Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

And now, a brief word from the Ministry of Health.

*     *     *

Being a vegetarian in Northern California is almost clichéd; however, being a vegetarian in Vietnam is no small feat. The Vietnamese diet is based largely around white rice and noodles, with meat in almost every vegetable dish (and most noodle bowls are cooked with a meat-based broth.)

There are plenty of fresh vegetables and filling starches, but the real challange is finding adequate and varied nutrition in the protein camp. However, all is not lost! There are plenty of restaurants in Ha Noi (where I am currently located) that serve or exclusively cater to vegetarians. But what I am more interested in is finding ways to build complete-protein-rich, simple but delicious meals right in your very own pagoda.

I should preface this: I am not a chef, in the smallest sense of the word. I have no background whatsoever. But I like to eat, and I’m creative (if a little strange) in my tastes. Usually, I try and work with what’s left over in the fridge.

I will be sharing stories and recipes from my pursuit to be both a healthy vegetarian and a happy, adventurous eater.

*     *     *

Going on a day-long bikeride? Have a pilates class in three hours? Here’s a recipe for a super-filling, nutrition-packed brekkie, or some delicious comfort-food when you’re feeling homesick. Created this morning from what was in my roommate/host’s cupboard.

Powerhouse Breakfast Porridge

  • Put 2- 2 1/2 cups water on the stove in a small-medium sauce pot to boil
  • Add 1 egg* to boiling water until yoke is thoroughly cooked, approx. 30 seconds (chicken egg recommended, but if you accidentally bought the wrong kind of egg, a duck egg will do)
  • Turn pot to low. Add 1-2 packets of instant cereal (or whole-grain oatmeal if ya’ got it)
  • Add 1 cup rice (preferably brown, but not all of us are so lucky) pre-cooked from your leftovers last night
  • Stir well
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I made it with cashews & peanuts but would recommend almonds, too)
  • Add 2 tbs. white sesame, whole (toasted if you’re fancy)
  • Add 2 tbs. mười vầng or make your own: (4 parts crushed black sesame seeds, 2 part peanut, 1 part salt)
  • Stir well, remove from heat, and let cool 5 mins. Porridge will congeal somewhat. Add more boiling water if you like it thinner.

If your instant creamer didn’t already have sugar and non-dairy creamer from China in it, add to each bowl:

  • Honey, sugar, or maple syrup to taste
  • Soy, regular, or sữa tươi milk (if you have the Mộc Châo brand of boxed milk, I do not reco using the orange or strawberry flavors… it’s a little strange with the egg)

As they say in Vietnam (in English): Good Appetite!

*can omit for vegans

1 Comment to “Vegetarian in Vietnam”

  1. gigi says:

    Sorry, honey, that sounds nasty.
    I love you and can’t wait to eat breakfast :)

Leave a Reply