Eating at Annen Vegetarian Corner is like visiting a distant relative; although you may not have seen them for years, you’re welcomed as though your last visit had been yesterday. Annen’s laidback style invites you to relax as you enjoy fresh, Vietnamese, vegetarian cuisine at some of the cheapest prices in Hoi An.
I stumbled upon Annen seeking refuge from the heat but on arrival, I was warmly greeted by the host who promptly adjusted a pedestal fan and then hurried off to get me a (free) bottle of cold water. I couldn’t resist settling in.
Annen’s cozy outdoor courtyard is like a mini, no-frills hideout filled with a wide array of potted and border plants. Shaded by leafy tree branches and white parasols, it’s overlooked by a miniature alter standing gently in the corner. I’ve not yet seen the five outdoor tables full during the daytime, but that’s part of the allure – relax and enjoy the quiet. Evenings are generally busier and have more vibe, but extra indoor seating still leaves plenty of room.
Annen’s compact menu includes the refreshing and light Sup An Niem (Annen soup) and, of course, Cha Gio, those mandatory, moreish, fried spring rolls as starters.
I’ve struggled not to order the same few dishes on each visit to Annen as they’re so reliably delicious and flavoursome. As I’m vegetarian, stir-fried noodles with vegetables and tofu is a dish that I’ve eaten countless times throughout South East Asia but I can honestly say that Annen’s version of this dish is one of the tastiest I’ve tried. A colourful concoction of fresh, crunchy carrots, green beans, red cabbage, onion, bean sprouts and button mushrooms are packed together with lightly crisped tofu and soft noodles laced with soy sauce.
But the braised eggplant in claypot has to be my favourite dish. Strips of eggplant are baked in spices; the result is so moist and sweet that you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d never really eaten eggplant before. Local speciality Mi Quang is also a great choice if you fancy an earthy and local dish served with a heap of mixed green leaves and daily specials enliven the selection.
Be sure to inform the staff of your dietary requirements, be it vegan or vegetarian.
Besides tasty healthy food, Annen also offers several yoga classes a day. But if you’re not in the mood for all that healthy stuff, fear not, you can always just pop into Annen to snack on some of their incredible home-made fries and a Tiger beer!