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.
My friend Mitch came to visit me in Central Vietnam recently. We spent three days between Danang, Hoi An and Hue, which I wrote about here.
On our way to Hue, we stopped at Phu Bai town for a nuoc mia (sugarcane juice) and a cigarette. We chose a nuoc mia cart perched besides a crossroads and watched the Highway 1 traffic roar past. It’s very easy to people-watch on street corners and delve into existential thought. The high-level of traffic can keep you entertained for hours.
Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world. Unlike many other countries, Vietnam’s relationship with the caffeinated beverage has produced a cafe culture that is poetic in simplicity. Even with the introduction of Starbucks to Vietnam, locals have mostly kept to their favored soft-drink spots over the modernity of multinational conglomerates. Coffee is the People’s drink and you’ll rarely find anyone that doesn’t have a cafe to recommend. Coffee shops come in every variation imaginable. Owners can be artistic in their interior design and particular about the atmospheres they create. One of my favorite cafes of recent times is 054 Cafe Hue. Continue reading “054 Cafe Hue: Community, Urban Art and Creativity”→