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Handy Vietnamese Language Guide for Vegan Travelers in Vietnam 

 December 18, 2020

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We lived in Hanoi, Vietnam, between 2005 and 2009.  It's actually where we became vegan!   This was made a tiny bit easier as Vietnam can already be quite vegan-friendly.  Not only are there quite a few vegan restaurants out there, but many non-vegan Vietnamese are vegan on certain days of the month. There are lots of ‘chay’ restaurants, and in any case, Vietnamese food can be quite easy to veganise.  You do need to be careful with broth and so on, which could easily find its way into your vegetable noodle soup for example.

Vietnamese people are very accommodating, often speak (enough) English and will do their best to help you, but some language phrases can really help communicate your lifestyle preferences.

Get the printable Vietnamese language guide

We love this sheet over many other language sheets out there for the following reasons:

  • It’s been edited by native Vietnamese speakers, and not by Google!
  • It includes some general phrases. This is important because if you are making requests in Vietnamese it is really important to properly greet the person before making your requests.
  • Phrases are included that are a little bit more involved than just saying you are vegan. You can explain what that really means and even thank the chef for accommodating you. These are all things that will endear the people to you and your requests. Politeness (more than you might use at home) is a highly valued trait in Vietnam, so showing this to the people that you want to get something from will be extremely helpful and respectful.
  • Our language guide also shares some commonly desired phrases to try to reduce the amount of waste you might inadvertently be given in Vietnam. Say no to that straw and that plastic bag!
  • Be aware that Vietnamese is a tonal language so even if you read the pronunciation guide, you might not be understood if the tone is wrong!  If you are not being understood, then just show them the text, and enjoy the giggles.
  • If something terrible happens you have a few phrases which will hopefully get people’s attention straight away. We hope you won’t need them!

We invite you to print out the guide, keep it in your wallet and have it handy. We really hope this guide can be helpful for your vegan and lower waste vacation to Vietnam. 

A huge thank you to Chi, a long time friend in Vietnam and travel contact in Vietnam for creating this document.  She and her husband own a wonderful kayak tour company in Hoian, and Chi owns an amazing vegan restaurant in downtown Hoi An called Vegan Zone, which we wrote about on our other blog.    And don't forget to check out our other vegan language guides for ThaiKinyarwandan and French!
Vietnamese lanterns

English

Vietnamese

GENERAL

Hello!

Xin chào

Goodbye!

Tạm biệt

How are you?

Bạn có khỏe không?

VEGAN

That was delicious!

Ngon quá!

I eat vegan

Tôi ăn chay thuần

I am a vegan. I do not eat meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy milk or dairy milk products (butter, yogurt cheese). 

Tôi ăn chay thuần, không thịt, cá, hải sản, gia cầm, trứng, sữa động vật và các chế phẩm từ sữa, bơ, sữa chua, phô mai

Does this food contain meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, milk or milk products? 

Món ăn này có thịt, cá, hải sản, gia cầm, trứng, sữa động vật và các chế phẩm từ động vật, bơ, sữa chua, phô mai

Is this vegan?

Cái này có phải chay thuần không?

Please no broth made from meat or fish.

Làm ơn không nước súp từ thịt hay cá

I don’t want ……...

Tôi không muốn...

fish

meat

thịt

pork

Thịt heo

chicken

Thịt gà

beef

Thịt bò

egg

trứng

seafood

Hải sản

cow’s milk

Sữa bò

cheese

Phô mai

yogurt

Sữa chua

shrimp paste

Mắm tôm

oyster sauce

Dầu hào

Thank you!

Cảm ơn

Does this have any leather, silk, wool or anything else from an animal?

Cái này có làm bằng da, lụa, len hay là chất liệu từ động vật không?

Can you check with the chef that this is vegan?

Bạn có thể hỏi bếp cái này có phải chay thuần không?

Can you make this dish vegan?

Bạn có thể làm món này kiểu chay không?

Thank you for accommodating me at your restaurant. I really appreciate you and the kitchen staff looking after me.

Cảm ơn các bạn đã đón tiếp tôi ở nhà hàng của các bạn. Tôi rất cảm kích các bạn và nhà bếp đã chăm sóc tôi.

ZERO WASTE

No plastic bag please.

Không túi ny lông 

No straw, please.

Không ống hút

I really don’t want a straw

Tôi không muốn ống hút

IN AN EMERGENCY

Please call an ambulance!

Làm ơn hãy gọi cấp cứu

I need someone that speaks English now. It’s an emergency!

Tôi cần một người nói tiếng Anh ngay. Rất khẩn cấp rồi.

Please send an ambulance with a doctor on board if possible.

Vui lòng cho xe cứu thương và bác sỹ tới

Woman carrying food basket

If you like it, PIN IT!

this pictures shows some red typical vietnam scenes from incense burning in a temple to some lantern lit streets with the text Handy Language Guides for vegan travelers to Vietnam

Let's Discuss!

We'd love to hear from you!  Do you have any questions?  Is there anything missing in this language guide?   Let us know and we might add it to a future article update!

Let's have a discussion in the comments below.  We'd love to hear from you!

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