Hoi An, Vietnam competes with my beloved Chiang Mai, Thailand for my number one spot in Southeast Asia for many reasons–the beach, affordability, ease of transportation, and most importantly the insane array of plant-based food. After spending two months in the quaint coastal town I can confidently present you with the ultimate guide to the best vegan and vegetarian food in Hoi An.
Vegans will rejoice when they come to Hoi An as they’ll have dining options around every corner due partially to devout Buddhist who follow vegetarian diets and western expats who are vegan and have opened up shop in Hoi An. Sorry Chiang Mai, but Hoi An is the best vegan foodie town in Southeast Asia. Hoi An was even better than my perusal of the best plant-based food in Chiang Mai or Saigon because I got to share most of these delicious vegan meals with incredible ladies-many of which are vegan or vegetarian in Hoi An long-term.
This complete guide to the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An includes my favorite cooking veggie class, vegan food tour, and all the places I ate–including those I still dream about and those that weren’t so great. This guide will help you have the best vegan travel experience in Hoi An. To get the know-how on local Vietnamese terminology to learn please read the Saigon vegan guide. Remember, in Vietnamese, there’s not a word for vegan so chay means vegetarian. So, in Vietnam, you’ll have to specify that you don’t consume eggs, milk, honey, butter, cheese, etc.
THE VERY BEST VEGAN FOOD TOUR IN HOI AN
Ok, to be fair, I’m not sure if there are any other vegan food tours in Hoi An. I think responsible travel operator Backstreet Academy may be the first to offer one–so bravo to them! As with any country, food varies quite a lot throughout different regions in Vietnam. To learn about local delicacies, ingredients, and food customs I went on the Vegan Street Food Tour in Hoi An with Backstreet Academy. To make the tour even better my sweet friend Rose of Where Goes Rose came along!
First and foremost in any city, you visit you must get to know the local vegan food. A vegan food tour is the best way to get acquainted with the best eateries and vegan dishes to try. I actually ended up living across the street from one of the local Buddhist chay places we visited. It’s such a tiny inconspicuous spot that I might have never gone there had I not been taken there on the food tour!
Our two local guides, one fully vegetarian, the other only on full moon days, zip us off on the back of their motorbikes to our first local vegan foodie stop–Tam Quang Minh which is a bit out of town (Google Maps). We tried a few dishes made of gooey rice patties. The dishes are called banh, which translates to cake! So, they’re rice flour cakes, but savory, not sweet. The first vegan dish, banh beo, was made with little round rice cakes that had been cooked in a banana leaf and then served with crispy rice and chili. The strange combination of textures and flavor was satisfying and refreshing.
The second vegan dish, banh cuon, was made up of strips of the rice cake with tiny specs of mushroom and carrot inside and eaten combined with greens, papaya, and tofu fish sauce. The bite-size portions our guides prepared for us were massive which was hilarious. I actually liked this dish but recommend you order it without fish mint….which is the worst plant on Earth. My favorite part was washing down these rice dishes with peanut tea, something I’d never tried before!
Funnily, the second location has the same name. At Tam Quang Minh (Google Maps) there’s an incredibly inexpensive com dia buffet offering or a menu to order from. We did that latter and shared two bowls of traditional wet noodles. We had my absolute favorite Hoianese vegan food, cao lau. The noodles are round and thick–reminiscent to an udon noodle, but more dense and chewy. The secret ingredient that makes the noodles so chewy is ash from one particular tree that grows on the Cham Islands and water from the Ba Le well in the beautiful Hoi An Ancient Town.
The vegan variety of cao lau is usually served with an assortment of make meats made from tofu. I really detest fake meat but Vietnamese really love it. Cao lau is sweet, sour, savory, and bitter. Vietnamese food aims to have all the flavors in order to appeal to all sense. We also had mi quang noodles here which were lovely but can’t compare to the magic that is cao lau. The Backstreet Academy vegan tour also took us to Nhan Duyen (Google Maps) for a vegan hotpot loaded with organic veggies and fruits and then to a roadside stall for warm soy milk–neither were very tasty to me but I’m glad I tried them!
LEARN HOW TO MAKE VEGAN VIETNAMESE FOOD AT A COOKING CLASS
If you ask any vegan or vegetarian who has been to Hoi An where their most memorable meal was there’s no doubt that they’ll gush about their love of the plant-based cuisine at Minh Hien. The family establishment was one of the first restaurants in Hoi An to serve vegan and vegetarian dishes made of organic veggies from Tra Que Garden. The whole foods are always MSG free, reasonably priced, and best of all–they’re one of the cheapest places in town to get fresh beer for about $.50 a glass! This is the best place in Hoi An to try vegan versions of local delicacies such as white rose. My favorite things on the menu are the various veggies grilled in banana leafs such as stuffed tofu, garlic eggplant, or mixed mushrooms.
I love to take a vegan cooking class whenever I’m in a new city in order to learn about how to create my favorite dishes and Minh Hien was the obvious choice of where to go. The half-day cooking class experience is vegan, although there are some vegetarian items on the regular menu. The cooking class at Minh Hien is so much more than just a class–it’s an introduction to culinary traditions from growing methods to local market treats.
We started our day with a lovely bike ride from the Hoi An Ancient Town to the beautiful Tra Que Island. Tra Que is an island covered in farmland where individual families have small plots that they tend to–each grown a different crop such as spring onion, loofah gourds, dill herbs, bok choy, morning glory, papaya, spinach, and much more.
In Tra Que, I finally learned about fish mint and which herb tastes like soap to me. It’s called row rum. Thankfully, it wasn’t cilantro–I love cilantro!
After learning about the organic farming methods and crops grown on Tra Que we biked back to town to the local market to learn how to decipher which veggies are the best to cook with and try some local treats.
I was thrilled to see that the sugarcane juice stall here served the sweet drink in reusable glass cups rather than plastic.
We also tried a local dish that combines thick coconut milk, various beans, cherries and more to create an odd dessert that’s hearty and decadent.
After all the cycling around Hoi An, we were ready for the cooking demonstration. Our local leader explained each ingredient to us as he used long wooden chopsticks to stir together the simple steps for a veggie soup, mushroom sauce, and tofu veggie clay pot. The informal lesson was mostly a demonstration as guests helped prep ingredients and participated in cooking. It was challenging to wrap up the ingredients for fried spring rolls into perfect little logs and fry tempura banana to just the right consistency.
My absolute favorite part of the class was learning how to cut eggplants into these delicate star shapes–I can never go back to eating plainly sliced eggplant again! It was pretty astonishing how quickly each of these dishes came together–even the eggplant cooked in banana leaf took less than 10 minutes.
There wasn’t a lot of food when shared by five guests but the American college girls I cooked with were quite ravenous. I was actually hungry after the class which has never happened to me before!
Each offers its own unique ambiance–my favorite is Minh Hien 3 due to its serene garden setting in the midst of the Hoi An Ancient Town. Some say the quality of the food varies but I found the amazing dishes to be consistent and ate multiple times at all three institutions. You’ll get to experience each Minh Hien location during the cooking class.
MAKE YOUR OWN VEGAN BREAKFAST IN HOI AN
I hardly ever ate out for breakfast in Hoi An as I’d hit up the local market at least once a week to purchase farm-fresh fruits such as dragon fruit, mango, passionfruit, mangosteen and more to create my own fruit bowls. The markets are where you’ll find the best prices for produce but you can also buy directly from the women who walk around with baskets of fruits.
STRICTLY VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS IN HOI AN
In Hoi An, it can be somewhat challenging to order vegan food at regular restaurants or even find vegetarian dishes as fish sauce is used heavily in most meals. For a safer bet dine at these strictly vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An.
HAVE A MEAL THAT GIVES BACK AT KARMA WATERS
Karma Waters (Google Maps) is a locally run charitable cafe that’s dedicated to serving the freshest vegan food in Hoi An and making a lasting impact on the local community. The menu at Karma Waters is fully vegan as per local Buddhist tendencies and exclusively uses local organic ingredients.
I love the turmeric rice at Karma Waters, soy banh mi, and banana leaf salad. There are a few western and Indian dishes on the menu as well. Karma Waters is slightly more costly than other vegan eateries in Hoi An but you may rest assured that your additional cents are going to a good cause.
Karma Waters has programs to supply healthy food to disadvantaged Vietnamese people in remote areas and in hospitals. They also fundraise to support medical assistance to poor patients and have a daily vegan community meal for just $.25 for those who don’t have the means to spend more on a meal.
EAT LOCAL VEGAN FOOD IN HOI AN AT A BUDDHIST BUFFET
Quan Chay Ba Dam (Google Maps) is my absolute favorite place for a vegan meal on a budget in Hoi An. The hole-in-the-wall has the very best cao lau–the portion size is massive and it cost less than $1. This local vegan foodie spot is hard to find as it’s located down a discreet tiny alleyway but it’s worth the search to eat at this Buddhist family-run restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese street food in vegan varieties. They do use fake meat though but never MSG.
I literally pig out whenever I’m here and do a buffet plate usually with morning glory, curried jackfruit, braised mushrooms, steamed corn, and fresh spring rolls along with a bowl of cao lau. The price varies each time but I’ve never paid more than 40k dong which is about $2.
THE BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT IN HOI AN
My favorite vegetarian restaurant in Hoi An is the locally owned Am Vegetarian (Google Maps) which was conveniently my neighbor when I was living at Greenlife. Am means “warm” in Vietnamese. The beautiful cafe is complete with murals and cozy couches. Am boasts has a massive menu of mostly vegan dishes but they do serve some items with egg so be sure to specify if eggs aren’t a part of your diet. What brought me back here daily were the mustard green fresh spring rolls and chilled morning glory salad. I’ve never had more flavorful raw veggie dishes in my life!
PIG OUT ON VEGAN COMFORT FOOD AT VEGAN BEETS
Much to my taste buds delight Vegan Beets (Google Maps) opened up down the block from Greenlife. The sweetest Australian couple runs the vegan joint after living in Hoi An for ages and missing comfort foods like lasagna, pizza, burgers, and more. The falafel is my favorite thing here–it’s the real deal and the best I’ve had in Asia.
I had to intentional walk around Vegan Beets to prevent myself from gorging on their excellent vegan cheese on a daily basis. I’d never had vegan cheese with so much flavor, spice, and authentic texture. The melted cheese fries are actually melt-in-your-mouth good. They also make a cookie that tastes like sugared butter, but is of course, vegan.
Vegan Beets proves that vegan food doesn’t just have to be boiled veggies and can be downright fattening and decadent at times.
ENJOY CLEAN EATS IN A BEAUTIFUL SETTING AT GOOM
I’ve already declared my love for Goom in my Da Nang travel guide. Fortunately, during my last week in Hoi An they opened up a second branch near An Bang beach (Google Maps). The gorgeous outdoor garden has an open-air kitchen where you can watch the chefs expertly preparing strictly plant-based dishes or roam around and enjoy the quirky hand-painted signage with declarations such as “Our food is grown, not born.” Goom is also ridiculously inexpensive. Try the many flavors of kombucha, the vegan sushi, and the customized platter with 2 vegan dishes and black rice for about $2. I love the pumpkin and kale with garlic and chickpeas.
SPEND THE DAY AT THE BEACH AT THE FISHERMAN
The Fisherman (Google Maps) is the trendiest vegan place in Hoi An as it’s recently been renovated to turn into a nightclub at night which is a bit odd for a vegan eatery. Honestly, this turned me off a bit and I found their dedication to sustainability has stopped as they now serve plastic water bottles and straws which is so disappointing. They do still have bamboo straws and glass bottles of potable water but you may have to specifically request these.
The best part of The Fisherman is the ambiance–it’s a beautiful beach hut complete with a swing and vibrant murals. I actually was never really amazed by the food I tried here until I had the coconut chickpea curry and the Buddha bowl which are both fantastic.
I’d only recommend these and suggest you skip the coconut noodles, gnocchi (which are like tater tots), french fries, smoothie bowl, falafel, and Mexican wrap–they were all super lackluster. Yes, I ate here a lot! You’re better off getting westernized vegan food in Hoi An at Vegan Beets. The Fisherman has great coffee, smoothies, and cocktails.
EAT VEGAN VIETNAMESE STREET FOOD AT THE CENTRAL MARKET
The Central Market (Google Maps) in the UNESCO protected Hoi An Ancient Town. Inside, towards the front of the food market, there’s a partially vegetarian food stall called Miss Thuy.
They serve an assortment of vegan-friendly local Hoianese specialties including cao lau and white rose but my favorite dish was the eggplant with peanuts. The fruit stall next door does an amazing jackfruit, coconut, and mango juice that’s tangy and sweet–give it a try! The Central Market in Hoi An is one of the least expensive places in Hoi An to eat vegan or vegetarian food.
WHERE ELSE TO FIND VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD IN HOI AN
These are the places where I was able to order plant-based food in Hoi An from restaurants that also serve meat.
WHERE TO EAT THE BEST VEGAN BANH MI IN HOI AN
Although my body rejects bread and curses me with pimples afterward I just cannot resist indulging in the incredible French baguettes in Vietnam–especially when they’re loaded with avocado, tofu, and herbs. I ate many a vegan banh mi in Hoi An but my favorite spot to do so was Phi Banh Mi (Google Maps). I also liked the vegan option at Banh Mi Queen (Google Maps) but Bourdain’s favorite of Banh Mi Phuong isn’t very notable for plant-based eaters. I’ve heard great things about Banh Mi Chay (Google Maps) but they close at 10 AM so I never managed to make it there in time.
MEALS THAT MAKE AN IMPACT AT STREETS
There are limited vegan and vegetarian options at Streets (Google Maps) but it’s important to have a meal or two here to support this excellent social enterprise. Streets operate a hospitality training program for disadvantaged local youth who work in the restaurant. They also are combatting plastic waste in Hoi An and serve cold drinks with single-use biodegradable grass straws.
COWORK WITH A VIEW AND VEGAN EATS AT HARVEST CAFE
Harvest Co-Working Cafe (Google Maps) is conveniently located in the lobby of the serviced apartments I lived at in Hoi An–Greenlife. This coworking is absolutely free to use, and always will be. Because of that, it’s a bit more expensive than other cafes around Hoi An which are perfectly acceptable for coworking digital nomads. But, it’s worth the price as Harvest has the best rice terrace view in Hoi An. The cafe serves up an assortment of plant-based milks including almond milk but a coffee will set you back almost $3. The menu is quite limited but there are some plant-based options including various smoothie bowls, avocado dip (not really guacamole so don’t expect that), and a vegan poke bowl.
COWORK AND ENJOY BEAUTIFUL SMOOTHIE BOWLS AT ROSIE’S
My favorite cafe in Hoi An has to be Rosie’s (Google Maps). Rosie’s is owned by two local Vietnamese women who are passionate about darling cafe culture, great food, and inviting ambiance. They also operate a zero-waste shop with local artisan goods and toiletries.
The smoothie bowls here are the best I had in Vietnam–personally, I think the acai smoothie bowl is the best choice. The coffee is strong and they have soy or coconut milk which is served with a bamboo straw when you ask for an iced version.
The veggie wrap here can also be veganized by swapping out the sesame sauce, which has eggs, for balsamic vinegar.
It’s incredibly filling but if you still can make room for a treat don’t miss out on Rosie’s vegan chocolate cake–it’s one of the best I’ve ever had and oh so creamy. There is a community table here in an outdoor garden and a relatively quiet back room which is great if you’d like to work from the cafe as you eat.
COWORK AND SUPPORT LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS AT VSS
Vietnam Sustainable Space (Google Maps) is another free coworking space in Hoi An. While they don’t serve food you’re welcome to bring your own or grab dishes next door from the lovely What Else cafe. They have a self-serve coffee and tea station. You make your own drink and pay what you wish into the money trunk. This is all based on the honor system, so don’t be a jerk. VSS is locally run by a group of young Vietnamese who are passionate about the environment and leading the change in their country. You can also purchase an assortment of locally produced plastic-free products here.
EAT IN THE LOVELY WHAT ELSE GARDEN BEHIND THE JAPANESE BRIDGE
After all that coworking I usually head to What Else Cafe (Google Maps). The restaurant serves plenty of meat dishes but they recently released a fully vegetarian menu with loads of options. They have my favorite cao lau in a restaurant setting and also pretty good smoothie bowls–but not quite as amazing as Rosie’s.
The outdoor garden here is a lovely place to spend an evening. It’s very calm even though it’s less than a minute walk to the hectic Hoi An Ancient Town.
EAT AVOCADO AND MANGO EVERYTHING AT AVOS&MANGO
This new locally owned cafe is so Instagram-worthy and although they do serve plenty of meat dishes the best thing on the menu is a massive plant-based platter.
At Avos&Mango (Google Maps) about $3 you get coffee, juice, veggie spring rolls with avocado and mango, an avocado and mango salad, avocado toast, and mango peanut butter toast. They also have a small zero-waste shop complete with coconut bowls, bamboo straws, cutlery, and more.
SWIM IN A POOL AND ENJOY VEGAN SNACKS AT KAHUNAS
There aren’t many places along the beach in Hoi An that serve vegan food but luckily the hip spot Kahuna’s has delicious avocado fresh spring rolls and a beautiful smoothie bowl served in a coconut–both of which can be made vegan upon request. Kahuna’s (Google Maps) is located very close to my all-time favorite beach in Hoi An (which I’ll disclose soon in the Miss Filatelista Hoi An Travel Guide).
The beach bar is bohemian and features plenty of chill areas like picnic tables and hammocks but also has a swimming pool which can be a great relief when there are loads of jellyfish in the ocean. Kahuna’s is an offset of Hoi An Backpackers so you can expect a young and sometimes rowdy crowd here–especially during their parties on Sunday afternoon.
WHERE TO HAVE VEGAN INDIAN FOOD IN HOI AN
My absolute favorite place for vegan Indian cuisine in Hoi An is Ganesh (Google Maps). No, not just because it’s named after my favorite Indian God. Ganesh is the real deal with authentic Indian cuisine including spicy curries that rival my favorite dishes back in Jodhpur, India. The staff here is incredibly kind and happy to adjust dishes as per your requirements. If you’re vegan, make sure to ask for no ghee (clarified butter) as it’s an ingredient used in most dishes. My favorite thing was off the menu–palak channa (chickpeas with spinach curry)! Namaste was also tasty but not quite as good as Ganesh and I didn’t try Baba’s as I was disappointed with the food that I’d had at their Saigon location.
HAVE COFFEE WITH A CONSCIOUS AT REACHING OUT TEAHOUSE
Reaching Out Tea House (Google Maps) is one of many excellent social enterprises in Hoi An. They operate a traditional Vietnamese tea house in a teakwood structure that has the best cup of coffee in all of Vietnam. That’s right. The very best, and it’s served in beautiful golden cups. It’s incredibly strong, has an amazing aroma, and a memorable flavor. There is an assortment of locally sourced coffees to choose from and they’re served with tiny cookies.
Better than the coffee is the ethos behind Reaching Out. The tea shop isn’t just a beautiful place to enjoy a cup of coffee, it’s also a way to make a meaningful impact on the local community as they provide job opportunities for those who are differently abled. Most of the staff are deaf or hearing-impaired. Because of this silence is encouraged at Reaching Out. There are communication blocks that can be used to order and talk with staff.
DRINK VEGAN ICED COFFEE WITH COCONUT MILK AT THE ESPRESSO STATION
There are so many places to get a great cup of coffee in Hoi An which isn’t shocking considering Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee. Did you know that not all coffee in Vietnam is vegan-friendly? Some places roast coffee beans in butter…or fish sauce. For vegans, The Espresso Station (Google Maps) is my top coffee shop due to the ambiance of the cafe, their dedication to quality beans, and coconut milk. Their motto is “the art of coffee in your cup.” The best way to experience this is to order the signature ice cube coffee. Three ice cubes made from frozen coffee are served in a glass with a warm glass of the milk of your choice on the side–you pour over the milk and watch the magic as the ingredients mix together.
HAVE ELIXIRS AT CHU CHU JUICE BAR
There are many juice bars in Hoi An but, Chu Chu Juice Bar (Google Maps) is the most gorgeous with the most unique combinations–they’re also happy to make adjustments to ensure the juice is vegan. They sell locally sourced teas that are hand painted by female artisans which make a meaningful gift or souvenir.
VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS IN HOI AN THAT DIDN’T HIT THE SPOT
It could be that I went on an off day for the kitchen or that I ordered the wrong thing but these places left me seriously overwhelmed and I found much better vegan food in Hoi An elsewhere.
QUAN CHAY NHAT DA
I dragged all of my girlfriends to Quan Chay Nhat Da for dinner one night and we were all pretty grossed out by how bland and oily our food was. To make matters worse I ordered a coconut, with no straw, so they went to the street to buy the coconut, and then took the straw out…*palm to face*
I really wanted to love An Lac, a few of my vegan friends in Hoi An are big fans of this place, but every time I went I found the food was oily and lacked flavor. I’ve had the mushroom banh mi, cao lao, and coconut meat salad, none of which I can confidently recommend that vegans in Hoi An try.
This place is beloved by local and expat vegans so it’s possible I just ate the wrong thing. Annen is a beautiful open-air restaurant and also a yoga studio. It’s a locally owned establishment that home makes all of their dishes and never uses MSG. I had the Vietnamese pesto quang noodle dish which was…gooey and lacking any flavor. I’ll go back here someday and try some of the local dishes. They also make their own soy milk, so it’s a great place for coffee.
There you have it, folks! A thorough overview of all things delicious and flavorful when it comes to plant-based food! I hope this ultimate guide to the best vegan and vegetarian food in Hoi An will help keep you full of tasty eats as you explore one of my favorite places on earth. What are your favorite vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An?
I was a guest on the Backstreet Academy Vegan Food Tour and Minh Hien Vegan Cooking Class. This page contains affiliate links. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.