VU in Vietnam Part 2
Traveling around Vietnam is all very well, but what’s a vegan to eat? Restaurants catering to tourists usually offer a separate section in their menu of exclusively vegetarian options, and even at local eateries there will be several choices for the most selective veg*n.
Blanched bok choi and brown button mushrooms in a garlic sauce
The Golden Luck restaurant in Hanoi was heaving with locals and tourists when we came upon it just after 2pm, whereas the nearby Indian restaurant and adjacent cafes were rather deserted. We took this as a good sign. Upon our entrance we were shuffled towards the only available seats at the back of the restaurant sharing a long table with a lovely Korean family. Even though we were only mildly hungry, we ordered three vegan meals suffering from the all too common, ‘eyes are hungrier than stomach’ syndrome.
Deep fried rice paper spring rolls with tofu and vegetables
Braised aubergine with peanuts and lashings of cilantro
The next day in the town of Hoi An, we found ourselves at Karma Waters, one of the two restaurants specializing in vegan cuisine. Here they utilized organic produce and local herbs. The dishes themselves were relatively simple to create yet the flavours were surprisingly complex, infused with zesty fresh greens. The hardest part was selecting only a few dishes from the menu of dozens to cook in the afternoon’s cooking class; spicy vegetables, tofu and mushroom patties, and sautéed beef strips.
Spicy vegetables: Soy strips with mushrooms stir fried in ginger, garlic and mushroom sauce with a blanket of cilantro
Sautéed ‘beef’ strip salad with peanuts and mint
The restaurant is so cool that they refill your bottles with clean water for a nominal charge to save on plastic bottles. By the time we left Karma Waters it was late but still warm… and time for a second dinner and poker with friends.
Baked falafel with mayonnaise (mayo is not vegan)
Outdoor breakfasts at our hotel were accompanied by grazing cows and docile dogs, riverside views and the sounds of birds. Every morning we were treated to a buffet of fresh fruits, stir fired vegetables and warm baguette. Not bad at all.