topped with marinated tofu, fried shallots, and served with a side of pickles. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam.
17. Hu Tieu Chay
A vegetarian version of Hu Tieu, a versatile noodle soup dish that can be served with tofu, mushrooms, or mixed vegetables. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam.
18. Banh Tom Chay
Crispy vegetarian shrimp and sweet potato fritters served with a side of dipping sauce and fresh vegetables. This dish originates from Central Vietnam.
19. Mi Xao Chay
Stir-fried noodles with tofu or plant-based proteins, mixed
vegetables, and a delicious vegetarian sauce. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam.
20. Banh Gio Chay
Steamed pyramid-shaped dumplings made with rice flour and filled with seasoned tofu and mushrooms. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam.
21. Nem Chay
Vegetarian spring rolls filled with tofu, glass noodles, and vegetables, typically served with a soy dipping sauce or a sweet chilli dipping sauce. This dish originates from Northern Vietnam.
And failing this, you should consider taking a Vietnamese cooking class so you can learn the recipes for your favourite dishes! Enjoy!
Adriana Neptuna is a full time travel writer and photographer for Wanderlicious. She started off as a social media blogger, and now writes articles full time for her blog whilst travelling the world.