Hoi An and Danang, on Vietnam’s central coast, have so much to offer. Beautiful beaches, friendly people, and lush local scenery. But unbeknownst to many travelers, these adjacent coastal towns have something else to make a certain subset of travelers come running: awesome vegetarian food. Not a vegetarian? Not a problem. A number of Danang and Hoi An eateries serve food that isn’t only vegetarian friendly, it’s light, fresh, and sustainable. In other words, these cities’ food scenes are great for the health- or ingredient-conscious eater.
A coastal train journey capped by a great vegetarian lunch
Vietnam is a long and skinny country, and an easy way to see a lot of the land in a short amount of time is by taking a train trip up or down the coast. Any of these coastal train rides will stop in Danang, which just so happens to be a beautiful, rapidly-developing beach town with a solid food scene. And, walking distance from the Danang Train Station, a small, family-owned vegetarian spot called Quan Chay 99 will satiate your healthy food cravings. Here, choose from an array of local delicacies, ranging from noodle dishes to rice plates and faux meats. Opt for the vegan com tam, a take on the traditional southern dish, or a hearty noodle soup, making sure to wash the food down with a refreshing cup of iced tea.
Excellent vegetarian meals between bicycle rides to the beach
One of the best things about Hoi An is its accessibility by bicycle. From the main downtown area, some of Vietnam’s most peaceful beaches are just a 20-minute bicycle ride away. While bicycling may be tiring, especially in Hoi An’s balmy heat, the ride is well worth it when you park your bike along the walkway leading up to An Bang Beach, race over the sands, and splash in the warm waters of the South China Sea. Better yet, there’s no shortage of delicious, healthy food options for recuperating after a day in the surf and sun. For exceptional vegetarian food in a blissful setting, visit Minh Hien Quan Chay. Without the aid of MSG or animal products, Minh Hien delivers dishes to satisfy any diner. The stuffed tofu grilled in banana leaf is to die for, as are the meatless white rose dumplings (a Hoi An specialty) and the vegetable-topped wontons.
For something a bit more casual (perfect if you want to just throw your clothes on over your bathing suit), head on over to Tam Quang Minh, which is conveniently located just off the road from the beach into town. A fully vegan eatery, Tam Quang Minh’s real seller is its rice buffet, complete with a massive selection of faux meat, tofu, and vegetable dishes. The vegan lemongrass “pork” is divine.
Refuel on banh mi after suit fittings
Believe it or not, Hoi An isn’t only about the food. The custom-made clothing shops draw in their fair share of visitors. Bebe Tailor is one of the best bets if you’re looking to get a custom suit made; they bring patience and professionalism to the process. Hungry yet? Shopping can induce the hanger (hunger + anger) in us all. Thankfully, central Hoi An, the streets of which are full of tailors and leather shops galore, is home to what is arguably the world’s best banh mi. Best of all, vegans and vegetarians can sample the deliciousness themselves. At Madame Khanh and Banh Mi Phuong, the sandwich professionals are more than happy to build a vegetarian version of their custom ‘wiches. These may feature eggs or cheese, but vegetables, tofu, and faux meats are also in the rotations. Whatever your diet, the sandwiches at these two banh mi hotspots will not disappoint, and will provide the necessary fuel to complete your shopping with a smile.
Need something other than food to regain your energy? Espresso Station’s hot and iced drinks will get you in the mental state you need to make the most of a trip in Hoi An. The iced mocha is divine, but the shop owner, a Vietnamese man who lived and learned in Australia for years, is no stranger to classic Vietnamese coffee drinks as well.
An amazing tourist destination made even better with great food
Thanks to Hoi An’s large Buddhist population, the vegetarian options in this quaint seaside town are plentiful. From meat-free renditions of popular local dishes — including ones that are unique to Hoi An! — to a slew of other vegetarian ways to satiate your shopped-out soul, Hoi An has got you covered. On your next trip to Hoi An and Danang, enjoy the beaches, the local culture, the scenery, and, perhaps best of all, the incredible cuisine.
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