Fig and mushroom salad in An Nhien Restaurant. Photo by An Nhien Garden Vegetarian
The cultural context of veganism in Hue
Vietnam’s culture is shaped by Buddhism and has a deep root in Confucianism beliefs. So it's normal for Vietnamese to have two days or four days per month (on the new moon and full moon days) of having plant-based food. Local people view making and eating vegan food as the practice of cleansing the mind and the body, getting closer to salvation, and reducing the suffering of other species.
Vegan culture in Hue. Photo by San May Restaurant
Hue's culinary culture features the most delicate and sophisticated dishes as it used to serve royalty. Under the Nguyen dynasty’s reign in Hue, Buddhism in Vietnam thrived to its utmost glory. That’s why nowadays there are so many local people still keep the Buddhist practice of their families and cherish the art of Vietnamese plant-based cuisine.
Besides being the national flower, the lotus is also the essence of Vietnam’s vegan food. Hue has grown delicious lotus, in which flowers, leaves, seeds, seed buds, and roots are all helpful in food making. These lotus parts are used for making different kinds of food, tea, and natural remedies.
An Nhien Special Hotpot in An Nhien Restaurant. Photo by An Nhien Garden Vegetarian
The energy elements in Vietnam's vegan food
While in Western countries, people care about the nutritional content of each ingredient, in Asia, locals find balance in the energy of food combinations to nurture and heal the body. The Yin & Yang energy of food is considered key to maintaining a balanced and healthy body, and mind. Asian pay attention to the combination of the ingredients. The way of cooking is also monitored closely to ensure the tastiness of the dish and the individual’s health.
The vegan restaurants in Hue assure customers of a peaceful vibe, close-to-nature space, and good quality of service. Sitting in the open gardens or the local signature design of Hue’s kingpost wooden houses, the zen energy, and rustic feel are the vibe here.
Here are the finest places to have a vegan meal once coming to the ancient capital city:
The spacious garden of An Nhien Restaurant. Photo by An Nhien Garden Vegetarian
An Nhien Garden Vegetarian
This is a newly opened restaurant since 2021. The aim of the place is to create a space for not only enjoying nourishing food but a space for spending valuable time with beloved ones.
The restaurant rests on a spacious 500-year-old garden, an ideal space for both small and big group of customers. They occasionally host live music performances and pre-booked vegetarian (vegan) parties.
The garden is a displacement space of big paintings, sculptures, and natural stones. The architectural style of the place under the influnce of Japanese garden with outdoor and indoor seats. The space is elegant and suitable for dining during both day and night.
The menu has a reasonable number of selections with both oriental and western influences plates. For each dish, there is a picture with a clear description of the ingredients, their health benefit, the story or ideas behind the dish, and the level of spiciness. They also offer delicate local desserts such as rainbow tapioca desserts and king bean sweet soup.
Pomelon salad t in An Nhien Restaurant. Photo by An Nhien Garden Vegetarian
Must-try ones in this restaurant include An Nhien spring rolls, Grilled Herbal Button Mushroom, and An Nhien Special Hotpot. The spring rolls delightfully evoke your appetite, then the mushroom dish treat you with its natural sweetness. Your tastebud will be fulfilled by the savory of the grilled mushroom and the completion of the special homemade sauce. Besides, selected local wines and imported wines are also on the menu.
Note that on busy occasions such as holidays of Buddhism important days, make sure to book the place beforehand.
Opening hours: 7 a.m - 9 p.m
Phone: 094 810 60 66
Price range: 65.000 - 335.000 VND/ dish
Must-try dish: An Nhien spring rolls, Grilled Herbal Button Mushroom, An Nhien Special Hotpot
The space in Hoa Vien Restaurant. Photo by Hoa Vien Restaurant
Hoa Vien is conveniently located in the city center, on one of the Walking Street main roads. Although the space isn’t so spacious, it brings a clean, bright, and well-ventilated feeling for dinners.
The notable thing is its diverse menu with many choices of cuisines, from local specials, such as vegan versions of noodles across the country; oriental plates, such as vegan Kimbap, Korean, and Thai noodles; to Western plates such as French Fries, Vegetable Pizza, etc. Besides the appetizers and main dishes, they also provide a considerable amount of desserts, and drinks, including smoothies, juices, teas, and bottled drinks.
The dishes in Hoa Vien. Photo by Hoa Vien Restaurant
Although the service isn't exellent, they got decent one with fast and friendly staffs, and a reasonable waiting time for the meal. The must-try dishes are local salads, which are Hue Fig with mushroom salad and banana flower salad. Trying them will give you a glimpse into the favorite flavors of the Vietnamese rural and how people balance out their daily diets.
Opening hours: 7 a.m - 9 p.m
Phone: 0234 3849 300
Price range: 35.000 - 80.000 VND/dish
Must-try dish: Hue fig with mushroom salad, banana flower salad
Sala restaurant in the city center. Photo by Sala Restaurant
This one is an inexpensive dining place, though the serving capacity is relatively huge and the speed of service can be listed as fast. They offer yummy food with big potion and very reasonable price. The menu is typical Vietnamese vegan plates with noodles and main dishes made with local ingredients. They also offer a drink menu with coffee, smoothies, juices, and bottled drinks.
The easily accessible location, fast speed of service, and reasonable pricing are the plus points for those who want to get into the local vegan preference of most people in Hue.
Courses in Sala restauran. Photo by Sala Restaurant
Address: 4 Phan Boi Chau, Vinh Ninh Ward, Hue city
Opening hours: 6 a.m - 9:30 p.m
Phone: 036 3190430
Price range: 20.000 - 55.000 VND/dish
Must-try dish: Stir-fried vermicelli with mushroom
Local taste of vegan food in Thanh Lieu. Photo by Thanh Lieu Restaurant
This place is among the first vegan restaurants in the city, which is locally well-known. The cheap pricing with simple yet delicious vegan food is the thing that keeps locals coming back. This restaurant is visited mostly by locals and visitors who accidentally pass by the area. The location is near the center, so it’s easy to get to the restaurant from the walking street just by walking. However, due to the location, the space is quite small compared to others.
One of the must-try dishes is Thanh Lieu fried rice and the vegan versions of local leafy cake and dumplings. This is because those dishes are the top favorite of local people when they have a vegan meal, and Thanh Lieu restaurant is the space that offers the authentic taste of local life.
A very cheap rice dish in Thanh Lieu. Photo by Thanh Lieu Restaurant
Address: 50 Nguyen Cong Tru, Phu Hoi Ward, Hue city
Opening hours: 7 a.m - 8 p.m
Phone: 0782 671 049
Price range: 6.000 - 50.000 VND/dish
Must try dish: Fried rice, leaf cakes and dumplings
San May green space. Photo by San May
San May have a nice and quite spacious garden space, on the outskirt of the city in the well-known Vy Da village. Stepping into the space is entering a typical garden house of Hue’s local. The quiet space with the interior and outdoor design will immediately leave you with the impression of an Oriental Buddishm space for transcendence and mindfulness.
Bun Rieu in San May. Photo by San May Restaurant
The menu comprises mostly Vietnamese dishes with clear images and English names for each dish. The big plus points are the reasonable price, the taste, and the quality of food, which are among the best ones in town (even compared to Hoa Vien or Sala, this restaurant offers more quality dishes in terms of nutrition and taste). However, the only minus point of this restaurant is its lagging and unprofessional customer service.
Must-try dishes in San May include Bun Rieu (Vegan Crab paste vermicelli) and Fig salad. This salad dish is typically familiar in the central area of Vietnam, especially HUe, as you travel in the city, you will notice people grow fig trees in almost any garden house.
San May at night. Photo by San May Restaurant
Address: 8 Thanh Tinh, Vy Da Ward, Hue city
Opening hours: 7 a.m - 8:30 p.m
Price range: 20.000 - 120.000 VND/dish
Must-try dish: Vegan Crab paste vermicelli, Figs with mushroom salad
Note that all the listed restaurants offer separate breakfast menus with selections of noodles and they don’t serve the rest of the big menu at least before 10 a.m.