After 3 weeks of travelling up the coast of Vietnam I thought it was about time I shared with you the amazing eateries I found along the way. There is so much delicious Vietnamese food, however I found that most of the typical foods are deep fried and very heavy in carbs which is not something that makes us feel very good.
It is important to be able to adapt while travelling and it’s fun eating your way through different cultures. My favourite Vietnamese specialitiy, pho, is made with noodles, broth and usually meat; you can get it without meat though and the best varieties come with herbs, spring onions, nuts and fresh lime and chilli to add to your taste. Other typical dishes include banh mi (baguette filled with meat or eggs with a sprinkling of veggies and sauce), fried/sticky rice and noodles. You can find all these foods lining the streets for an incredibly cheap price which is great but eating all these foods each day can cause digestive issues which you don’t want to be dealing with throughout the whole of your travels.
With some research and tips from blogs and Instagram I managed to find many healthy alternatives, especially when in cities and I will share them now for if you ever find yourself in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City: Hum Vegetarian
This restaurant really is like a hidden oasis away from the hectic city, it is actually situated right next door to the war museum which is a must-do when you’re in Ho Chi Minh city, so it’s easy to find. Hum vegetarian has a tranquil atmosphere and the food is fresh and colourful, just what you need to revive when in a busy, polluted, noisy city. Here I enjoyed fresh spring rolls to start and then steamed vegetables with a rich soy bean sauce, along with a lemon and orange infused mineral water. The menu is huge and everything is vegetarian.
Hoi An: Minh Hien Vegetarian restaurant, Morning Glory, Cocobox
Hoi An offers a variety of healthy food. I was in Hoi An for my birthday and so I made sure that we had a delicious and healthy place to eat. We began with breakfast at our homestay which consisted of eggs, baguette and fruit platters (this is typical of hostels and homestays in Vietnam) then for lunch we went to Minh Hien Vegetarian restaurant which was amazing. This cafe is a little outside of the main streets in town which means that it’s very cheap. It was a lovely place to sit and enjoy a lunch with friends and would be equally nice to dine alone and watch the world go by. For dinner, we went to Morning Glory Restaurant which is very popular and is more expensive. A top tip for this place though is that the side dishes are actually really big and can be made into a main dish. I ordered the eggplant which was a side but I got a good portion along with a serving of sticky rice which was perfect after a big lunch. This restaurant serves meat and fish yet the sides are all veggie. Be warned that this place does get busy and you will probably wait for a table but you can enjoy a drink and/or a long ponder over the extensive menu.
On another day in Hoi An we discovered Cocobox, a smoothie bar opposite Morning Glory. They serve smoothies, juices, homemade ice cream and chocolates – it’s yummy! I got a green juice, coconut ice cream topped with Hoi An spiced and dark chocolate and a ginger and orange hot chocolate; I felt like I was back in Australia.
Hue: Huong Thoi Gian
Onwards and upwards from Hoi An, we motorbiked up to Hue (I should add that I wasn’t the driver) and found more delicious food. We had a favourite street food spot that we visited a couple of times in this city and also found Huong Thoi Gian. I, along with two friends, walked to this cafe at lunch time and although there is a large seating area, there was only us to fill it. We’ve been continually amazed at how quiet all cafes are but I guess it’s because most people eat street food; the number of people in the cafe isn’t a sign toward how good/bad the food is. We ordered a whole array of dishes to share and it was delicious. Again we got so much for our money and enjoyed a lovely couple of hours here before we left Hue and got the bus up to Phong Nha.
Hanoi: Raw Juicery, Jalus, Zenith Yoga Centre
Raw Juicery is a small bar that offers thick smoothies and cold pressed juices for cheap. I would always build my own smoothies using their structure of fruit, greens, liquid, booster and extras such as chia seeds and goji berries. If you’re looking for a nice cafe/restaurant both Jalus and Zenith are great options. They both have lovely decor providing a nice escape. These cafes are significantly more expensive than most other food options but they’re a great price when compared to what you’d pay at home in the UK or Australia for example. You can also do yoga at Zenith. I went to two classes there and if you pay for a class, you get 10% off your bill in the cafe. The smoothies are a bit thin for my liking however I can highly recommend the wholemeal pizzas, both the pesto and the hummus version. At Jalus, I tried their special salad and, on another occasion, their platter which I loved as it had a bit if everything, just what I needed after a seven hour bus ride back down from the north before we flew across to Laos.