Vietnam: Food Diary

Month of travel: April

The cold and rainy days here in good old Luxembourg this time a year make my mind wander back to my adventurous trip around the world last year. One of the countries I had the chance to visit was Vietnam, and let me tell you, they have amazing vegan food over there. You just have to know where to find it. The easiest way to do that, is get the HappyCow App. What are you waiting for? Get it, it makes travelling so much easier and so much more enjoyable.

The first week in Vietnam the weather was kinda weird, very hazy and cloudy with occasional rain pouring down. That all changed during week 2, when temperatures rose to 36°C. Cruising Halong Bay was definitely stunning, but my favourite part was probably trekking around a remote area in Northern Vietnam along rice fields and passing by water buffalos. It was a once in a lifetime experience, at least for me. Not your typical vacationing you do to relax, but getting a real sweat on while climbing those hills, being all adventurous and stuff. Our host family were the loveliest people, welcoming us into their home, cooking for us and even preparing a mouthwatering vegan dish for me, called Dau Sot Ca Chua: it’s basically fried tofu in a hearty tomato sauce served with rice. Super simple, super delish!

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Coffee Shop in Hoi An

Make sure to visit the lovely coast town Hoi An when travelling in Vietnam. And while you’re there, go get you tailored dresses, suits, tops etc. Anything you want, they’ll make it. Yes they are that good. It’s probably also a good idea to head to a tailor shop as soon as you arrive, so you’ll be able to squeeze in all the fittings (usually 3) while you’re in town. The tailors will make sure your custom made clothing fits perfectly.

Now back to the food part! Hoi An has to offer some pretty amazing local dishes, plus they are usually inexpensive when you go to one of those inconspicuous street food style eateries.

 

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Mì Quàng

The traditional Hoi An dish Mì Quàng is usually made with yellow flat rice noodles, different mock meats topped off with peanuts and rice crackers served with greens on the side. Eating this is a bit like having a noodle soup. In Vietnam, a lot of dishes come with a side of greens which are usually a mixture of salads and herbs.

 

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Cao La

Another dish Hoi An is known for is Cao Lau. It is made with thick rice flour noodles (similar to udon noodles which are made with wheat), mock meats, fried crackers. What’s so special about this local dish? It is made with lye water from a well in the Hoi An region.

 

Don’t be fooled, the culinary highlights in Vietnam are not limited to noodle dishes. I have two words for you: Bánh Mì! I am talking about Vietnamese style baguette. Absolutely delectable and also inexpensive. Sorry there is no picture for you to look at, but as you can imagine I had devoured my sandwich before I remembered to take a picture.

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Fresh Spring Rolls

One last tipp to navigate you safely through Vietnamese food heaven: look for this kind of sign pictured below on the left. In Vietnamese culture, vegetarian often means vegan and if you let people know that you’r a “strict vegetarian”, they will point out vegan-friendly dishes for you. Tofu, rice and vegetables are all typical staple foods in Vietnam, so you should be able to get fed about anywhere in Vietnam.

Have you ever been to Vietnam? What’s your favourite dish?

Annika

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