Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed April 13 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | April 13, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Vegetarian Hanoi Street Food: A Compilation of Top Eats

    Vegetarian Hanoi Street Food: A Compilation of Top Eats

    PHOTO: A collage of tasty Hanoi street food offerings. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    In Hanoi, being a vegetarian (and especially vegan) is a fair bit more challenging than in the bustling city of Saigon but it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

    I was surprised to find that the term “street food” in Hanoi is a little different than in other countries, as the legitimate vendors are not on the street, but rather in small shops. Foreigners might assume that such places are restaurants, but they are, in fact, designated legal street vendors. Most street vendors you see walking around aren’t legal, so be wary of them from a quality and cleanliness standpoint.

    READ MORE: A Quest For the Ultimate Vegetarian Meal in Ho Chi Minh City

    As always, I hunted down the best of the best vegetarian dishes and where to find them with the help of Moon from Hanoi Street Food Tours, since my luck was sparse doing it alone!

    Below are the best spots to get your food munching on:

    • Bun Rieu Cua Chay (noodle soup)

    Location: 11 Hang Bac

    Only open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    A rice noodle soup in a Tamarind, tomato broth served with tofu, spring onion, shallots, banana leaves, lettuce and purple basil.

    • Bun Nem Chay (spring rolls)

    Location: 21 Nguyen Huu Huan St.

    Carrot, rice noodle, bean sprout, mushroom and egg rolled in fried rice paper. Be sure to add in a bit of garlic, pepper, chili and green papaya slices to the honey broth accompanying the rolls.

    • Nom Du Du Chay (green papaya salad)

    Location: 23 Ho Hoan Kiem

    Green papaya salad in a honey broth with roasted peanuts, Vietnamese basil and added chili sauce. (Be sure to ask for no thit when ordering)

    • Banh Cuon Chay (deep fried shallot in a thin rice paper pancake)

    Location:14 b bao

    Be sure to ask for bean sauce for dipping instead of fish sauce.

    • Banh Bao Chay (dumpling steamed and then deep fried)

    Location: 52 Pho ly, Quoc Su

    Filled with mushroom, tofu, and rice noodle (made of sticky rice, more crunchy)

    • Nem Chay Cuon (fresh spring roll)

    Location: 52 Pho ly, Quoc Su

    Filled with lettuce and Vietnamese basil in a thick rice paper.

    PHOTO: A Hanoi street food vendor putting together a meal.

    • Banh Gui Chay (pillow cake)

    Location: 52 Pho ly, Quoc Su

    Filled with mushroom, rice noodle, tofu in a coconut flavor (half flour, half rice)

    Note: All three dishes above come with a broth for dipping, consisting of dry vinegar, sugar, green papaya and chili.

    • Banh Mi (egg baguette)

    Location: Can be found on nearly any street corner!

    Made with two fried eggs with tomato, cucumber, lettuce and chili sauce. Baguette comes from half rice and half wheat flour.

    • Hoa Qua Dam (mixed tropical fruit bowl)

    Location: 46 Hang Gai

    Tropical fruit such as watermelon, grapes, mango, jackfruit and strawberries with coconut milk.

    • Banh Ran (doughnut cake)

    Location: 5 Duong, Ngou Quyen

    Mung bean inside a deep fried sesame sticky rice.

    • Egg Coffee
    Location: 7 Chao Gao

    This location has the best egg coffee out of all the locations I’ve tried. Made with chicken egg and quality Vietnamese coffee.

    • Beer Hoi
    Location: Across the street from Vietnam Backpackers Hostel Downtown (9 Ma May) you will find fresh, homemade local beer for 5,000 dong.

    READ MORE: Transit in Vietnam: Tips and Advice

    Important notes:

    • Unless specified as “chay,” I’m sorry to break your heart but pho is not an option as the broth is always chicken or beef bone stock.

    • As stated in the blog "A Quest For the Ultimate Vegetarian Meal in Ho Chi Minh City," most Vietnamese vendors don’t speak much English, so you will need to write down on a piece of paper explaining to them that you do not eat meat or fish sauce. Write down “Ban co the xin vui long giup toi. Toi la an chay va do khong an thit hoac thit ga. Cam on ban.” This will alleviate a lot of hassle and language barriers when trying to order a vegetarian meal!

    Hanoi Street Food Tour
    74 Hang Bac street, Hanoi, Vietnam

More Hanoi


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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