How to Eat Vegan with Vietnamese Cuisine, Cooking, and Authentic Dishes

What vegan ingredients are used in Vietnamese cooking?

When you eat Vietnamese, you get to pull from a lot of vegan foods including things like rice, broth, herbs, noodles, and more. The great thing about the way Vietnamese people cook is the taste is all based around anything but meat. A lot of it is fresh so you’re really relying on the vegetables to come through or alternatively, spices or herbs to cut through on a broth, or a manufactured sauce. The combination of different elements is very common in this style of cooking and preparation which opens the door for a lot of vegan creativity.

Why is Vietnamese food so delicious and diverse?

Vietnamese cuisine comes from a mix of French and homegrown cultures. Once under French colonial rule, you have classic French cooking popping up here and there, a strong culture of street food, and lots of influence from what’s available either by the land of farmers or by sea. Vietnamese families eat a wide array of dishes, all prepared with the philosophy of balance. Nothing’s ever too spicy, too oily, too fattening, or too much of anything. Carbs, protein, salt, and everything’s given out in appropriate serving sizes, all in a series of portioned dishes.

Can you use meat substitutes in Vietnamese cooking?

Asian cooking as a whole has been using supplementary plant-based meats or tofu for years. Vietnamese cooking can involve using tofu as a meat substitute, spicing it and preparing it identical to how one would prepare meat in the same position. If you desire a fish sauce, there are also recipes available to create a plant-based fish sauce mimic. There are so many savory vegetables and spices that one can use to create or implement meat substitutes that there’s literally no longer any reason to be continuing to eat meat.

Is veganism or vegetarianism popular in Vietnam?

Vietnam is similar to Canada in the sense that, until this past decade, veganism wasn’t so mainstream popular. If you visit Hanoi or other major Vietnamese cities, you will notice more restaurants that are strictly vegetarian come up. In urban hubs, more interest in vegan lifestyles exist. A younger crowd is moving in, attached with the eco-friendliness of not eating meat, perceived health benefits, and for ethical reasons. In Toronto, Vietnamese restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan meal options thankfully however few are strictly vegan.

Why Toronto Vietnamese restaurants rarely use ‘imitation meat’

If you’re vegan, chances are you don’t want to be eating anything close to meat. In North America, imitation meat products like Impossible and Beyond Meat are very popular but they’re heavily processed. They’re not all-around considered to be very much healthier than the real thing. In Vietnamese cooking, imitation meat’s more likely to come in the form of tofu, tofu skin, gluten, or similar products, shaping them into mock shapes. The processing in Vietnamese vegan meats or vegan eating is minimal, something which remains in line with maintaining balance, freshness, and health.

What are some popular Vietnamese vegan foods?

When you eliminate things like meat and seafood, there are still a lot of surprisingly delicious Vietnamese foods vegan and vegetarian-style to appreciate. Here are just a few of what we think are some of the best vegan Vietnamese meals.

• Banh khoai tay chien are deep fried potato cakes. You make sweet potato, coconut, and green beans together, and cook it just like you would an egg in a pan. It’s usually served with peanut sauce or other spices.
• Xoi chay, otherwise known as sticky rice, is one such dish and can be served with things like chickpeas, coconut, sugar, mushrooms, broccoli, pepper, red chili and onion.
• Che troi nuac is a rice dumpling, filled with bean paste and cooked in a sweet ginger syrup. Served hot, it’s an absolute delicious dessert that can be topped with white sesame or served with coconut milk.
• Dau sot ca chua is probably the closest thing there is to an ‘authentic Vietnamese vegetarian dish’. It uses yellow tofu pieces with slices of tomato, green onion, and Vietnamese herbs.
• Banh mi chay is the vegan equivalent of banh mi, which is a French style baguette filled with tofu or cheese. The baguette can also be filled with vegetable salad.
• Rau muong xao toi is an extremely healthy dish using fresh water spinach, and then frying it with garlic and Vietnamese herbs. It’s topped with a peanut powder afterwards. This is a favourite in Vietnamese restaurants back home.
• Cai xao nam involves frying bok choy with shitake mushrooms and is usually served with steamy sticky rice with pieces of tofu.

How to eat vegan with Vietnamese cuisine is easy, when you have the right recipes, available ingredients, and cooking preparation in place. It’s never been more possible to eat vegan or vegetarian. Some of the freshest herbs, veggies, and spices to touch the plate in any cuisine are readily available to be used in Vietnamese cooking!