Vietnamese Hawker Favourites at Fina’s Vegetarian Café

Since becoming vegan a few years ago, I came to realise that there weren't very many vegan Vietnamese options out there. Vietnamese cuisine is one of my favourites, so it was a little disheartening to discover the lack of choices. Until I came across Fina’s Vegetarian Café.

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe Vietnamese

Fina’s started out on Victoria Street in 2011, right in the heart of a strip lined by some of Melbourne’s revered Vietnamese restaurants and soup kitchens. Steven and Christine Nguyen started their café and the name was derived from a combination of their two daughters’ names. They envisaged a destination where people could enjoy healthy Vietnamese favourites with an eye for compassion towards animals. They also, simply, wanted to make a living and enjoy seeing customers enjoy their menu.

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe Vietnamese

The drawcards here are simple Vietnamese hawker favourites all served speedily. There’s the fresh and crunchy bun cha gio chay – a lively rice vermicelli salad threaded with crispy sprigs of mint, coriander and tofu strips, all topped with golden spring rolls and crushed peanuts. A side of non-fish “fish sauce” partners this salad, the quintessential ingredient here, and is delicately sprinkled over the top of the salad. A light sprinkle is enough to bring a zingy flavour to the dish while not making it soggy. Another filling and substantial treat comes in the form of banh mi chay – a French bread roll jam packed full of shredded mock chicken and satay tofu, all topped with a bouquet of lettuce, carrot, radish, cucumber, coriander and a scattering of peanuts. This is the perfect dish for anyone in a hurry who needs a quick and hearty meal.  

An extensive, unexpected list of favourite beverages are available to choose from as well – freshly squeezed juices and an espresso bar – alongside a cabinet bursting with creamy cakes and baked treats. It’s pleasing to find a vegan selection in this enticing cabinet. There’s black forest cake and even a peppermint pattie sponge, supplied by Melbourne’s king of vegan cakes Mister Nice Guy.

There’s nothing better than a Vietnamese location with vegan options as well as dessert options to match. Though, said location is also very cheap and that’s not a bad thing either!

Visit Fina’s Vegetarian Café and discover these yummy Vietnamese hawker treats for yourself. 268 Victoria Street Richmond, Victoria 3121 Australia. Open daily 8:30am to 9:30pm. Phone 03 9428 6765.

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