You may be surprised but Saigon is a good city for Vegetarians. It is much more vegetarian friendly than Bangkok in Thailand. By the way, I am a Vegetarian myself, you can visit my Vegetarian page.
The word in Vietnamese for Vegetarian is “Chay”. Món Chay is “Vegetarian food”.
Look at the following picture. They called a Falafel, Kebab Chay.
Another word you should know in Vietnam is “Pho”. It means soup. The Vietnamese Pho is very famous and there is almost always noodle inside. It is possible to find also a Vegetarian Pho, in many places.
Are there more or are there less Vegetarian people in Vietnam compared to the western countries ?
The concept of being Vegetarian is different. In a western country a person who is vegetarian is a person that is never eating animals. In Vietnam (and in other Buddhist countries), Vegetarianism is taken symbolically. There are some “Vegan days” in the Buddhist calendar (every month) in which people don’t eat animals (during the whole day or just during a meal). The other days of the month, they are eating animals. In a western country, this would not be considered being Vegetarian, of course. From my personal experience, there are very few vegetarians in Vietnam and in Thailand (in Vietnam there are more vegetarians than in Thailand).
The result is that there are a lot of Vegan restaurants in Vietnam, just for the “Vegans days”. On the “vegans days” these restaurants receive a lot of visitors. On the “regular” days much less. You can often find some western tourists in these type of restaurants.
The vegan restaurants are often a buffet style and very cheap.
In the photo : A Vietnamese Veg buffet
There are of course also expensive vegan restaurants with sophisticated dishes. Later on the page, I have listed a few Vegetarian restaurants in the center of Saigon.
Here are the Vegetarian options in Saigon :
- Pham Ngu Lao area (the Backpackers zone) – For Western and Vietnamese food.
- Regular Restaurants in town center with Vegetarian options (mostly Vietnamese).
- Vegetarian Restaurants in town center (mostly Vietnamese food).
Without doubt, the best area in Saigon for vegetarians. If you are fed up with Asian food and you miss good Italian Pasta with cheese, Mexican Burritos, Falafel and so on, this is the place. There is also Vietnamese food, of course.
You should visit this neighborhood at night time, it is the most live place in Saigon with bars, restaurants, cafés and music.
Here is a map of the neighborhood. I have highlighted 2 alleys where there are good Vegetarian options. Click to enlarge :
The main street looks like this :
Here are some photos of Vegetarian dishes I like in Pham Ngu Lao :
Mexican Burrito (there are beans inside ! Not so obvious in Asia)
Italian food – Gnocchi in Gorgonzola sauce :
Or : Fettuccine in Gorgonzola sauce (If you don’t realize, these things are a miracle in Asia).
Avocado salad (Also Avocado is not common in Asia)
Indian Vegetarian Tali (Tali is a combo set). In some Indian restaurants they serve a Tali in all hours, in others only at lunch time. Take a Tali whenever you can because you get a variety of dishes at a reasonable size each.
Vietnamese food. Coconut filled with fried rice and vegetables. Cool.
And rice with vegetables in a Lotus leaf :
The prices are cheap. A Mexican burrito about 70,000 Dong. A pasta with cheese also 70,000 Dong.
This is amazing. In the big malls in the city (like Vincom and Saigon Center), in the food courts where there are many stands and restaurants, some of them have a separate Vegetarian menu. They have thought about us and created a special menu. So, ask about it, if you don’t see it immediately.
Here in the photo, you can see a vegetarian section (in green, left bottom corner) advertised in a food court of a commercial center.
And here is an excellent dish I received from this specific restaurant. Rice noodles with vegetables in soya sauce :
This is a typical Vietnamese dish, available almost everywhere. Also in the vegetarian version. It is spring rolls with rice noodles and salad.
I was able to receive this western style food, in a food court.
Here is how a Vegetarian section on a menu, looks like :
In the coffee chains, like Coffee Bean, there are also some Vegetarian options :
When you will travel out of town, the Vegetarian options in regular restaurants will be more limited, it will be rice with vegetables :
Relatively to other cities in the world, there are quite a lot of Vegetarian restaurants in Saigon center. They serve Vietnamese food, not Western food.
Some Vegetarian restaurants in the center of Saigon :
- Shamballa Vegetarian, Restaurant & Lounge – Sai Gon
- Be An Vegetarian Café
- Hum, Cafe & Restaurant
- La Moi plant-based Restaurant
- Rau Ơi Vegetarian – Le Thi Hong Gam
You can use the Happy Cow application to find vegetarian restaurants close to where you are.
Look at the photos above, to see what Vegetarian Vietnamese dishes to expect.
Whenever you are out of ideas about what to eat, then eat a cake. The “Tous les jours” bakery (a chain) is good.
There is also the famous French bakery “Paul” in the mall “Saigon Center”:
As a serious Vegetarian traveller, you should always carry with you a survival kit that contains Almonds and Nuts.
In Saigon, you can find a lot of almonds in the famous market “Ben Thanh”.
- How to Visit Vietnam ? – Transport, Best Time, Priorities…
- How to Reserve : Trains, Buses and Flights in Vietnam ?
- How much does it Cost to Visit Vietnam? Common Prices
- How to get a Visa for Vietnam ?
- Where to Stay, What to Visit, How to Arrive to :
- How is the Internet in Vietnam ?
- Is it Safe to visit Vietnam?
- What to Pack for the trip to Vietnam ?
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- What to Pack ? the visual list that will help you prepare the suitcase.
- Visit my Vegetarian Page. Why be Vegetarian ? What to eat ?
- Visit my Salsa Dance Page. Salsa main Styles. Why Dance Salsa ?
- See City Information about 2 more cool cities: Barcelona and Tel-Aviv.
- Listen to nice Songs with translation in French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew.
- Listen to basic Words In Spanish, French, Hebrew
If you find incorrect data on this page, like a restaurant that has closed or a big river that has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.