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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats


Updated: Apr 2, 2023

After visiting Hanoi and Hạ Long Bay, we travelled south to the city of Huế. There are several ways to reach Huế from Hanoi: a popular choice is to fly, and you can also get buses, but the journey is very long. We decided to catch the overnight train so that we could travel as we slept (and also avoid the cost of a hotel for a night!)

A red haired woman holding a toy goose on a bed in a train
Me with our travel companion, Da Gooze, travelling on my upper bunk from Hanoi to Huế

There are various types of cabin - we chose a four berth, and got on the train at Hanoi promptly so we could grab the top bunks! A word of warning: there is a trolley from which you can buy food on the train, but very little of it appeared to be vegan (many of the snacks seemed to be fish based). There is, however, a 7-Eleven across the street from the station; we stocked up on snacks, water and breakfast so that we could arrive in Huế refreshed and ready for some sightseeing! I wouldn't say it was the most comfortable night's sleep - we were definitely pleased to be in a stationary bed on our first night in Huế! But it was definitely very convenient and one of the most affordable ways to make this journey; though we didn't share a language our cabin-mates were quiet and friendly. We would absolutely take the night train again if we were to repeat the journey.

A couple with thumbs up, wearing raincoats
Getting some use out of our raincoats!

When we finally got there, we found Huế a very surreal place! By day it is very quiet - besides tours of the Imperial Palace and Royal Tombs, there was not very much for tourists to see and do when we visited. This was, unfortunately, shortly after Vietnam had re-opened to tourists after Covid, and it was sad to see how much Huế seemed to have suffered. Only one of the galleries and museums we had planned to visit was open, with several places visibly closed for a long time. (Have you been to Huế recently? We'd love to know that this is no longer the case - please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page!) It also rains a lot in Huế: this legendary rain is so commonplace and romanticised - we found it very refreshing in the Vietnamese heat!

So our first impressions of Huế were that it was a very sleepy place, where we would relax before we continued our journey through Vietnam. Oh how wrong we were! First of all, we had to completely change our plans to avoid Typhoon Noru. This hit Hoi An on the day we had been supposed to arrive there, and Huế only a couple of hours after we caught the last flight out (sending big love and healing wishes to the wonderful people of the Huế, Hoi An and Da Nang areas). Secondly, and very unexpectedly, we found that the small, quiet city of Huế massively comes alive at night! Walking through the main city streets, it was like we had been transported to another place: everything was lit in neon lights, the city was still quiet in these early tourist days, but wow, it had such a buzz!

Eating Vegan in Huế

"I can’t say what made me fall in love with Vietnam... that everything is so intense. The colours, the taste, even the rain.’"- Graham Greene

Hanoi had set the bar high for vegan food in Vietnam but we really weren't expecting too much when it came to plant-based offerings in Huế. We knew that while the city regularly welcomed tourists, it wasn't as famous a part of the tourist trail as, say, Hanoi, Hội An, or Ho Chi Minh City. So we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered a wide range of vegan options in the city - several eateries that offered plant-based options, and one fully vegan restaurant too. Though you'll see that many of the dishes we ate were noodles or burgers, they were still something special. We can honestly recommend Huế on the quality of this food, and the kindness and friendliness that the locals showed us during our time in the city too. Read on, then watch the video at the end, to find out more.

1st: Tịnh Tâm Vegan

53 Nguyễn Công Trứ, Phú Hội, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam

Tịnh Tâm Vegan (which translates to English as Pure Heart Vegan) was one of the biggest, and nicest surprises of our time in Huế. We had never expected to find a fully vegan restaurant, much less one that blew us away so much that, had it not been our last night in Huế, we would have come back time and time again!

Mike ordered the Soy Chicken Fried Noodle, whilst I chose the Soy Chicken Fried Rice. Their menu had a lot of variety to it, with other dishes including soy beef, hotpots, rice cakes and curries; it just so happened that on this day, Mike and I fancied very similar food! Honestly, I am so pleased that we had similar meals - I would have been extremely jealous of Mike's soy chicken if I had chosen a meal that didn't contain it!

The soy-based mock meat, prepared to their own special recipe, was incredible: possibly the best vegan chicken we tasted in Vietnam. The texture of the soy protein was tender, with that authentic, slight crisp bite; it was so deliciously seasoned too, so much more flavoursome than the mock chicken we can find in the UK! You could tell that the family have been perfecting their recipe for years and are absolute pros at it: this plant-based chicken really has to be tasted to be believed! The portions were great, with perfectly cooked noodles, rice, and fresh crunchy veggies: this meal was indulgent and filling, but felt healthy too. We cannot tell you how pleased we were that we ate at Tinh Tam Vegan!

The restaurant is run by the loveliest family: the service was amazing, and the chef came to chat with us once we had finished eating. The prices were really reasonable too: Mike's noodles and my rice cost ₫60,000 each (approx. £2.11, €2.37 or $2.53) which was such excellent value for money for such a delicious, fresh and tasty vegan meal.

2nd: Cafe on Thu Wheels

3 Kiệt 34 Nguyễn Tri Phương, Phú Hội, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam

We caught sight of Cafe on Thu Wheels when we were running to our hotel in the rain, and thought their menu looked great; one evening we decided to pop back and see if they were able to cook us up some fresh plant-based grub and they were very happy to oblige!

Cafe on Thu Wheels have plenty of vegetarian options on their menu, as well as some fully vegan dishes. The staff are really friendly and helpful, and very happy to help in adapting any vegetarian dish to make it vegan upon request. I chose the stir fried vegetable noodles with cashew nuts: honestly, I am a big fan of cashews and hadn't had any since we left Britain, so this really sold the dish to me! Mike, who is vegetarian, chose the Vegetarian Burger (if you leave out the cheese and mayonnaise, this burger is completely vegan).

The taste and texture of my noodles were fantastic: they were soft and really well seasoned; the cashews gave the dish so much depth of flavour on top of the fresh and crisp vegetables. I just wanted to keep on eating this meal. For what seems like a simple dish I cannot emphasise enough how flavoursome these noodles were! Mike's burger patty held together much better than many plant-based burgers, and it was well assembled too. 'The slip' was much less of an issue with his burger at Cafe on Thu Wheels than in other burgers he ate in Southeast Asia!

The cafe felt very welcoming and casual - it's no wonder that we saw so many repeat customers here! The staff were extremely kind and helpful too, even offering us advice about escaping the impending typhoon! We were so grateful that they went above and beyond to assist us, even offering to call us a taxi if we struggled to get to the airport. Our meals were a good price: my noodles cost ₫48,000 (approx. £1.69, €1.90 or $2.02), whilst Mike's vegetarian burger and fries was ₫89,000 (approx. £3.14, €3.52 or $3.75). It is typical that of course Asian dishes are cheaper than Western dishes in Southeast Asia and Cafe on Thu Wheels was no exception: but we felt that both prices were really reasonable for the quality and quantity of food served here.

3rd: Nook Eatery

3 Lương Thế Vinh, Phú Hội, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế 530000, Vietnam

We stumbled across Nook Eatery when we were - you guessed it, avoiding the rain! We decided to have an early lunch here on our first day in Huế, so it was our introduction to vegan food in the city. Our first impressions were good: their menu had an impressive variety of Asian and Western dishes, and many of these are vegan. The cafe also has a friendly, vibrant yet cosy vibe with lots of colourful lanterns, pretty tablecloths, and cute decor that really set the scene for a casual yet fun meal in Huế.

Hungry after our long journey, we went unusually large for lunch! Mike chose the vegetarian burger and fries, and I went for the tofu yellow curry. Mike was impressed with the burger, which he found fresh and crunchy. You could tell that the patty was homemade with love: it was really tasty and so much care and attention went into the presentation. This burger really was a towering spectacle, with a full pickle balanced on the top. It did have 'the slip' though (Mike's term for when the contents of a burger slide out when you're eating it!) so make sure to have napkins on hand when you're eating this!

My curry was wholesome and filling, but I would have liked for it to be spicier. The dish was very mild, closer in flavour to a stew than a curry, but there was a small dish of sambal on the side to help me rectify this! I loved that it was packed full of big, chunky vegetables alongside the generous helping of tofu; I was a little surprised by the beans in the curry, but overall the dish was flavoursome - just not necessarily the flavours that I had been expecting!

We were pleased with the quantity of food: Mike was full after finishing his meal, and even though I had been hungry I couldn't finish all of my curry! Service was good, but we thought that the meals (as a result of being a largely Western menu, aimed at tourists) were a little on the expensive side. Mike's burger meal cost us ₫130,000 (approx. £4.57, €5.14 or $5.48); my curry and rice was a little cheaper at ₫85,000 for this huge portion (approx. £2.99, €3.36 or $3.59). Overall, if you're looking for cheap or authentic Vietnamese dishes, this may not be the place to find them - but if you're looking for indulgent, homemade food in a fun and welcoming environment then Nook Eatery is just the place to find some plant-based Western and Asian meals.

Where is your favourite place to get plant-based food in Huế? Are there any new places or old favourites that we've missed? Leave us a comment to let us know (and others who might be visiting too!)


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The centre of Vienna with tall, historic buildings all around
Many trips from Huế will take you to the magnificent Golden Bridge in Da Nang

Where should I stay?

If you're a backpacker looking for cheap yet clean and friendly accommodation with a good vibe (and a free beer at happy hour), Hue Happy Homestay is the most popular and highly-rated option on Hostelworld. The family who run it are friendly and professional, and the Homestay is located just a short walk from the city's tourist areas.

For something a little different, why not get back to nature at Nano Eco Hostel? Made entirely out of sustainable materials, the choice of small dorm or private rooms here are modern, well equipped, but built with our planet in mind. They also have a pool!

Tours & Experiences

If this isn't for you, or you'd prefer to see more in the area of Huế and Da Nang, why not check out the top rated Viator trips below.

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