While Vietnamese food may you may think of heaping bowls of beef bone soup, grilled meats and plenty of fish, the vegetarian options in this culinary-obsessed nation are some of the best you’ll find in the world. Explore the plant-based side of this beloved cuisine and make this turmeric tofu with dill and rice noodles. 

Before my initial visit to Hà Nội over a decade ago, I had read about this dish and was intrigued by the abundant use of fragrant herbs. When I arrived in the city, I walked along the thirty-six streets that make up Hà Nội’s Old Quarter, quickly realizing that each street is named for those goods or foods in which the shopkeepers on that street specialize. Chả Cá Street, for example, is named for this fish dish, made popular by the family that has run Chả Cá La Vong Restaurant for generations. It’s heavy with both scallion and dill.

Walking into the restaurant that day, I was greeted first by those aromas: first onions, then herbs. It’s so good that I’ve adapted the recipe to use tofu and a vegan version of nước chấm, the traditional clear dipping sauce, in place of the fish and fish sauce in the original dish.

Reprinted with permission from Vegetarian Vietnam