Looking for the most delicious Saigon vegan food? There are so many vegan options in Ho Chi Minh City — but it can be hard to find them when you’re new to town. This guide will help you uncover hidden vegan delights including street food, traditional Vietnamese food, and Western options.
- How to Find Vegan Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
- A Note About Getting Around Saigon
- Top Picks! Our 3 Favourite Saigon Vegan Meals
- Vegan Street Food & Markets in Saigon
- Vegan Vietnamese Fast Food (Quan Chay)
- Saigon Vegan Vietnamese Restaurants (Nha Hang)
- International Vegan Food in Ho Chi Minh City
- Saigon Craft Breweries with Vegan Options
- Vegan Tours & Activities in Ho Chi Minh City
- Get Your Free Guide to Vegan Vietnam
- More Help Planning Your Vietnam Adventure
When we first came to Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon, as it is often called), we were a bit depressed by the vegan scene, possibly because we had just come from Canggu in Bali, which is a virtual vegan paradise.
Luckily, we’ve had the chance to spend lots of time in Saigon and to watch the vegan scene change and grow. Even so, the best animal-friendly food is often hidden away and the vegan delights reveal themselves slowly, like a lotus flower unfolding.
We wrote this guide to fast-track your vegan journey in the city, so you can discover the best animal-friendly eats without searching high and low! You should also read our guide to vegan food in Vietnam so you can find your own vegan delights as you travel.
How to Find Vegan Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
Part of the problem with finding vegan food in Saigon is that restaurants don’t always show up on Google or TripAdvisor if you search for “vegan food”. This is because lots of places cater to locals, so they don’t have listings in English, or don’t have listings at all.
There are a few terms you can search for or look for as you tour the city that will help.
Chay: This is the key word that you need to know. It means vegan or sometimes vegetarian. If you pronounce it with a different inflection, it means fire, so at times it can be tough to get your message across.
Com Chay: Literally means “rice vegetarian” but you will see it at vegan hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve plates of rice with a selection of pre-made dishes of the day.
Quan Chay: A small restaurant, often air-conditioned, that serves vegan food from a menu at budget prices. Sometimes restaurants are Quan Com Chay, meaning they have a menu and pre-made foods.
Nha Hang Chay: Slightly nicer and more expensive restaurant that offers vegan food from a menu.
A Note About Getting Around Saigon
Most visitors to Ho Chi Minh City stay in District 1, either in the backpacker area around Bui Vien street or near the city centre around Pasteur Street. This is where you’ll find most of our vegan recommendations.
District 2 is home to many of Saigon’s expats and middle-class locals, so there are lots of eating options there as well — some of them totally worth hopping on a Grab Bike to try out.
In this guide, we mark each restaurant D1 or D2 so you know approximately where you’ll find it.
Vegan Cooking Classes in Saigon!
Want to learn to make amazing vegan Vietnamese food? Yes! Who doesn’t? Taking a vegan cooking class in Saigon will let you bring all the tasty treats you eat home with you.
Top Picks! Our 3 Favourite Saigon Vegan Meals
Don’t miss our tips on vegan travel around the world.
Com Chay Mani
Vegan hole-in-the-wall, D1
This little restaurant has been a mainstay of our vegan eating in Ho Chi Minh City since we first came here 5 years ago. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Bui Vien Street (backpacker street) but totally worth it.
As with most Com Chay places, Mani Chay serves plates heaping with rice and pre-prepared dishes of the day. But they also make freshly prepared food from their menu which covers all of the Vietnamese favourites.
We have eaten almost everything here and it is always great. But our favourite is the Banh Xeo, a humongous traditional Vietnamese pancake (something like a dosa), stuffed with mushrooms, bean sprouts, and tofu.
At Mani, they serve the Banh Xeo with rice paper wraps and piles of fresh herbs so you can wrap your own spring rolls.
Yum, so good!
What we ate: We’ve had almost everything on their menu but if you’re new to Vietnamese food, go for the Banh Xeo (warning, it’s huge) and the Pho.
Vegan restaurant in Saigon city centre, D1
Our other long-time favourite in Saigon is Bong Sung. It’s a little more upscale than Mani Chay, but it’s not overly snooty and has decent prices. Very near the city centre, Bong Sung is the perfect lunch or dinner place after you visit some of HCMC’s biggest attractions, like the War Remnants Museum and the Post Office.
Bong Sung attracts mostly middle-class Vietnamese people and we hardly ever see foreigners there. It is almost always busy, a testament to the delicious food. They offer a wide variety of noodle soups and curries — Vietnamese cuisine is more than just Pho! The rest of the menu is various stir fries, spring rolls, summer rolls, hot pots, and other typical Vietnamese dishes.
For an inexpensive lunch or breakfast, go for the Rice Noodle Soup and the Curry, which are both extraordinarily flavourful and filling for just few dollars.
By the way, Bong Sung can be a little hard to find. Once you arrive at the address, you need to go down a little alley where a few local street food places will be preparing various meaty dishes. About 25 metres back, you’ll see the door for Bong Sung on your left. Climb the stairs and you’re there.
What we ate: We’ve eaten a huge range of dishes here over the years. I keep coming back for the noodle soups but the curry we had was great, too.
Vegan cheese maker, D2
A new entry into our vegan favourites in Ho Chi Minh City list, Kashew Cheese is the place to go if you’re craving a European style sandwich.
While I normally hate vegan cheese — it always seems to be too oily and too chewy, and leaves me feeling bloated and generally yucky — Kashew Cheese is a different (much better) beast!
The cheese is made with locally sourced cashews and fermented and aged using traditional cheese-making methods. This gives it a nice creamy texture and tons of flavour, without being oily.
The beautiful sandwiches are made on crunchy French baguette and stuffed full of colourful fresh veggies and crumbles of the terrific cashew cheese. This place is representative of the direction that vegan Saigon is headed — much more sophisticated than the traditional mock meats ‘n’ noodles of the old days.
If you’re heading out to District 2 or are curious to try a local vegan cheese, don’t miss Kashew!
What we ate: Two baguette sandwiches, both equally delish!
Vegan Street Food & Markets in Saigon
There are not a lot of options for vegans when it comes to street food in Ho Chi Minh City. Everything seems to have a dab of pork fat or hunks of grilled meat or seafood in it. Heck, even the smoothies are made with condensed milk! But here are a few suggestions if you want a cheap, quick meal on the street.
Quan Chay Sala / Sala Vegetarian
Vegan Banh Mi street cart
As with many of the vegan restaurants in Saigon, we would never have known about Sala Vegetarian if we hadn’t spotted it on one of our many Grab Bike journeys. Stephen loves Banh Mi, so when we saw the cart out front, we immediately started making plans for a breakfast trip.
Their banh mi starts with perfectly crisp french bread and is stuffed full of mock meats, crispy tofu, fresh herbs and veggies. The smoky barbecue sauce gives it the final satisfying flavour. One sandwich costs 20,000 VND (less than $1 USD), so you might as well get two.
What we ate: Banh mi for days (we came back twice). They also have an air-conditioned restaurant with a full menu of Vietnamese delights that we did not get to try.
Central Market / Asiana Food Market
Omnivore indoor food court with vegan options
This is a big indoor market in the centre of the park off of Pham Ngu Lao. When they were building Asiana Food Market, we thought it was supposed to be another market for tourists — and I suspect the developers did too. They must be surprised to find that it attracts hordes of Vietnamese people who want to sample the wide range of Vietnamese and International flavours in a clean and air-conditioned comfort.
There is not a ton for vegans here, but look for the few stalls displaying the green leaf-shaped signs that say “Co Mon Chay / Vegan Food”. We found some vegan Vietnamese selections at Nanna’s and Indian vegetarian food at Shanti.
Vegans who want to try traditional Vietnamese dessert should visit Chè Viet, which serves a grass jelly and tapioca dessert with coconut milk.
What we ate: Masala dosa from Shanti — dosa tasted just right but wasn’t as big or crispy as we like them.
Ben Thành Street Food Market
Omnivore tourist street food market with vegan options
Like the Asiana Food Market, BenThanh Street Food Market is a good place to try street food with a little assurance that the vendors are clean and using fresh ingredients. Wandering the market is a rather meaty experience, so you need to put your blinders on if you’re sensitive to the sights and smells of animals being cooked.
But if you can brave it, there are some good veggie opportunities.
Banh Xeo Em Oi serves a vegan Banh Xeo stuffed with oyster mushrooms. Various stalls have veggie pho, veggie spring rolls, and veggie noodles. There is also Indian food available though they may use ghee to cook the food.
What we ate: We have still never eaten here as there are just too many similar places to try!
Vegan Vietnamese Fast Food (Quan Chay)
Pho Chay Nhu
Vegan hole-in-the-wall near Jade Emporer Pagoda, D1
To experience a traditional Saigon neighbourhood and a true local’s eatery, Pho Chay Nhu is perfect. This is a family-run shop in one of Saigon’s many alley neighbourhoods, where you can see what local life is really like.
They serve dishes of the day with rice, or noodle and soup bowls by order. They have about 8 menu items, posted on the wall in Vietnamese. Though I’m pretty well-versed in Vietnamese food items, I had no idea what most of them were, so we just chose one Pho Chay and one Bun Hue.
On each table, a plate full of deep-fried wontons are there for a little crunchy snack while you’re waiting for your soup. We both had a few too many of these because they were soooo good!
What we ate: Pho Chay — a great traditional Pho noodle soup with amazingly flavourful broth, perfectly cooked noodles, lots of mushrooms, and a few mock meats. Bun Hue — thicker noodles, kind of like spaghetti, and a darker broth, with lots of mock beef and other meats.
Inexpensive vegan cafe in city centre, D1
We don’t know exactly when Mang’s Mania popped up but it’s great to have a yummy lunch spot right downtown in District 1. This small cafe is popular with Vietnamese office workers on their lunch break, so if you go between 12 and 1:30pm, you can expect it to be busy.
They serve a daily changing menu that offers two or three noodle soup bowls and a half-dozen different rice sets (plates of rice with accompanying tofu and veggies). On our first day there, they even had a Buddha Bowl with tempeh, which is a rare sighting in Vietnam.
The food was very tasty and good enough that we went back a couple of days later.
What we ate: Bun Rieu — a clear noodle soup made with tomatoes and tofu. Bun Cha — dry noodle bowl with a light sauce and deep fried spring rolls. Rice Set — perfectly prepared brown rice, so flavourful that it was delicious even on its own, fresh fried mushrooms, side of greens.
Homefood Market and Bistro
Buddhist macrobiotic vegan cafe in city centre, D1
It’s a casual restaurant, which attracts local office workers. They have fried noodles dishes, various Vietnamese salads featuring grated fruits or veggies. The food was really good, though a little unexciting, probably because they adhere to some macrobiotic principles, which means no garlic, onions, and other items that are usually used to flavour vegan food.
Homefood also has a small market selling organic dry goods, like rice, noodles, and spices.
What we ate: Papaya salad — fresh and citrusy, not too spicy. Mushroom fritters — crunchy deep-fried goodness. Noodle tofu stir fry — unexciting but filling dish.
Saigon Vegan Vietnamese Restaurants (Nha Hang)
Nha Hang Chay Ba Xa
Extra yummy vegan restaurant, D1
On our latest visit to HCMC, our homestay was right around the corner from Ba Xa, so we decided to drop in. And wow, we’re so glad we did!
This is a casual but comfortable restaurant that attracts, at least on the night we were there, young Vietnamese couples.
They offers Chinese and Japanese influenced dishes cooked in claypots or on Teppanyaki plates. Our food was just plain delicious, with complex flavours and textures that left us wanting more.
What we ate: Teppanyaki vegan fish — a layer of soy-based flaky ‘fish’ wrapped in seaweed and baked until crispy. Sichuan eggplant — soft, spicy, and bursting with flavour. Steamed chayote (a Vietnamese green) — perfectly prepared with a green pepper sauce that elevated the greens into something unique and wonderful.
Au Lac Healthy Vegetarian
Vegan mega buffet!! Weekends only.
There are times when you wander into something so outrageously insane that you feel you must be hallucinating. That’s how I felt when we stumbled upon the Au Lac Healthy Vegetarian buffet.
Not being fans of buffet or all-you-can-eat, we decided to take a quick look at the buffet for curiosity’s sake and then go downstairs to order off the menu. We climbed the ostentatious staircase into a dining hall so large you could easily hold a Vietnamese wedding there (Vietnamese weddings are huge).
The entire wall space in this hall was lined with hundreds of dishes — and no, I am not exaggerating. Not only have I never seen a vegan buffet this big, I’ve never seen any kind of buffet this big.
There were hot dishes featuring every kind of mock meat on the planet, including pork, beef, goat, chicken and several kinds of fish. There were deep-fried spring rolls in every shape and flavour, a range of sushi so real-looking I did a double-take, lots of soups, sticky rice in about 8 different flavours, and so many weird dishes I couldn’t keep them straight.
Let’s just say, if you’ve never tried pork floss, Au Lac is your cruelty free opportunity.
After seeing this vegan abundance, we abandoned our plans to eat off the menu. For 200,000 VND ($8 USD) we thought we’d better experience the world’s biggest (to our knowledge) vegan buffet.
Fair warning: Though the experience was extraordinary and well worth the money, the food was more weird than good — so go in with a healthy sense of humour and adventure.
What we ate: A little bit of everything.
Upscale vegan restaurant in 3 locations
If you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion or just a nice night out with family or your partner, join the ranks of the Vietnamese middle-class at Hum Vegetarian.
They have a wide selection of Vietnamese vegan dishes, mostly featuring fresh veggies, an amazing array of mushrooms, and tofu.
The menu is slightly confusing in that they have some items which are labelled vegan even though the whole menu is vegan. Our waiter clarified that the “vegan” items are actually Buddhist vegan, that is without garlic, chilies, onions and a few other flavourful no-nos.
Unfortunately, you pay a lot for the atmosphere at Hum — a small dinner for two cost us $40 without alcohol, which is very expensive for Vietnam.
What we ate: We’ve eaten here a few times and tried a big variety of dishes. They are all good, so you really can’t go wrong.
Pi Vegetarian Bistro
Vegetarian bistro with Asian dishes, in D3 near War Remnants Museum
Sister restaurant to Prem Bistro, Pi Vegetarian has a huge range of Asian dishes from spring, summer, and autumn rolls, to green mango salad, stir-fried tofu, banh xeo, curry and more. Like Prem, Pi is a little more upscale than many restaurants offering similar fare, and the prices reflect that.
Vegans will find lots to eat on the menu, even though some dishes include milk or eggs.
What we ate: We didn’t get a chance to eat at Pi on our latest trip to HCMC but local friends tell us that the food and atmosphere are both very good.
Vegan restaurant in backpacker area, D1
A humble restaurant that has been just on the edge of the backpacker district forever, Sen Vegetarian offers all the standard Vietnamese dishes in vegan form. We’ve only been there once a few years ago, so can’t say exactly what the food is like these days but reviews are consistently good.
They also make vegan banh mi on the street in the mornings.
Buddhist vegetarian hidden away in D2
This leafy restaurant on a side street in District 2 (across the highway from the main D2 expat area) was a nice surprise. Metta has your typical array of vegan Vietnamese food including soup noodle bowls, stir fried veggies, mock meats and tofu, and rolls.
They also have a huge range of healing teas, smoothies, and juices, each with explanations about what the particular drink is supposed to cure. So if you have a malady, why not try drinking a healing tea?
Almost everything on the menu here is vegan aside from a few egg and yogurt dishes.
What we ate: Bun Cha — bowl of rice noodles with salad, flavourful mock pork belly, and crispy spring rolls. Deconstructed Bun Cha — I don’t remember the Vietnamese name but this dish came on a bamboo plate with little rolls of thin rice noodles, a big helping of mock pork belly, and fresh herbs to wrap it up.
International Vegan Food in Ho Chi Minh City
Vegan international fusion near the botanical gardens
This is one of those destination restaurants that you have to plan for, since it’s not near much of anything that you, as a vegan traveller, would visit.
Having said that, Organik House is well worth dialing up a Grab car and making your way over for an organic powerhouse of a meal. They have an ever-changing menu that depends on whatever the talented chef feels like cooking.
If you’re in town at the right moment, you might even be able to take advantage of a special menu, like their vegan soul food brunch. Yum!
What we ate: Admittedly, it was quite some time ago that we last made it to Organik house, so the exact items we ordered escape me. I seem to remember an exceptional plate of pasta though!
Prem Bistro & Cafe
Vegetarian bistro with Western dishes
If you’re craving vegan International-fusion food in a homey setting, make the trip to Prem Vegetarian Bistro. It’s a little pricier than most of the places on this list but you pay for the quality of the raw ingredients and the sheer scale of the menu.
They offer dishes inspired by cultures around the world, including Mexican, Italian, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, and North American dishes. From curry to burgers to pasta and pizza, Prem will fill your belly.
Vegans will find lots to eat on the menu, even though some dishes include milk or eggs.
It’s in a slightly awkward location, half way between the backpacker district and the city centre but it’s worth the 15-minute walk (or 5-minute Grab Bike ride to check it out).
What we ate: Tempeh Burger and Sweet Potato & Red Quinoa Salad — both freshly prepared, flavourful and healthy. Though Prem didn’t rock our world, it did make a nice change from the everyday food in Saigon.
Classic vegan comfort food
If you’re in Vietnam for a while, there might come a time when you can’t look another tomato tofu or bowl of noodle soup in the face. Filthy Vegan was made for just such a time.
With bangers and mash, fish and chips, cottage pie and other British greatest hits on the menu, Brits will feel like they’ve made a quick trip back home. There’s also a wide range of American comfort food like burgers, fries and hot dogs, plus a few Mexican favourites just to round out the International vibe.
Unlike many vegan restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, which use packaged mock meats, all of the meat substitutes at Filthy Vegan are made in-house.
What we ate: Bangers and mash — classic dark Bisto-style gravy over tasty sausages made from an in-house secret recipe. We love some intrigue! Fish n chips — light flaky not-fish wrapped in seaweed and a thick crunchy batter, which was a little on the heavy side but still very good. Donut and brownies — not the absolute best ever but very good for vegan dessert in Asia!
Omnivore pizza joint with lots of vegan options, in D2
With two whole pages of vegan pizzas and pastas on their menu, we couldn’t pass up the chance to support 365Degrees Pizzas vegan offerings.
All the vegan pizzas come topped with locally made nut cheese from Kashew Cheese. The texture of the melted cheese is very good, as is the flavour — and it’s not oily and rubbery like so many vegan cheeses.
The pizza crust, cooked inside a wood-fired oven, was chewy and had a great sourdough flavour. Not quite up to Italian pizza standards but for a vegan pizza in Asia, very satisfying.
What we ate: Pizza with eggplant and mushrooms — featuring cubed eggplants and Asian mushrooms, this was sort of a fusion pizza with a delicious helping of Kashew Cheese. Pizza with pesto, mushrooms, and truffle oil — oil came on the side for dipping, which gave it extra truffly flavour.
Omnivore Thai food with veggie menu, in D2
This friendly little Thai cafe has a decent selection of Thai standards, like Pad Thai, curries, and other noodle stir fries. It was only by accident that discovered that Thai Street has a vegetarian menu, so make sure to ask for it when you arrive. The portions are big and the food satisfying, if not exactly what you might find in Thailand.
You can find this Thai cafe along a series of bending hallways behind Snap Cafe in District 2. Just follow the signs to Thai Street.
What we ate: Pad Thai — good texture, big portions, could have used more sauce. Pad See Ew — great thick noodles with tasty sauce.
Saigon Craft Breweries with Vegan Options
We’ve added this special section because we were so glad to see that along with the craft beer explosion in Ho Chi Minh City, there has been a noticeable uptick in vegan food options. Especially at craft breweries, where menus are VERY meat heavy, it’s nice to see a nod to the animal-friendly eaters out there.
Though not a brewery itself, Bia Craft was one of the sparks that led to the explosion of the craft beer scene in Saigon.
Bia Craft was born out of an American BBQ restaurant Quan Ut Ut, so we were happy to see a sign in their window for the Beyond Meat Burger! It’s only in a few of their locations for now but should be rolling out to all of them soon.
One of the first craft breweries in Vietnam, Pasteur Street has been our go-to spot for great craft beer for several years. We were thrilled to see that they’ve added a jackfruit vegan burger to their menu!
While neither of us is a big jackfruit fan, we both really liked the texture and barbecue flavour of this house-made burger.
Vegan Tours & Activities in Ho Chi Minh City
Vegan Scooter Tour
It’s almost the law that while in Ho Chi Minh City, you should get on the back of a scooter to experience the city like the locals do. On this food tour, you’ll get to mix in a little sightseeing and a lot of food tasting, enjoying local vegan foods you may never find on your own. Don’t worry, you won’t need to drive your own scooter — your guides and drivers are all local women!
Vegan Walking Tour
If you’re too freaked out to get on the back of a scooter, then a vegan walk in Saigon is the next best thing. This tour is guided by a young Saigonese couple who eat a plant-based diet and know the local vegan hotspots. You’ll get to taste an entirely different side of the city and find out what it’s like to be a vegan living in Vietnam.
Vegan Cooking Classes
One of the best ways to make the memories of your trip last long after you return home is to learn to cook the local food. There are tons of cooking classes in Ho Chi Minh City and many of them offer a vegan option. Not only will you learn to cook the local favourites but you’ll also come away with a deeper understanding of the complicated Vietnamese relationship to food.
Get Your Free Guide to Vegan Vietnam
No More Hunger Pangs!
The guide includes interactive & printable maps to vegan Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. Exactly what you need when you’re hungry in Vietnam.
More Help Planning Your Vietnam Adventure
Of all the countries we’ve travelled, we’ve been to Vietnam the most. Because of that, we have tons of guides to help you have the most amazing adventure ever while you’re here.
We hope this post helps you find some great vegan meals while you’re in Ho Chi Minh City. Our goal is to help you break out of your comfort zone, expand your horizons, and have an unforgettable and truly transformational trip! Give us a shout by email or on Instagram if you need any more advice about Vietnam.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
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