– ODO- 18185-18287km
– Location- Vinh
– Weather- 20-31 high altitude cloud all morning
As a vegetarian world cyclist some countries have been harder than others. Turkish pida with chunks beef hidden in the layers, Georgian shops stocked with walls of meat and a sad block of spongy cheese and surprise pork in Thai noodle soups. Out of all the countries I’ve visited Vietnam has been the hardest. One of the pleasures of traveling this way is that I get to eat almost exclusively in local kitchens for weeks on end. When the local kitchens don’t understand why you’d ever choose not to eat meat things can get tricky.
The first few days I picked around my pork slices in bowls of steaming Pho. The portions are heavy on the pepper broth and noodle base so leaving the finger nails of meat seemed less of a waste. In Hanoi things got a lot easier. My walk to work around Tan Ho lake took me by a vegan buffet and I readily tucked in each evening before heading to bed. With George’s arrival I started making more of an effort, however tricky this made things out of the big city.
Our first night was in a tourist hostel so we had no problems. The next day we stopped at an deserted beach resort called Hải Hòa. Six, seven, eight story hotels lay empty, as did a line of restaurants along the beach. Here the menu was exclusively seafood, we ended up getting some packaged noodles at the fourth place we found.
Tonight we got to a big city. Generally the larger cities have more options than the small towns where vegetarians are an alien concept. Setting out after arriving and having a shower we walked across the park and around the statue of Ho Chi Minh to a vege spot in the map to find the staff all curled up together on a matress laid on the dining room floor. The second option was the same. Luckily in the centre we found a Korean restaurant that has some vege options and even then one still came with some ham that George picked out into a bowl.
My tips for vegans and veges in Vietnam;
– “An Chay” means I’m vegetarian
– Buddhists here are vegetarian two days a month so it’s not totally foreign concept
– The language is very hard because of the importance of your accent and inflection. Google translate shows the words full screen when turned sideways. That’s saved our butts several times.
– If you eat egg then Ban Mi Trueng is an omelet sandwich sold on the side of the road every morning for breakfast
– For dinner in more regional places you might just have to get away with Pho with some sad meat left over.