Updated June 2018: We’ve found a few new places that definitely deserve to be on the list.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Hue
Vegetarians and vegans travelling Vietnam may be surprised that the country has a plethora of restaurants to suit all meat-free diets.Twice a month, the population will go to their local meat-free restaurant to gorge on vegetables and tofu. Restaurants on the ‘pancake trail’ serve some really shitty meat-free dishes, fact. After living in Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, Hue has provided me with the variety I desire and a few surprises too. I’m not sure why there are so many vegetarian restaurants in Hue, maybe something to do with the city’s age-old culture and affluence from both the upper and middle classes. A large percentage of street-side restaurants also turn veg every month on the 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. Look for signs including ‘chay’ (with absolutely no accents on the word) on these days to get a budget fill.
Restaurants on the ‘pancake trail’ serve some really shitty Vietnamese vegetarian food, fact. With confidence, I can say that the best vegetarian and vegan food usually lies outside the tourist areas. I’ve written this article to help you find good Vietnamese vegetarian and vegan food. I may have lost any ethical standing on the Hue Grit Tour, but I still know how to find a few decent vegetarian restaurants in Hue.
Nha Hang San May: Foodies’ Choice
Fairy priced, Nutritious, Beautiful, Vegan & Vegetarian.
San May is decadent in every sense. This is the location for your tinder date, trust me. In line with Hue’s imperial setting, the restaurant is designed like a 19th century house accompanied with a garden in bloom. If your date isn’t already impressed with this restaurant, get the table in the garden under the concrete gazebo.
The menu includes a vast range of salads, vegetables, tofu and starches. It will take a few visits to reach the end of the menu. While this restaurant is on the more expensive side of this list, meals are high in quality and very fulfilling. A meal for two costs around 300,000VND ($15). Personal favourites are the guava salad, mushrooms wrapped in shredded tofu (pictured), lotus rice and jackfruit-salad cracker. Be aware that a lot of ingredients are seasonal so don’t be disappointed if you’re unable to order a few items.
Open all day; you could spend all three meals here. Staff speak a functional level of English and menus are provided in Vietnamese and English. The Vietnamese menu comes with pictures therefore you’re more likely to get an idea of what you’re ordering.
San May Restaurant
8 Tan Tinh, Vy Da
Quan Chay Nam Giao: Best Budget Eat in Hue
Cheap, Off-the-Beaten Track, Delicious, Vegan
The best vegetarian my quang in Hue.I had been driving past this restaurant for months until I finally plucked up the courage to go inside. Now, I’m eating there at least twice a week. Situated on Pisshead’s Corner, It’s easy to miss given it’s labelled as a ‘binh dan'(budget) restaurant and unappealing interior. Nam Giao serves up two dishes; My Quang (soupy noodles from Quang Nam) and banh khoai (Vietnamese pancake, close relative to it’s southern cousin banh xeo). Both dishes here are equally delicious in their own ways and double down for a filling meal, costing around $2 in total! This restaurant is also a cafe so there are plenty of sugary soft drinks and coffee to accompany your meal.
Open almost all day, I’ve been there for late breakfast (9am), lunch and dinner (6pm). I’ve yet to find it closed. Three generations of friendly, family members run this joint and play fantastic hosts. Although only one member of staff speaks some basic English, ordering isn’t difficult since there are only two things on the menu.
If you find Nam Giao closed, take a walk further up the hill on Dien Bien Phu. There are a few other vegetarian restaurants further up the street in a similar vein to this restaurant.
Nam Giao Restaurant
24 Dien Bien Phu
Quan Chay Thanh Lieu: the People’s Choice
Budget, Popular, Good Location, Vegan and Vegetarian
This isn’t as much as a personal recommendationas the three above. Hordes of Vietnamese people frequently eat here, this restaurant must be doing something right. I recently found out that a donor subsidizes the meals while providing a portion of profit to charity. The food is really cheap. Decorated with bamboo tables and chairs, the restaurant is well staffed and the time from ordering to eating is minuscule. Aside from the noodle and rice dishes, Thanh Lieu do a really cheap lau (hotpot). Hue can get cold and wet over the rainy season, the hotpot remedies any distaste the cold months leave you with. Banh loc (savoury rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves) is a must with whatever you you’re ordering.
It’s ‘on-the-go’ nature and central location means this restaurant is highly convenient. Ideal for the patron who is frustrated with looking for a suitable restaurant and just wants to get to the next part of their day. Thanh Lieu is tiny and seats around 30 people. If you go at peak hour and there are no seats, don’t be disheartened. People never stay more than 15 minutes.
If Thanh Lieu isn’t to your liking or you’re impatient to wait for a table, there is also the restaurant Thien Phu at number 58 on the same street. More hygienic, slightly more expensive and a more extensive menu.
Banh Mi Chay Tam Duc: Best Vegan Banh Mi in Hue
Cheap, delicious, unique, vegan
Take a bite. Count the flavours.Vegan banh my stands are difficult to come by in Vietnam. Go to any standard banh my establishment and be served a sandwich relished with either boiled eggs or some cucumber. I have only found vegan banh my stands in obscure places with limited opening hours. Banh Mi Chay Tam Duc is no exception. Don’t be fooled by it’s gritty interior design, ingredients are fresh and charming on the tastebuds. Goddamnit, they even have vegan pate. One Banh My is 8,000VND (40 US cents); the cheapest ‘meal’ on this list.
Tam and Duc are the married couple that run this stand. Tam has been vegan for two decades and in the business for the past five years. I don’t think staff here speak English, it’s not required when there’s only one thing on the menu. Be warned that these badboys often come with some chilli. Make sure to say you don’t want chilli (không có ớt/không cay) if it’s too much of a kick to your morning. Not much in the way of drinks but they do have sua bap (sweetcorn milk). It’s an acquired taste but can be addictive. Otherwise, there is a variety of soya milk and a green tea-pallet cleanser can be requested for free. The shop is open from 6am to 10am; strictly a morning affair. Get there as early as possible for the freshest bread.
Ngu Ha Garden: Find your Zen in the Citadel
large menu, beautiful setting, well-priced, fantastic smoothies
We had previously presumed this restaurant shut down but it turns out that our friend Chi Ly took over and given the restaurant a good kick! It is along the outer walls of the citadel. Ngu Ha Garden is an outdoors restaurant with plenty of koi-populated ponds and colorful plants. The menu is extensive and offers something for everyone. The food is well prepared and charges the wallet lightly. It’s set quite a way from the a quiet road so you’re far from any of the city’s noise pollution. The restaurant receives a good mix of people living here and tourists, although I’ve never seen it busy. The smoothies available here are promoted as some of the best in the city, they’re not wrong.
Personal favourite dishes (as pictured below) are the vegetarian versions of the com hen and the bun thit nuong. There are plenty more contenders on the menu for best dish. I still have a lot to work through. Perfect location for lunch if you’re out exploring the citadel.
Ngu Ha Garden
181 Xuân 68
Nha Hang Lien Hoa
Beautiful, Popular, Fairly-Priced, Vegan and Vegetarian
Very popular among both the local and tourist crowds. Extensive menu and joined to a pagoda. I’ve been there so many times that the food has become underwhelming. It is the only decent vegetarian restaurant on tripadvisor that ranks highly. I’m a big fan of their junk food tofu; particularly the mecan dressed up as chicken drumsticks (thanks Hynek for that introduction!). There’s a badly-translated English menu that makes a lot of the dishes sound unappealing. Friendly staff and friendly owner. more expensive than most of the restaurants in Hue. Slightly cheaper, yet not as sexy as San May Restuarant (see above).
Lien Hoa Restaurant
3 Le Quy Don
Nha Hang Thien Tam
Beautiful, unique dishes, Fairly-priced, Vegan and Vegetarian
On the outskirts of Hue, this restaurant is placed conveniently near to Bunker Hill, Tu Duc tombs, the abandoned Waterpark and our good friends at Mo Rua Homestay. The owner and his wife are artists and the restaurant also serves as an art gallery; the second floor of the main building includes a abundance of lacquer paintings. Be nosy and walk around.
Food is good. Kind of like Lien Hoa and San May (see above). I particularly love the spring rolls (nem ran) and spicy seaweed soup (canh rong bien). Being a HUGE outdoor restaurant, the premises can be overrun with rats and pigeons when half vacant in the evening. My stomach isn’t strong enough to deal with eating rice while watching a deformed rat pillage the nearby trashcans. Maybe yours is. Even I can be outgritted.
110 Le Ngo Cat
Nhà Hàng Chay Vạn Hạnh
Nice decor, reasonably priced
Hammocks! There are hammocks in this restaurant! a nice selection of food and a contender for the best banh khoai in town. On the road towards and away from the abandoned waterpark. This restaurant would make the top five IF they didn’t present foreigners with a more expensive menu in English. Get a Vietnamese menu, point out the difference and make a contribution to steering this restaurant in the right direction. Don’t forget to rest those tired feet in a hammock.
103 Minh Manh
Quan Chay Ba Minh and Quan Chay Hong Nga
Budget, Basics, Citadel Location, Vegan and Vegetarian
It’s more difficult to find vegetarian restaurants in and around the citadel. To find two sitting right opposite each other is hilarious. I wonder if Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley sit on top of them, staring at each other. Caught hungry wandering aimlessly around the citadel? Don’t take the risk, head here where you’re spoilt for choice between two cheap restaurants. You could even buy two dishes for a dollar a piece and decide which one you like best! While we like the rustic garden of Ba Minh, the larger menu in Hong Nga tipped the scales. The banh khoai (crispy Hue pancake) was pretty good and the rice plate (pictured) has a variety of flavors. Noodle-based dishes were OK.
Quan Chay Ba Minh & Quan Chay Hong Nga
3&4 Han Thuyen
- Are you a vegan or vegetarian who feels impeded by their diet in Vietnam? Check out Rishabh Dev’s blog on eating vegan while traveling Vietnam for some top tips!
- If you get to any of the listed restaurants, let us know how they are!
- If you find something new, drop us a line.
- The restaurants above are mostly personal recommendations and I’m keen to here what others have to say.
- Check out the comprehensive yet slightly outdated listing of vegetarian restaurants in Hue at Happy Cow.
Chúc ngon miệng!
Hue Grit Tour