Sticky rice a delight of Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine
Sticky rice, lauded as the epitome of Vietnamese comfort food, has been named Hanoi's top 10 vegetarian dishes by luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler.
The London-based magazine praised Hanoi's vegetarian-friendly cuisine for the diverse combination of flavor profiles produced by the various herbs, vegetables, and fresh ingredients used. The magazine curated a list of 10 easy-to-eat and flavorful dishes commonly available across all types of eateries in the capital, as recommended by culinary experts and everyday diners.
The list features sticky rice, beloved by locals as their favorite breakfast found at all street food stalls. Condé Nast Traveler describes it as "the essence of Vietnamese comfort food," perfect for both on-the-go and restaurant dining. Sticky rice comes in various types, such as peanut, hand-cut mung bean, red rice, or corn. Besides the vegetarian versions, Vietnamese people also enjoy sticky rice with savory toppings like pork rolls, eggs, braised pork, pork floss, and pate.
Other main dishes on the list were bun cha chay (vegetarian meatball noodle soup) and banh xeo (rice flour pancake). Bun cha chay is praised for its appearance and aroma, being just as delicious as the meat-based version. Banh xeo stands out with vibrant colors, crispy crust, and a delightful filling of soft, sweet, and spicy vegetables.
Other recommended vegetarian dishes include stir-fried tofu in tomato sauce, evoking childhood memories for many Vietnamese. Crispy fried tofu is served with tomato sauce and green onions, and then paired with steamed rice. Stir-fried water spinach with garlic takes second place on the list, offering a rustic and delectable dish, perfect on its own or with mains.
Two recommended salad dishes are banana blossom salad and green papaya and mango salad. Both salads feature strips of either banana blossom or green papaya and mango, mixed with sweet and sour fish sauce, herbs, and carrots, resulting in a delightful and refreshing flavor.
For desserts and drinks, Condé Nast Traveler recommends indulging in che chuoi (tapioca coconut pudding with banana), banh troi (floating glutinous rice dumplings), and Vietnamese iced coffee.