Vietnam, one of South East Asia’s premier travel destinations has something for everyone; pristine beaches, beautiful temples, culture, history, vibrant cities and breathtaking rural landscapes, not to mention a cuisine that holds it’s own on the world stage. What you may not know is that it’s also a haven for vegans and vegetarians. Every month, on the 1st and 15th days of the Chinese lunar calendar, the local Buddhist population eat vegan food; this gives the whole country a great understanding of plant-based cuisine meaning you can eat exact replicas of most traditional Vietnamese foods on your travels. Combine this with the fact that Vietnam is home to some world class chefs who are up for the challenge of creating vegan and vegetarian food to impress, as well as giving you their own versions of traditional cuisine, and you begin to see why Vietnam is the perfect destination for vegans.
Check in to one of these 4 luxury resorts in Vietnam where you can experience vegan luxury at the highest level; each with their own unique selling point, but all getting the seal of approval for luxury vegan travel. Wake up each morning and take a yoga or meditation class before spending the day selecting health boosting vegan food and drinks from the established ‘Healthy Menu’ at Six Senses Con Dao. Enjoy interior designs worthy of a glossy magazine, all inclusive spa treatments, yoga and meditation with your healthy, delicious vegan food at Fusion Resort Nha Trang. Mia Resort gives you a chance to relax by the beach and eat food produced by a chef who is experimental, creative and passionate, not to mention incredibly skilled. Finally, check into Evason Ana Mandara where you can stay right on the beach and eat Vietnamese classics in tranquil luxury, watching life on the beach pass you by.
Six Senses Con Dao is the best place to stay in one of Vietnam’s hidden gem destinations. It’s a top end luxury resort that embraces wellness, sustainability and laid back luxury. Escape the stresses of daily life and enjoy a luxury holiday that subtly encourages being kind to yourself and being kind to the planet. Everything about this resort is special, from the ‘crystal water’ available throughout the resort to the chance to eat at the chef’s table with a view ‘behind the scenes’ into the kitchen whilst eating a luxurious vegan meal created especially for you.
All the villas have private pools complete with ocean views where you can be mesmerised by the changing vista as the sun rises over neighbouring islands and the waves gently lap against the shore in the secluded bay where the resort is located. Enjoy tropical outdoor rain showers, light and airy rooms with huge windows to let in the see breeze (and to make the most of those views) and personalised service from you Guest Experience Maker.
Vegan food can be found everywhere at Six Senses Con Dao including several superfood packed choices on their ‘Healthy Menu’. Try the ‘superfood salad’ to eat zesty jewels of pomegranate mixed with chick peas, black beans and protein packed quinoa, all finished off with peppery fresh watercress leaves and a tart lemon dressing. Perfect food for a hot day at the beach when you want something light and nutritious and perfect food when you want to treat yourself to something delicious.
If you want to be more indulgent, the chef is always happy to veganise something on the existing menu meaning you can try some great fusion food like this ‘Banh Bao’ burger. Created by using the traditional Vietnamese ‘Banh Bao’ steamed bun and then making a burger full of local flavours including lemongrass, garlic and ginger mixed with typical Vietnamese ingredients like sweet potato and rice. Topped with roasted vegetables, hoisin and chilli sauce before a helping of ‘chao’ (Vietnamese fermented tofu that tastes uncannily like blue cheese) and served with an array of sides including sweet potato fries, mushroom tempura, onion rings and chargrilled sweetcorn; this is one vegan dish to be impressed by.
The brand new Fusion Resort Nha Trang may be the new kid on the block in one of Vietnam’s busiest beach resorts, but they are certainly making a strong start with their ability to cater for vegan guests through their menu concept that integrates health and wellbeing and uses a huge variety of natural plant-based products. It’s an innovative way to be creating food by aligning the daily dishes available with the wellness programme in the spa, all based on the principles of yogic eating. Expect fresh light cuisine which uses local and organic produce wherever possible.
Before you get a chance to be amazed by the food, your heart will definitely be stolen by the design of the resort where villas are stylish, calming and full of features such as floating hammock chairs, slick private pools and the Fusion Resort signature bath (which is huge).
The spa offers a variety of treatments (try the signature ‘chamveda’ massage) and a holistic wellness programme (including yoga and meditation) that are all included in the room rate and are guarenteed to make you feel renewed.
Fabulous, fresh and healthy vegan food completes the jigsaw at Fusion Resort Nha Trang, meaning that after you have been blissed out by the yoga and pampered with a massage at the spa, you can eat plant-based food that will fill you with pleasure as well as nutrients. Try the ‘Local Vegetable Garden’ for a medley of well balanced flavours and ingredients, presented like a piece of art, with mango, avocado, ginger and coconut working well with salad leaves, jicama root, pumpkin and purple basil.
Local ingredients are showcased too; the clever savoury jackfruit soup with a mushroom wonton being a wonderful way to discover this fruit that is synonymous with South East Asia. The ripe jackfruit has an intense flavour creating a sweet soup that has elements of banana, mango and melon, all which seem to work perfectly with the crispy shitake mushroom stuffed wonton. This is vegan food to surprise and delight you.
Mia Resort Nha Trang is located 20 minutes away from the centre of Nha Trang, on a sandy beach, sheltered by tall cliffs with tumbled rocks which make for a dramatic backdrop to this well established luxury resort. The sea views are uninterrupted and truly wonderful, there’s a huge pool and well kept tropical gardens surrounding the villas; it’s peaceful, the staff are helpful and they are well practised at dealing with guests with dietary requirements.
The chef at Mia Resort is exceptionally creative and experimental, producing flavour combinations that will surprise and impress you. Start your day in the breezy Sandals Restaurant where you’ll be presented with the vegan breakfast menu containing dishes such as strawberry oatmeal pancakes, scrambled tofu and some veganised Vietnamese specialities such as Ban Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes). It’s always impressive to receive a vegan menu prepared in advance and it shows just how confident this resort is at dealing with their vegan guests.
The vegan food is fresh and full of flavours, with creativity and imagination being one of the key ingredients in every meal; even simple salads had us guessing how each element was made. The artichoke salad was one of those dishes, with sharp flavours coming from the marinated artichoke, mixing with sweet roasted peppers, peppery watercress, pungent basil pesto and a yellow pepper essence that was naturally, deliciously sweet; this hearty and rich salad felt decadent to eat.
The chef’s creative talents were well demonstrated when it came to serving dessert, where a slow roasted carrot forms the centrepiece of a collection of clever elements which all come together to make an exciting, ingenious vegan dessert. A carrot salsa, a mango gel, sunflower seeds that have been poached in lemongrass and ginger, caramelised breadfruit and a breadfruit and orange sorbet; this is food that wouldn’t look out of place at a fine-dining restaurant. As a vegan guest we don’t just want food that is free from animal products, we want food that we can be amazed by and you’ll certainly find it at Mia Resort Nha Trang.
Right in the centre of Nha Trang Evason Ana Mandara is the only resort located right on this famous Vietnamese beach and you can easily spend your days watching beach life go by as you relax in your villa. There is a choice of villas set in the tranquil gardens of the resort or right on the beachfront where you can make the most of the huge sandy beach. There are also two pools to relax by, both right next to the beach so you really do get the best of both worlds.
The atmosphere in the resort is peaceful and laid back and villas are full of the vegan friendly Six Senses amenities as well as offering a choice of several different vegan pillows, an added bonus for vegan guests. There is also a Six Senses Spa on site with a full range of vegan treatments and products to buy; a perfect place to spend time unwinding.
There’s always a chance to get closer to local life at Evason Ana Mandara whether you are vegan or not. People often wrongly assume that vegan guests have such a restrictive diet that they won’t be able to sample local cuisine but are plenty of choices at this resort that are both traditionally Vietnamese and vegan at the same time. Whether you are relaxing poolside with a chilled glass of ‘chanh muoi’, a salty sweet Vietnamese drink made from preserved lemons, or going on a local market tour with one of their guides, vegan food is always on offer.
One of the ‘must try’ dishes for all vegan guests staying at Evason Ana Mandara, is definitely the ‘Bun chay’, a salad made from thin rice noodles, with crunchy vegetables, herbs, peanuts, fried spring rolls and fillets of lemongrass tofu which are all eaten together with a hoisin based dressing. It’s a tasty, flavour packed vegan version of a local dish guaranteed to make you want to order it again and again. There are other equally delicious options too, such as the vegan eggplant cannelloni stuffed with sticky rice or the Mediterranean mezze platter.
One of the signs of a good hotel or resort, is the way they treat guests who have slightly different requirements than most, such as those who are vegan or have any other dietary requirements. These 4 luxury resorts in Vietnam are great places to experience a bit of well polished luxury that has been adapted to for a vegan lifestyle; the only thing missing will be the animal products.
Being vegan is definitely not about restrictions or missing out in these places where you can enjoy vegan luxury in a wonderful (vegan friendly) travel destination.
Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest.