According to Nguyen Thi Ai Trinh, CEO of Au Lac Vegetarian Food, previously people often thought of the religious perspective when talking about vegetarian food. Hence, the vegetarian food market was limited.
However, in recent years, this market has expanded and developed strongly, she said, boasting that her company has built 80 vegetarian food stores and run 11 restaurants across the country.
To meet the increasing demand of customers, local businesses have improved quality and design of products to expand the vegetarian food market in densely populated areas.
Besides vegetarian instant noodles, domestic firms also sell various kinds of vegetarian spices made from mushrooms.
On the occasion of the Buddhist Vu Lan Festival, which is annually observed on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, nearly 80 restaurants, hotels, pagodas and vegetarian stores in Ho Chi Minh City are participating in the vegetarian cuisine week at Dam Sen Cultural Park from August 19 to 26.
The week offers more than 300 vegetarian dishes such as brown rice, oat porridge, “bun rieu chay” (vegetable noodle soup) and “banh xeo gac” (spiny bitter gourd pancake) and 50 types of drinks.
For many Vietnamese, a vegan diet is traditionally confined to two sacred Buddhist days a month, an observance of compassion for all sentient beings.
But increasing numbers of people are also turning to a plant-based diet for health reasons, and are strengthened in their resolve by environmental considerations.
With its abundance of delicious vegetables, fruits and roots, Vietnam has all the conditions to cater to vegans.
Vegans can find a variety of dishes in Vietnam. However, the most common vegan dishes are made of soybeans. Apart from tofu, soybeans lend themselves to soya paste, fermented tofu, veggie Vietnamese ham and a wide variety of other dips and dishes.
Since soybeans are nutritious, rich in protein and calcium, and non-fattening, they are a good replacement for animal meat. They are also said to be useful in treating several illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.
Vegans can also find in Vietnam many dishes that look like they’re made with real meat. For example, chicken legs are made of citronella stems with a special tofu wrapping that even has the texture of meat. The dishes even include Barbecued pork chops, beef wrapped in la lot leaves, stewed chicken and steamed fish.