Sunday, 26/05/2024 10:00

Healthy bites on offer at Dana Vegan House

By Thúy Hằng

Even though I've tried veggie food many times, I am not a fan, honestly. Vegetarian restaurants are not my first option unless it is the wish of my family members, friends or colleagues who I dine out with.

A wooden traditional thresher and a stack of jute sacks of rice have been placed by the entrance of Dana Vegan House, which has been converted from a 100-year-old rice warehouse. — Photo courtesy of Dana Vegan House

Last week, I joined my friends for a vegan lunch – my first time since January, in a newly opened vegetarian restaurant in the Old Quarter.

Located on Đông Thái Street – a small and short street that is easy to miss, Dana Vegan House has been converted from a 100-year-old rice warehouse, offering guests a warm experience.

According to Dana’s owner Huyền Vũ, in Buddhism ‘dana’ means the practice of giving, and it is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist virtues.

The decorative lamps created by visual artist Phương Đức, who got the inspiration from the image of the straw bundles seen on rice fields during the harvest season. — Photo courtesy of Dana Vegan House

The restaurateur also explains the design concept.

“Rice grains are the essence of Vietnamese wet rice civilisation. It is not only a source of life but also a symbol of prosperity and other cultural values of Vietnamese people. That’s why we chose rice grains as the main inspiration that has been presented in every corner of the restaurant, both interior and exterior space,” she said.

When I stepped inside the restaurant, I noticed a wooden traditional thresher and some jute sacks of rice placed by the entrance for decoration. The inside space is rustic yet sophisticated with soft light and artistically designed wooden chairs and tables, creating a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.

Aesthetically pleasing and stylishly furnished was my first impression of the restaurant.

Tân Minh perilla leaf rolls. — Photo courtesy of Dana Vegan House

That impression was emphasised when I went upstairs.

The second floor is more spacious and has lots of natural light. My eyes were attracted by decorative lamps that hung from the ceiling and almost touched the floor.

Owner Huyền Vũ has shared that the lamps were created by visual artist Phương Đức, who got the inspiration from the image of the straw bundles seen on rice fields during the harvest season.

Our tasting menu features more than 10 dishes that were created with local ingredients from several farming regions around Hà Nội and across the country. However, I will just mention the dishes that I liked the most.

I am a fan of food made with mushrooms, so I was quite excited to taste the first course "Thanh Lãng mushroom soup". Its name Thanh Lãng refers to the home of  the mushroom – Thanh Lãng Town in Bình Xuyên District in Vĩnh Phúc Province. The warm and aromatic sauce nurtured my palate and taste buds. Delicious!

Bean curd with miso and sweet gourd sauce. — Photo courtesy of Dana Vegan House

The "Cuộn tía tô Tân Minh" (Tân Minh perilla leaf rolls) features perilla leaves grown in Tân Minh Commune in Hà Nội’s suburban district of Thường Tín. The appetizer is a combination of several nuts, seeds and berries such as macadamia, cashew, pumpkin, roasted brown rice, dried cranberries, and strawberry mixed with passion fruit sauce.

To enjoy this healthy appetizer, you should get a small amount of the mixture to place on a perilla leave, roll and taste. Different textures, from crunchy nuts to slightly chewy cranberries, and different flavours, from strawberry to passion fruit, and perilla leaves – all combine perfectly in this simple yet epic creation.

The "Đậu hũ non sốt gấc miso" (Bean curb with miso and sweet gourd sauce) is a ‘renovated’ version of the ‘tofu with tomato sauce’ – a simple classic dish. However, the version at Dana has been enhanced by replacing tomato with sweet gourd – a nutritious fruit that offers a bright red natural colour, and miso.

The main course "Baked beetroot with Bình Phước cashew nut sauce" was another nice treat. Slices of succulent beetroot placed on a bed of rice mixed with corn and millet seeds. The cashew nut sauce is slightly creamy and spicy thanks to added paprika.

Gnocchi Indian curry. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng

I am not a fan of Indian curry because I don’t like cumin. However, the "Gnocchi Indian curry" gave me a chance to change my mind. Unlike other curry dishes that are heavy on the clarified butter and cream, the one by Dana is a medley of colourful vegetables such as baby corn, carrot and mushroom.

Instead of using potatoes, the chef was very creative, replacing them with homemade gnocchi. It is hearty, delicious and comforting, and most importantly, for me anyway, without cumin.

Our menu also includes other delightful dishes such as "Cơm cháy Ninh Bình sốt nấm" (Ninh Bình fried rice cake with mushroom sauce), pizza Việt Nam, and Thái Bình rice pudding.

There are different reasons for an individual to be vegetarian – for religion, for health, for the environment, for animal rights, or for a sustainable lifestyle. At Dana Vegan House, vegetarianism is for everyone.  VNS

Baked beetroot with Bình Phước cashew nut sauce. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng


Dana Vegan House

Address: 12 Đông Thái St, Hàng Buồm Wrd, Hoàn Kiếm Dist, Hà Nội 

Opening hours: 11am – 11pm

Tel: +84 96 496 12 12

Comment: Artful décor and architecture reflecting Vietnamese culture. Food created with appreciation for local ingredients.


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