Category Archives: Vegetarianism

Đậu hũ chiên sả ớt – Chili Fried Tofu Lemongrass

Sometimes you may find yourself with friends in a vietnamese restaurant that seems to have NOTHING meatless.  If you find yourself in such a situation (if they don’t have even salads or vegetable side-dishes), you may want to get some white rice and Đậu hũ chiên sả ớt.   This means Fried Tofu with Lemongrass and Chili.  I really liked this, and it was one of the most inexpensive choices on the menu.  The only downside is that you may get tired of the taste by the end  – the taste is exotic, unique, strong (but not spicy on its own).  I suggest you share this dish with others and try to find some other things to eat along with it like white rice, water spinach,  or even beer-nuts. 😉

This Đậu hũ chiên sả ớt was from a canal-side garden restaurant/beer-hall on Tôn Thất Thuyết Street on the south border of district 4 (near the intersection with Tôn Đản Street).

Chili Fried Tofu Lemongrass

Đậu hũ chiên sả ớt

second dish from the top

tofu section of the menu


Couchsurfing Vegetarians in SaiGon Going for Dinner

Some vegetarians and veggie-loving folk from the Saigon Couchsurfers group have planned a meeting for dinner in a new veggie place in District 1 on Tuesday.

The place/time is:

Hao Khai – 124-6 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Dist 1.

Date:  May 31st, 2011 – 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Here are the Couchsurfing threads about this meeting:

and here is the event:



Also, a new subgroup of the SaiGon group on CouchSurfers has formed.  It is “SaiGon Vegetarians”:




What’s this Colorful Sight?

Are they drying tomatoes here?

Drying of Tomatoes?

“Vegetarian Traveler” Group on CouchSurfing

There is discussion group for Vegetarian Travelers on CouchSurfing:

the group:

the site:

At the moment that I created this post, this group was small, but maybe we can change that with time.

info from the group page:

Are you a vegetarian? Do you have trouble finding good food when you travel? This is a forum where you can post rants & raves, make suggestions for fellow travelers & post reviews of restaurants, airport food & anything else related to vegetarian travel.

Members: 3
Posts: 0
Created: Nov 8, 2009
Type: Public

Veggie Venue 3 – “Mandala” ; Suong Nguyet Anh Street, district 1

“Mandala” – 110 Suong Nguyet Anh Street ; D1

This is a new, relatively upscale Tibetian-Vietnamese Veggie Fusion place.

Mandala from the Street at Night

The decore is fresh, big, and impressive.  There are lots of rooms with plenty of space for quite large groups.

one of the dining areas

The menu at this restaurant is large and has English translations and pictures.

I dined here with 2 friends.  We ordered a couple things each and shared, so I got to try a lot of dishes.  I liked the various noodle dishes and the Salad Mandala the most — while the tofu, okra, and spring rolls less.  Keep in mind that the menu is much bigger than just what is seen in these photos.

The food was, in general, pretty good…  and the atmosphere is, I think, very nice.  The service is very good and with a genuine friendliness to it.  I think it is worth your time to go check this out — at least if you are passing through this side of town.  They just recently opened,  so I would think the the food could get even better with time.  It was already good enough that night for me to warrant a return visit.

Veggie Noodles = Mi Chay

If you want to go to the grocery store and eat at home cheap and fast, one of the things you may want to get is  “Mi Chay”.  Mi=noodle, Chay= vegetarian.  These packages will often even be kept on a different aisle or, at least, not in exactly the same place as the other packaged noodles.  Those other ones are mostly beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or other seafood flavor.  Make sure the packages you buy have “Mi Chay” written on them.  If you can’t find them, show a store employee the meat ones and then ask “mi Chay?” <mee chay>. I don”t even bother heating up the water.  It’s so hot here in SaiGon, i prefer to just put bottled water in it,  add some fresh chili, onion, and maybe other vegetables or spices, then let it sit for about 15mins, then eat.  You may not want to prepare it with cool water, but you will probably, sooner or later, want to eat some Mi Chay.  You also might be able to give a waitress an idea of what to serve you in a restaurant by saying “Mi chay”(Veggie noodles), “Bi Chay” & Mi Xao Don Chay” (2  veggie dishes – see links at end of this blog entry), “Toi an chay (I’m Vegetarian), and “Com chay”(Vegetarian meal/Vegetables with rice).

"Mi Chay" = Veggie Noodles

and something more:

Mi Xao Don Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Crispy Chow Mein)                 

Bi Chay

The Fruits of Vietnam


I made “The Fruits of Vietnam” blog entry before I created “Saigon Vegetarian”, so it was posted on my first blog “MachSpeed Whippets”.  Instead of transferring it all here by hand, I will just give you the link to the entry.

from now on… MachSpeed Whippets will just be about my dogs, about whippets in general, and about being a dog-owner in SaiGon (or in Vietnam)

Saigon Vegetarian will just be about the vegetarian experience in SaiGon.

Veggie Venue 2 — “Phap Quang” ; 31 Ton That Thuyet Street, District 4

Phap Quang: 31 Ton That Thuyet; District 4, Ward 18

I found another veggie spot (Com Chay) in district 4.   This one, called Phap Quang, is in the southeast corner of this triangular-island district of SaiGon that we call simply “District 4” (Quan.4/Q.4).  This street is the southern border of the district – running the full length of the canal along the longest side of the D4 triangle.  This locale is quite close to the southeast corner… just a bit before the bridge in the corner and the 2 little parks found there.

"Phap Quang" Sign Above the Locale at Night

This was the second time I have eaten here.  The first time I was here, I didn’t have my phone with me (and therefore no camera).  This place is really cheap (15,000 dong for a nice sized plate and a small soup).  The first time I came here, it was midday and she must have given me 3 cold Vietnamese teas.  This time, I was there at dusk and it was much cooler.  She didn’t bring any tea and she must have seen that I was kinda in a rush and I had all of my dogs with me, so they set up a table for me on the sidewalk.  If I had asked for a tea, of course I would have gotten one.  This place isn’t the cleanest and the food mostly tastes average, but it is Com Chay and it is cheap (and I felt good after both meals).   The fake meat reminds me of real meat so much, that I don’t like it too much… but I tell myself it isn’t meat and surely it doesn’t have meat broth added to it.   surely they would do that.

"Phap Quang" Sign at Streetside

Overall, I recommend it for the price, the soup, the tea, the serving size, and the fast service.  Weak points:  main courses are, let’s say “average” and this locale might be a BIT “ghetto” for some.  The Com Chay in D4 that you can find in an earlier entry on SaiGon Vegetarian (located on Huang Dieu Street), seems to have a little bigger selection, is less “ghetto”, and is only a bit more expensive (still very cheap).   That place on Huang Dieu Street is also pretty much in the middle of D4 and not far from the bridges to D1.   I plan on frequent both of these eateries.

Meal at Veggie Venue 2Soup at Veggie Venue 2

Veggie Venue 1 – “Sai Gon”; Bui Vien St. – district 1

The order of these eateries are not in any order.  If anything, the order is semi-chronological (in the sense of the order in which I went to the place and gathered info and photos, etc).

This isn’t the first eatery with vegetarian food that i have tried, but it is the most recent one, so I will start with it.

NAME: “Sai Gon – The Spiritual Vegetarian”

LOCATION: 138 Bui Vien Street;

(Pham Ngu Lao (backpacker’s) area of District 1)

A View of "Sai Gon" from the Street

This place, in fact, isn’t strictly veggie.  That doesn’t bother me so much, so I tried the veggie spring-rolls.  I really liked them.  I didn’t try anything more because of a lack of time and wasn’t all that hungry.  Below is a pic of the dish after i had already eaten a bit.  After the pic, I devoured the whole plate.

Sai Gon's Veggie Spring Rolls

I imagine that I will be trying more dishes here in the future.  I might add info here after that.  If you have eaten here and want to add anything,  please add a comment or mail me.  Thanks!

Below is the veggie part of the menu.  There are plenty of other meatless offerings outside of the veggie section as well (like pasta and pizza just as an example).

the “SaiGon Vegetarian” Blog Begins….

My name is Glenn.  I only recently moved to Ho Chi Minh City and I am sure there are many local vietnamese as well as ex-pats who know more about vegetarianism here than I do.  Nevertheless, I hope you find my present and future escapades and info gathering about being vegetarian in Saigon (and VietNam as a whole) to be informative — whether you’re a tourist passing through, someone new in town, or a long-term resident that just doesn’t have the time to figure this stuff out for yourself, or even simply a vegetarian interested in Asia.

My 20+ years as a vegetarian (borderline Vegan), and my geographic approach may help make this blog worth following for you — whether you are a veggie, or a food-lover in Vietnam, or someone simply interested in all topics vietnamese, or even a geographer… or maybe even just an old friend of mine.

I plan to have 4 main types of blog entries here:

1) Reviews plus info and photos about places to eat in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) — this means vegetarian restaurants and stands/bars as well as regular places with large veggie sections on their menus.  Many of these reviews will be of “Com Chay” food bars — the cheap no-meat streetside cafe/bars of sort.

2) Discussion and description of the cuisine, vegetables, ingredients, cooking, etc.

3) My experiences here as a vegetarian — including pointers of how to eat here and what you need to know to keep your veggie diet a veggie diet.

4)  Data lists which i will update and add to as i find out more (including from comments from my readers!  One of these lists will be a list of vegetarian restaurants and Com Chay locales.  This list, I think, will be an important one.  I hope you will help me with it if you are a vegetarian in SaiGon!

"Com Chay' Sign at Streetside (Veggie Food Joint)