Vegan in Vietnam for Travel Indochina

Hi guys!

 

HAPPY DECEMBER!! I am having a hard time registering that 2013 is almost over. And as equally as hard of a time registering that 2013 only lasted a year–how is that possible?! I’ve been to Austin, twice (that alone feels like three years ago); I quit my job; helped put on international vegan conference Vida Vegan Con; sold or gave away most of my belongings; traveled through Western & Eastern Europe and SE Asia; and have been back in Oregon for two months.

Holy cow. Now I’m just lookin’ for one of those jobby-things and cat-sitting for friends while I work on Vida Vegan and get settled (though a small percentage of me is tempted to jet off to a small coastal town in Eastern Europe and drink all the white wine spritzers for the rest of my life).

Traveling was by the far the highlight of my year; I spent almost two years planning and saving for this big trip, and it has been a dream of mine for years. I got a lot of questions while traveling and since I’ve been back about traveling as a vegan.  Short answer: Yes, it was hard sometimes. It was also really easy sometimes, really delicious a lot of the time, and absolutely worth it all of the time.

While I was traveling, I was contacted by Travel Indochina about vegan choices in Vietnam. I contributed a piece to their site, and they incorporated it into a larger article on their blog.

The cruise in Halong Bay actually had some of the best vegan food I had in SE Asia.

The cruise I took in Halong Bay actually had some of the best vegan food I ate in SE Asia.

 

Vegan in Vietnam

A rare treat–labeling in English!

 

Traveling as a vegan in Vietnam led to a lot of spring rolls and spaghetti, but also some really unique tasty treats. This article marks the the first time I’ve been paid to write, and it’s all terribly exciting for me. Please head over to the Travel Indochina blog and check it out. And as more time goes on, I’ll finish going through my pictures and figure out how to summarize my trip in blog posts. It’s still a bit overwhelming for me, but I’m looking forward to sharing my favorite finds, gorgeous views and yummy food from my travels with you soon.

 

This lady's cart in Nha Trang had THE BEST vegan banh mi's for only 50 cents.

This lady’s cart in Nha Trang had THE BEST vegan banh mi’s for only 50 cents.

 

This is a huge tofu sandwich.

This is a huge tofu sandwich.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Mofo: BEER ‘Round the World

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It’s Friday! That means it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

While I drank my share of white wine spritzers in Europe, the beverage that has been the most constant throughout Europe and Asia is of course… beer.

 

Mid-afternoon pint in London: the best time for beer

Mid-afternoon pint in London: the best time for beer

Good ol’ beer. Fitting, considering I spent 7 years working at a brewpub. I drank Amstel in Holland, cider in London, Tiger beer in Vietnam and Lao Beer in Laos. Beer is typically the cheapest adult beverage (in some countries even more affordable than water), and readily available almost everywhere.

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I think my favorite beer drinking happened in The Netherlands, where pubs offer two sizes and offer complimentary nuts and snacky treats with every pint. Or else in Laos (where I currently am), because Beer Lao is everywhere and better than I thought it might be. Or else London, because I love cider probably a little bit more than beer. Or, well, okay. I’ve loved them all.

 

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Vegan Mofo: Pringles in SE Asia

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Hello and happy Tuesday! Welcome to the last installment of snacky treats.

I missed posting yesterday–not for want of trying. I traveled via bus from Southern Thailand to Laos in a 48 hour span and a post simply wasn’t happening. I had planned a post about desserts in Budapest for the Sweet Treat portion, but that post may just have to wait for another time. So now it’s on to… Pringles!

 

My older brother Ahimsa is a vegan, and he travels around the world with his girlfriend Rachel in between teaching gigs. I’ve written about him before, and I’m currently traveling with the two of them in Thailand and Laos, which is great fun. I don’t see him often enough, so we always have a blast when we get to hang out.

 

He and Rachel have a vegan budget travel blog called Are We There Yeti, and a few years ago he posted about his favorite Pringles flavors of Indochina. That post sort of slipped my mind until I was in Vietnam last month with my friend Billy, on our way back from Halong Bay.

 

At the little mart where all buses stop to give their passengers the opportunity to buy expensive wood carvings, silk ties or snacks, I spotted a few wacky Pringles flavors. We knew we wanted to try a few of them (Pringles are often vegan, and often have ingredients in English, making it a good road snack for traveling vegans) so picked out the Hot & Spicy flavor and the Salty Seaweed.

pringles

Verdict: They’re both surprisingly good! I don’t know the last time I bought Pringles in the States, but as a safe vegan snack in SE Asia, they were just the ticket. One note: there’s also a regular ol’ seaweed flavor (not salted) that is just boring; don’t mistakenly get that one.

I still haven’t found the dill pickle (sadly) or the blueberry hazelnut (thankfully) Pringles my brother mentioned in his blog. But I still have two weeks; there’s time!

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Dalat Market

Dalat, a resort mountain town in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, is known for a few things: strawberries, tomatoes, pine trees, being the premier destination for Vietnamese honeymooners, and the only city in Vietnam without a single traffic signal.

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Dalat is also known for its market. Due to the temperate climate and cooler temperatures, Dalat grows a bounty of fruits and vegetables. The market happens every day, all day, as far as I can surmise.

Da lat Market

 

Most of it is a vegan’s paradise–filled with berries, avocados, mangoes, dragonfruit, lychee, Vietnamese baguettes, dried beans and rice noodles, and a plethora more. It was gorgeous.

Da lat market

 

 

Da lat market

 

 

Dalat Market

POPCORN!!!

 

Dalat Market

 

 

On the other hand, there is also an obscene amount of dried shrimp, and I don’t even want to talk about the chickens and ducks, frogs, crabs, eels and other animals, in varying states of cages and being prepared for meals. That part I held my breath and walked quickly through, eyes straight ahead, making it safely to more baguettes and mangoes in just a few minutes.

Dalat Market

Saviors

My friend Billy (who’s bebopping around Vietnam and Cambodia with me this month) and I walked through the market a few different mornings The second time, we discovered food carts in the indoor market up on the second floor. And there were several vegan/vegetarian (chay) stalls. Whaaaaaaaat?! Stoked.

Dalat Market

This is all vegan meats and noodles. Be still my heart.

I ordered one lemongrass tofu ‘chicken’ wing to sample. At .50 cents, it was worth a try (and definitely decent).

Dalat Market

 

At the market, I bought baguettes (obviously. My main goal on this trip is overdosing on bread, apparently), an avocado, and a mango. For dinner that night, Billy and I had avocado and green Sriracha that we found at Big C Supermarket with salt and pepper on a baguette. Simple delights, man.

The market was a delight to walk through–well, most of it–and is probably the biggest thing I loved about about Dalat. (other than temperatures below 90 degrees F, a rarity in this country).

Dalat Market