Bangkok: A Guide for Vegetarians

Lorina Tan is a 20-something food-lover  who was based in Thailand for 2 years.  I met her through the blog when she sent me samples of her products (Tiny Buds and Dentiste), and I asked her if she could share her favorite meatless dishes in Bangkok.

lorina

“The first company I worked for needed an English speaker to take care of their International clients.  Little did I know that I would become the only foreigner in the whole company!” Lorina shares.

Working with all Thai officemates, Lorina then found herself eating in street food stalls every single day. She learned how to order like a local, and and she fell in love with local Thai dishes that she hadnever heard of before.  “That’s why you will not find Pad Thai, Pandan Chicken or Spring Rolls on my list!”

After a year, Lorina I moved to a German e-commerce company where a lot of her colleagues and friends were (homesick) expats. From stir-fry and sticky rice, it was always about where to get the most authentic croissants in town! She also often found myself walking down many-a sketchy street on the hunt for the city’s best Sangria or Fish & Chips or Falafel.  “Whatever it was, we found it, and it would taste absolutely incredible! That’s when I realized how diverse the food culture in Bangkok is. The city literally has something for everyone and a surprise discovery at every turn.”

So here’s a short list (at least short by Lorina’s standards) on the scrumptious meatless dishes that the Land of Smiles has in store.  “And remember,” Lorina adds. “Vacation calories don’t count!”

ORDERING VEGETARIAN IN THAI

  • Fret not when ordering! The thai language conveniently has an exact term for Meatless or Vegetarian Food. All you have to say is “Ahan Jay”.
  • You may also ask the servers to exclude meat or any specific ingredient by saying “Mai Sai _______” or “Don’t Put _____.”
  • Lastly, all visitors must be warned that “A Little Spicy” for a Thai person is still really spicy! They just can’t resist putting chillies in everything! So if you can’t tolerate spicy food at all, you must very clearly say “Mai Ao Phet!” or “I Don’t want Spicy!”

LOCAL THAI RESTAURANTS

1. Som Tam Thai Jay from Som Tam Nua in Siam Square

Traditional papaya salad with salted egg and peanuts

https://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d3140662-Reviews-Som_Tam_Nua-Bangkok.html

2.  Fresh Vegetables with Strawberry Dip from Kub Kao Kub Pla in Emquartier Mall

North Eastern Dish of Freshly Picked vegetables served with a special dipping sauce

https://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d8114721-Reviews-Kub_Kao_Kub_Pla_EmQuartier-Bangkok.html

3. Thai Omelette (Kai Jeow Jay) from Taling Pling in Central World Mall

https://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d3167930-Reviews-Taling_Pling_CentralWorld-Bangkok.html

4. Vegetable Hot Pot set from MK 

MK is a large chain of Thai Hot Pot Restaurants, start with the vegetable set and add other toppings of your choice

https://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d3653994-Reviews-MK_Restaurant-Bangkok.html

5. Everything from May Veggie Home

Thai Vegan Restaurant

http://mayveggiehome.com/menu/

6. Various Stalls at the MBK Food Court

MBK Mall is a favorite of visitors for cheap clothes, gadgets and other accessories

http://www.eatingthaifood.com/2011/11/vegetarian-food-stall-at-mbk-shopping-center-bangkok-thailand/

7. Mushroom Tum Yum from Coffee Beans by Dao

http://www.coffeebeans.co.th/index.php/ourmenu

INTERNATIONAL CUISINE

Bangkok is a bustling food city full of world-class restaurants! Fun Fact! The no. 1 ordered dish from Food Delivery services is always Hummus!

1. Mexican Salad (replace meat with beans) from La Monita Taqueria

This hole in the wall Mexican joint has made it big, bringing in a Food Truck inside Siam Paragon Mall. Best burritos in Bangkok? Look no further!

http://www.lamonita.com/#mexican-food

2. Sampler Plate from Beirut

Don’t expect anything fancy, Beirut is Notorious for their Service but it’s worth going for the Best Lebanese Food in Town! From their free yogurt dip down to their Baklava, everything on the menu is a Mediterranean Food Lover’s Dream Come True. Get the sampler platter to try a little bit of everything

https://www.facebook.com/BeirutBangkok/

3. Broccoli Burger & Broccoli Ice Cream from Broccoli Revolution

Newly-opened Vegan restaurant that mixes Asian and Western flavors. Open from breakfast to dinner to dessert! And yes, Broccoli Ice Cream does exist on their menu!

https://www.facebook.com/BROCCOLI-REVOLUTION-608093132654566/

4. Buckwheat Waffle & Coconut Porridge from Rocket 

Since it opened, Rocket has become a mainstay brunch and coffee hangout for Bangkok’s Most Stylish Crowd. Thankfully they offer some scrumptious vegetarian options too!

https://www.facebook.com/RocketCoffeebar/?fref=ts

5. Make Your Own Salad from Cafe Tartine

This cute little cafe is a favorite of European expats! Pick from a selection of Fresh Toppings to Make your Own Salads! Each bowl comes in huge portions that will leave you smiling till the last spoonful. Their Apple Tartine & Breakfast Croissants are is also famous throughout Bangkok.

http://www.cafetartine.net/

DESSERTS

1. Cakes, Cookies & Waffles from Veganerie

Another strong entry into the Vegan community is Veganerie with their picture-perfect desserts! Healthy but Guilt-Free!

https://www.facebook.com/VeganBakeryBangkok/

2. Shibuya Honey Toast from After You

Never without a line, be prepared to wait with both locals and visitors alike for a plate of their Honey Toast or Crepe Cakes. This cafe single-handedly launched the Honey Toast trend in Thailand.

http://www.afteryoudessertcafe.com/

3. Coconut Ice Cream  from Terminal 21

Please do not leave Thailand without having some real coconut Ice Cream. If eating from the street makes you iffy, you can get one at a reasonable price from Pier 21, The Foodcourt inside Terminal 21 Mall

https://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Restaurant_Review

-g293916-d4064159-Reviews-Pier_21_Food_Terminal-Bangkok.html

4. Mango Sticky Rice

Though this dish can easily be found in many Thai Restaurant menus, the best is on the popular Street Food Stall called Mae Varee. Just get off at BTS Thong Lor station and ask for the Giant Mangoes!

http://aroimakmak.com/maevaree-mango-sticky-rice/

If you can’t get to this, another popular option is Mango Tango at Siam Square. Just be prepared to queue!

http://www.mymangotango.com/

5. BONUS! 

3 Must-Try Fruits when in Thailand. You can find these on the street or in any grocery store.

Coconut Juice – Fresh from the Coconut, Cold and Unbelievably Sweet!

Papaya – Sweet, Juicy, Succulent and Easily found in any Street Fruit Cart

Durian – Thai Durians are sweeter and creamier than their Malaysian counterparts, they’re a bit more difficult to find on the street but  you can also find them in Tops Supermarket (CENTRAL WORLD MALL)

Thank you so much for this awesome list, Lorina!

Follow Lorina Tan on Instagram @linlintan

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