Lunar July is a time when many families have a vegetarian month to pray for their parents’ health. In our September issue, Wanderlust Tips introduces 4 famous vegetarian restaurants known for their exquisite cuisine and airy space in meditative architecture.
Although originating from religion, today practitioners, intellectuals and even many of the world’s greatest men such as Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson are all vegetarians. In Buddhism, there are two types of vegetarian diet: strict vegetarians who refrain from consuming animal products, and semi-vegetarian who occasionally eat meat.
In addition, in a Buddhist diet you also do not eat the five spices asafoetida, shallot, garlic, mountain leek and al-lium chinense, as they tend to excite the senses. Adopting a vegetarian diet during Ghost Festival or Yulan Month is to express gratitude for the parents, and to bless them with a healthy and peaceful life. In addition, it is believed that the vegetarian diet during Ghost Month can help avoid bad luck.
UU DAM RESTAURANT – HYPNOTISING DINERS WITH ETHEREAL FLAVOURS
Coming to Uu Dam Restaurant means to be cherished and nurtured like the Uu Dam flowers at the heart of Buddhism,” is what many customers say about this peaceful place. Located in one of the busiest streets in Hanoi and named after a kind of flower that appears once every three thousand years, Uu Dam restaurant always makes a strong impression in diners’ minds from the very first sight with its delicate space featuring Buddhist architecture. The three statues of the Buddhas of The Three Worlds, relief works, the atrium and the trees are arranged in harmony to create a tranquil and relaxed space.
Uu Dam’s dishes harmonise a modern and a traditional cooking style and they are not only beautifully presented but also very nutritious such as appetiser soup or lotus root salad or countryside salad. In addition to traditional Vietnamese dishes, Uu Dam has a lot of special dishes, combined with world cuisine such as fried rice with Macadamia and baked vegetables with olive dressing and cashew nuts for diners to choose from. The food menu of Uu Dam restaurant was built with the criteria of not using fake meat and the five spices that excite the senses.With its peaceful and cosy space and the essence cuisine of mother nature, Uu Dam is a place for you to forget all tribulations, setting aside the hustle and finding peace of mind.
♦ Address: 34 Hang Bai str., Hoan Kiem dist. , Hanoi
♦ Tel: 098 134 98 98
♦ Opening hours: 7am – 10pm
TINH NGHIEP RESTAURANT – THE FLAVOUR OF THE OLD CAPITAL’S CUISINE
Located in one of the most vibrant streets in Hanoi, Tinh Nghiep Restaurant with its quiet space separated from the noisy world outside and a beautiful garden with lots of green trees never fails to win customers’ hearts at first sight.
Due to the chef of Tinh Nghiep restaurant having been born in Hue, dishes from his hometown dominate the menu, which includes Vietnamese pancake, poached fern-shaped cake, lemongrass skewer and sweetened porridge. The food here is a combination of culinary and visual arts – it is not only frugal, delicious, cheap and good for your health, but also beautifully decorated. In addition, the restaurant has a number of other dishes with Hanoi flavours, such as noodles and sticky rice that can captivate even those who are not followers of a vegetarian cuisine.
Not only serving delicate vegetarian dishes, coming to Tinh Nghiep, diners can also read Buddhist prayer books or attend lectures and talks on Buddhism by Buddhist monks. Therefore, diners here not only feel comfortable when enjoying tranquil vegetarian dishes and hot green tea with scents of flowers, but also understand more about human life and find a getaway from the chaotic life to peace of mind.
♦ Address: 56A, Doi Can str., Ba Dinh dist., Hanoi
♦ Tel: 024 6259 3292
♦ Opening hours: 9am – 9:30pm
KHAI TUONG RESTAURANT – VEGETARIAN CUISINE WITH INTERNATIONAL INGREDIENTS
Open nearly 10 years, Khai Tuong Regetarian Restaurant has long become a familiar and ideal stopover place for both local diners and foreigners in Hanoi to enjoy delicious vegetarian cuisine.
The restaurant has a very rich menu with more than 200 recipes devised by the owner with fresh vegetables and fruit – she does not use any fake vegetarian meat. A special feature of this restaurant is that the chef uses a lot of foreign ingredients like fresh cream and cheese, so compared to other vegetarian restaurants, dishes here are more modern with flavours of the European cuisine. One of the signature dishes that make up the restaurant’s brand name and wins the hearts of many customers are the vegetarian hot pots such as porridge or mushroom with their unique flavours. A special recipe with pear, apple, Asian pear, sugar beets, sugar cane root, kohlrabi, carrots and luffa makes the porridge hotpot not only sweet, but also fragrant with scents of natural fruit and vegetables.
Not only does it focus on the taste of the food, the restaurant also has regular volunteer programs. Since being established, the restaurant always offers free meals for monks to express gratitude and create good luck.
♦ Address: 112 Kim Ma str., Giang Vo collective area, Ba Dinh dist., Hanoi
♦ Tel: 024 3726 4773
♦ Opening hours: 7am – 10pm
TIB VEGETARIAN – ENJOY VEGETARIAN FOOD, LISTEN TO TRINH’S SONGS
Tib Vegetarian is the only vegetarian restaurant in the Tib’s restaurant chain that was launched in 1998. The restaurant space, though laid out in a simple manner, still looks luxurious and nostalgic, breathing Hanoi’s ancient architecture style, unlike the hustle and bustle of Saigon.
Tib specialises in serving traditional Vietnamese vegetarian dishes, most of which are dishes originating from Hue. Most of the dishes are not cooked from dried ingredients like fake meat, but prepared from fresh vegetables, fruit and tofu. The dishes at Tib have four elements: scent, colour, taste and décor – from colourful hades rice, crispy tofu skin, and moreish jackfruit salad to potato hot pot. In particular, dishes here are not only diversified, but also decorated sophisticatedly and placed on unique plates. One of the things that diners enjoy about Tib Vegetarian is that they are always served hot dishes, whether it is on the 1st of the month, the full moon or the Ghost Festival. Moreover, diners who come to this place can relax with a hot cup of coffee or a glass of cool juice, and enjoy Trinh Cong Son’s beautiful music full of the philosophy of life.
♦ Address: 89 – 91 Phan Ke Binh str., Dist. 1, HCMC.
♦ Tel: 028 3911 5455
♦ Opening hours: 7am – 10pm
Thu Hoai | Wanderlust Tips