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Eat like a local

In Sai Gon, “ăn chay” is popular on the 1st or the 15th of the month according to the lunar calendar for Buddhists in particular and for those who are religious in general. However, vegetarian/ vegan meals have recently become more popular among the youth and people in general who are consciously aware of the plant-based diet benefits in terms of health & environmental advantages, and animal welfare or simply because vegetarian food tastes so good.

The following list with take you on a veggie adventure where locals find themself on an “Ăn Chay” day from a small local setup to an upmarket restaurant that offers meals stuck with fresh and healthy ingredients.

Hum vegetarian restaurant

Hum vegetarian is considered one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Ho Chi Minh located in three convenient neighborhoods in District 1, District 2, and District 3 This restaurant won the title of Excellent Service Restaurant in 2014. Since then, Hum restaurant has constantly improved, developed, added, and updated the menu with certified ingredients, natural flavors, and fusion cuisines.

The restaurant itself can serve you an appetizing vegan meal and an interesting dining experience. If coming here for the first time, you can try green curry, salad, and spring rolls as they are the restaurant’s signature. 

The food, along with the peaceful inside space of Hum, will give you a really worth trying experience. The venue located in District 2 is big enough for a big family or friends gathering with a gorgeous indoor and outdoor setup.

  • Address: 32 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, Sai Gon
  • Address: 32 street number 10, Thu Duc ( District 2, Sai Gon)
  • Open hour: 10 am – 10 pm 
  • Price range: $4 – $13 (80,000 VND – 300,000 VND)
Banh xeo ba hiu

Bánh Xèo Ba Híu (Vietnamese pancake)

If you look to experience street-style dining as a Vietnamese, this place is for you! Located in District 2 which is known as the home of expats who live in Vietnam but Bánh Xèo Ba Híu is a hidden place shared by locals. It specializes in Bánh Xèo and concentrates on a few other middles and southern region dishes such as “Bánh Khọt” and “Bò Nướng Lá Lốt”. Although the place is not fully vegan, it offers many vegan options. Bánh xèo here are made in southern styles with less oil, crispy from the outside, and served with herbs and rice papers. Go for the special “Bánh xèo nấm, củ hũ dừa” (fresh mushroom & coconut core), “Bánh xèo Hoa Thiên Lý” (Tonkin Jasmine flowers), or “Bánh khọt chay” (with mung bean & mixed fresh mushroom). All dishes are served with vegan fish sauce and a basket of special herb collections that originally come from Tay Ninh province.

  • Address: 46/9 road 12, Tran Nao street, Binh An Ward, District 2, Sai Gon
  • Open hour: 10:30 am – 8:00 pm
  • Price range: $2 – $6 (40,000 VND – 120,000 VND)

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Đu đủ xanh (Green papaya)

Du Du Xanh impresses me because of the internal design and the arrangement of furniture in the Indochinese style that creates an elegant and luxurious look but also keeps the closeness to customers. In addition, the food at Du Du Xanh is not only delicious, and healthy but also carefully and beautifully garnished. 

Du Du Xanh’s team is another significant aspect that makes the restaurant outstanding from other businesses in the market. Share a similar concept with the extraordinary The Noir- Dining in the dark, the staff in Du Du Xanh are from the Blind Association Centre, are well trained, and have a profound understanding of their lives and hospitality service excellence. Therefore, this social business will help boost awareness toward the visually impaired and blind community in the region.

  • Address: 178A Hai Ba Trung Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Sai Gon
  • Open hours: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Price range: $4 – $13 (100,000 VND – 300,000 VND)

Shamballa

Similar to Hum restaurant, the name Shamballa is chosen by its meaning in Sanskrit where it means a place of peace, stasis, and joy. And therefore, the food and the dining setup of Shamballa restaurant also deliver the core expression of its name.

Shamballa in both locations in District 1 hides inside a colonial French-inspired building and offers a wide menu with fresh Vietnamese cuisine-oriented flavors and gorgeous looks. You could try the Lotus leaf fried brown rice, Woven noodles with betel lolot wraps, Braised tofu with shiitake mushrooms, and many other typical Vietnamese dishes that are transformed from meaty versions to the plant-based form deliciously.

  • Address: 17-19 Trinh Van Can, District 1, Sai Gon
  • Address: 31 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Sai Gon
  • Open hours: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Price range: $4 – $13 (100,000 VND – 300,000 VND)

Reviewed by

Diep Van

Phone: +84901166884

Email: diep.van@ftripvietnam.com

Diep Van

Founder & Photography Guide

Specialties: Culture, landscape, portrait, hiking, active and adventurous tour

Besides my unlimited passion for traveling, a professional tour guide for over a decade, I have been taking photographs since sitting at Hanoi of the University of Culture in the early 2000s. Photography started as a hobby but it was seriously taken due to my work relations and my significant passion for the beauty of our world, especially in Southeast Asian parts such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Within a few years of taking photographs, my works began to be recognized by many reliable international publications such as AFAR Travel, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In addition, I continuously add to my growing profile by winning numerous major awards: 3rd Position of The Independent Photographer 2018, 1st Position of Amateur Photographer of the year 2018, Grand Prize Winner of the AFAR Travel Photography 2019, and a Gold Award of San Francisco Bay International Photography 2020.

I photograph a wide variety of subjects, from travel to landscapes to street scenes. I enjoy documenting the East’s rich cultural heritage and its land soaked in glorious sunrise or sunset light in remote and secluded spots. And, I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with you. You can visit Luminousvietnamtour to explore tour!


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