Back in the old days, the king and Mandarins in Hue had to fast for three days prior to Nam Giao Festival to cleanse their body. The richness of Hue exotic vegetarian cuisine stemmed from this necessity and it’s only gotten better over the years!
As the nation’s capital for roughly 200 years, Hue (see here for a comprehensive guide to the city) is the cradle of quintessential cuisines that you should never miss when you visit Vietnam. Even though there is so much food to try, don’t ever miss trying vegetarian options in this city. Hue offers the most delicate veggies you could ask for in the country. Why you ask? It is because the royal class had to eat veggies during certain occasions. In this article, let’s discover some of the most amazing veggies in Hue, and where to try them!
FROM ROYAL DISHES…
Thanh Tra Grapefruit Salad
Thanh Tra is one of the most delicate types of grapefruit in Vietnam. Early autumn is the peak time to devour this fruit. Its sweet sour juicy taste mixed with fried tofu and pickled vegetables will delight your taste buds. This beautiful mixture is served with Sia sesame rice paper, making it a remarkably tasty appetizer!
Millet Seeds Cake – Hue Fried Roll
Fragrant, crunchy, a little bit fatty, and a lot more! This special spring roll comes in the form of a square shape (while most Vietnamese spring rolls are cylindrical). Its outside layer is made from millet seeds, once being the most precious cereal in Vietnam. Its filling includes Mang Dong bamboo, shiitake mushrooms collected in the forest, and Phu Chuc (a delicate soybean bologna). You will love it!
Hue-style Water Salad
More than 20 types of vegetables are present in this delicious salad, eaten with the famous Song Than vermicelli from Binh Dinh. Back in the old days, people served this beautiful salad to the king with a cup of fresh sweet herbal juice.
Glutinous Rice with Moi Mushrooms in bamboo pipes
Do not miss asking the chef to serve you a dish with Moi Mushroom. This vegetable grows only in the wild, being rare and really tasty. People used to call it “valuable treasure”. The glutinous rice is normally wrapped in banana leaves and baked. But in the palace, it is wrapped in dong leaves, put inside the bamboo tube and grilled on charcoal.
Colorful Phap Lam Cake
You will first notice that this cake is wrapped delicately with five-colored paper. The five colors resemble those colors used in Phap Lam art displayed in the palace. Once you uncover the sophisticated wrapping, you’ll enjoy a beautiful, gentle combination of glutinous rice flour, binh tinh flour, and watermelon jam. This cake, with its elegant aroma, serves as a perfect dessert for the royal meal.
… TO STREET FEASTS!
Veggie Cinnamon Sausages
Love the fragrant aroma of cinnamon? Then you will surely enjoy this elegant taste in your meal with the veggie cinnamon sausages (there is another version without cinnamon). The sausage is made from supple tofu, a bit of pepper, and of course cinnamon to enrich the flavor! What else makes it special? The vendor will tell you more!
Veggie Hue Beef Noodle (Bun Bo Hue Chay)
Hue beef noodle is the specialty of Vietnam. The veggie version is also a dish you cannot miss if in Hue. Since we love this food so much, we have dedicated an entire article to it, check it out in our upcoming article.
Veggie Fried Sausage Noodle (Bun Cha Gio Chay)
Crack the crunchy spring rolls, add in the supple rice noodle flavored with veggie fish sauce and fragrant pickled vegetable. This spring roll might not be as sophisticated as the one served in the palace, but the simple taste is incredible.
Veggie Steamed Rice Cake (Banh Beo Chay)
Banh beo originated in Hue. That said, visiting Hue without tasting banh beo would be a big loss. For a veggie version, add green bean and enjoy with veggie fish sauce. You also can try banh beo with coconut milk – my most favorite dessert!
Tea from figs
This is not just the normal fig we find in many places of Vietnam, but the species called “Va” in Vietnamese. Fragrant and elegantly sweet, tea from this fig is not only a Vietnamese specialty but also a nutritious drink for daily consumption! It helps reduce cholesterol, sustain the glucose in our blood, improve our stomach health, and is really good for people with a bad cough.
Hue sweet porridge is a big part of Hue culinary culture. In short, the two must-mention sweet porridges are corn porridge and lotus seed porridge. The best corn porridge is made in Con Hen, with immature corn. You can find multiple kinds of lotus seed porridge. However, the most beautiful lotus always comes from Tinh Tam (Mindful) Lake.
AND MORE, LET’S DISCOVER INTERESTING RESTAURANTS!
San May Vegetarian Restaurant
A 100-year-old villa makes its home as this authentic restaurant. It’s more upper class than most veggie restaurants in town. Looking for a warm dinner for your family, a group of friends, or a romantic meal with your beloved? Then don’t miss sitting down in the warm lighting of this restaurant to experience a remarkable veggie meal.
Address: 08 Thanh Tinh, Hue City
Opening hours: 7 AM – 9 PM
Lien Hoa Vegan Restaurant
Delicious and with a good price, Lien Hoa Vegan Restaurant brings us the feeling of calm when we enter. It doesn’t look fancy, but there are over 150 dishes for you to try, with the price varying from 5,000 VND – 50,000 VND. During the vegan days (every 1st, 14th, 15th, and 29th or 30th of the Lunar month), you need to be cognizant of the crowds that make it hard to find a table.
Address: 03 Le Quy Don Street, Hue City
Business hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
Bo De Vegan Restaurant
Located in the center of Hue, Bo De Vegan Restaurant has simple ambiance but lovely food and an adorable team to bring guests such a welcoming atmosphere. The average price is from 15,000 – 55,000 VND.
Address: 11 Le Loi Street, Hue City
Business hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
The Loving Hut
Loving Hut is an international vegan brand that has been recognized in several Asian countries. Their motto is especially appealing: “Eat vegan, live green, save the planet”. They embrace a hope to reinforce happiness and good connection among people and other creatures with veggie cuisine.
You’ll find yourself resting in a clean, neat, and relaxingly designed ambiance at this restaurant. There are portraits of famous people who were and are vegetarian, and accompanying quotes on how being a vegan or vegetarian has benefited them, decorating the walls.
Address: 128 An Duong Vuong Street, Hue City
Hours: 7 AM – 9 PM
My Chay Tam Duc – Banh My Chay Food Cart
Despite its interior design, the flavors you will experience are amazing. The owner couple makes this bread combo with fresh vegetables, mushrooms, veggie sausages, and yummy meatballs made from tofu. They have veggie pate, too! One serving costs you only half a dollar. The stand is only open from 6 AM – 10 AM. Remember to ask for less chili, otherwise, your sandwich will be too hot!
Address: 100 Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hue City
Business hours: 6 AM – 10 AM
There is one more interesting discovery for those of you who enjoy vegetarian and vegan cuisine in Hue. Let’s visit a pagoda, especially a nun pagoda. You will not only have a chance to enjoy but also talk to the nuns and understand the concepts behind the food. Does that sound a lot more interesting?
Complete this food itinerary for a great stay in Hue. I hope you now have a sense of what to discover in this elegant city. There are a lot of interesting activities to see and do, or maybe hidden gems that will surely give your trip a local experience boost! Hope you enjoy!
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s blog!