WAIW | 3 Vegan Picks From a Vietnam Market

Image contains a photo of a purple plate with blocks of tofu and sugared balls on it. On opposite sides of the plate, there are two baguettes.

Since this week’s Where Am I Wednesday episode specifically involves vegan food, I thought I would share it here instead of over on my personal blog. As I mention in the video, and you can hear quite easily, a rather intense thunder and lightning storm descended upon Saigon this afternoon, so I opted to stay inside instead of venturing out to explore.

Thankfully, I had already gone out in the morning to hit-up my local market for a bunch of things, so I decided to take the time to tell you a little about three of my favourite vegan picks from the vendors I visited this morning. In no particular order, they are as follows:

  1. Fresh Bread (banh mi)
  2. Sugar Donuts (and the sesame seed variety known as bánh cam)
  3. Fried Tofu
Image contains a photo of a banh mi sandwich with tomato, cilantro, herbs, greens, and a mix of cashew cheese on a plate with blue stripes. In the background, there is a mug with a dragonfly on it.

Banh Mi

Although the bread I bought this morning might not be the kind typically used to make the Vietnamese sandwich known as banh mi, I tend to buy this variety and cut it. Of course, I’ve also eaten plenty of the other version too, and will usually not turn down the option to have a banh mi chay whenever the opportunity presents itself on the street. To be honest, they’re not super common in terms of street vendors, so I’m always excited when I spot one. Of course, they’re relatively easy to make at home in case you’re not lucky enough to have a cart around you.

Note: if you’re ever in Saigon and you get a chance to try one (pictured above) at Kashew Cheese in Thao Dien, I highly recommend it. Oh, and get some cheese while you’re there too.

Image contains a photo of Vietnamese banh cam along with a sugared variety. In the background, lives of watermelon are visible.

Bánh Cam

I couldn’t find much online about the sugared version of these lovely fried things, but the sesame seed version is pretty good too and I typically get three of each whenever I see the vendor in the morning. If you’re interested in making them at home, you can give this recipe a shot. I haven’t tried it myself, but it seems pretty simple and it also gives you a bit of history about the tasty treat.

Image contains a photo of a block of fried tofu in the foreground. Behind it there are fried greens, kimchi, and lettuce leafs.

Fried Tofu

Tofu is pretty simple to find in most parts of the country, and probably many parts of the world too. However, what I love about the local market option we have here is that I can buy it fresh in the morning without any packaging while supporting some local people in the process. Plus, it’s cheaper than the store option, so it’s basically a whole pile of wins all rolled into one delicious block.

And that’s it. If you’d like to hear more about the vendors and the food, while I get interrupted by thunder and a downpour, then check out this week’s episode below.

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Image contains a photo of a purple plate with blocks of tofu and sugared balls on it. On the top and bottom of the plate, there are two baguettes. Below the plate, there is white text that says "Three Vegan Picks From A Vietnam Market" and "Where Am I Wednesday".

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