Written By Luke Digweed
Updated February 2020.
I first wrote this blogpost sometime in late 2017 when the world was a very different place as was the vegetarian scene in Hue. As I have turned from boozy vegetarian pup to seasoned pescatarian sage, some of my all-time favourite eating spots have disappeared to the ether, whereas some that I once loathed have come to shine in more recent times. This post continues to be one of my most popular and although I would like to think my understanding of Vietnam goes a lot further than all the different ways tofu is served, I also take great joy in getting people’s hearing how people enjoyed the restaurants and dishes I recommend here. Please feel free to let me know what you think! I also offer a vegetarian food tour for those that want an additional sociological insight into everything surrounding vegetarianism in Vietnam. Have fun and chúc ngon miệng!
Vegetarian Restaurants in Hue
Vegetarians and vegans travelling Vietnam may be surprised to find 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. 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.
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 (edit, I now know its because of Hue’s spiritual history and buddhist community!). 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.
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 350,000VND. 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
Nha Hang Thien Tam
Beautiful, unique dishes, Fairly-priced, Vegan and Vegetarian
On the outskirts of Hue, this restaurant is placed conveniently near to so places hidden gems of Hue; Bunker Hill, the abandoned mansion and secret prison, the Abandoned Waterpark, Tu Hieu Pagoda, Graffiti Wall and so much more.
The owner and his wife are two prominent Hue artists and the restaurant also serves as an art gallery (called Gakka) displaying the couple’s work as well as a few other artists of Hue. the second floor of the main building includes an abundance of lacquer paintings. Be nosy and walk around. The owners have recently also opened
The food here is great and there is plenty on offer. I particularly love the spring rolls (nem ran) and seaweed soup (canh rong bien). Be adventurous in your order and don’t let the bland-sounding english translations put you off. There are plenty of things I haven’t tried on this menu.
110 Le Ngo Cat
Quan Chay Thanh Lieu: the People’s Choice
Budget, Popular, Good Location, Vegan and Vegetarian
This isn’t as much as a personal recommendation as 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.
Quan Chay Thanh Lieu
50 Nguyen Cong Tru
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, opening at 6am and closing at 10am. 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 10,000VND. 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 since 2012. 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 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. Get there as early as possible for the freshest bread.
Banh Mi Chay Tam Duc
137 Phan Bội Châu,
Quán Chay Bồ Đề
quirky, conveniently placed
I used to boycott this place because it just never felt right after a bad dining experience or two. Now that I study Vietnamese at the resources centre opposite, I frequently come here for a quick rice plate before the impending vocabulary festival with my teacher.
And that is all I am going to recommend here. You may find yourself wondering somewhere between the citadel and the backpacker area uncertain where to eat lunch and I would say the rice place is a tasty fix. Around 25,000VND. portion is well-sized and with a variety of tofu and veggies. A soup comes to wash it all down with too.
Other dishes on the menu here are super hit-or-miss and those misses come at a price. Convenient eating whether or alone or with someone else is the key here. Look elsewhere for a more indulgent affair.
Quán Chay Bồ Đề
11 Le Loi
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
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 legs 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 three 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. 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 is a good assortment. Noodle-based dishes were OK at best.
This is a location solely listed for convenience. I really wouldn’t recommend shipping across town to these places. Check out all the other options listed above before these ones.
Quan Chay Ba Minh & Quan Chay Hong Nga
3&4 Han Thuyen
Phuong Nam Restaurant (formerly Ngu Ha Garden)
Phuong Nam is an outdoors restaurant with plenty a koi-populated pond 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 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 above) 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 heading towards Thuan An Beach.
Phuong Nam Restaurant
142 Nguyễn Sinh Cung
- 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!
To the graveyard
These restaurants once existed and have now passed. I just can’t bring myself to delete them.
Quan Chay Nam Giao: Best Budget Eat in Hue
Cheap, Off-the-Beaten Track, Delicious, Vegan
Edit: This restaurant is now closed and I miss it every damn day.
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