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Vegetarian Food in Thailand

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Most tourists travelling to Southeast-Asia, would be greatly excited by the wonderful variety of meat and fish-based dishes on offer. Thai food, is after all, famous for its pork dishes and the wonderful sauces that are used to flavor their food. But vegans and vegetarians should not feel daunted as there are great vegetarian options too. Do try the following classic Thai dishes, with a vegetarian twist.

Click here to read about five must try dishes in Thailand!

Green Curry

Green Curry can be made with a mix of vegetables and tofu. The same goes for Red Curry and Massaman Curry. Most Thai restaurants will only make the dish after you place your order, so just specify no meat, only vegetables.

Thai Green Curry
Source: Cookie and Kate

Tom Yum

Tom Yum is actually a hearty soup, though it is also used to flavor other dishes. Enjoy this filling soup without the addition of meat.

Tom Yum
Source: Minimalist Baker

Pad Thai

This  is one of the most popular and well liked Thai favorites. Order your Pad Thai with tofu and no meat. Vegans can ask for the dish to be made, minus the egg.

Pad Thai
Source: Minimalist Baker


Papaya salad, green mango salad, banana flower salad are three delicious salads that you could opt for. These are usually made fresh, so go for it.  Morning Glory stir fry is another favorite that most restaurants will have on their menu as a side dish. The Thai markets have a huge variety of fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables. You could try to toss up a salad or even try your hand at a stir fry vegetable, if your hostel has the facility for simple cooking.

If, you have a sweet tooth you could try the hugely popular Mango and Sticky Rice dessert. Glutinous rice, mango and coconut milk is used to make this.

Mango and Sticky Rice dessert
Source: The Spruce Eats

Every street corner in Thailand will have a supermarket displaying an array of fresh, canned and ready meals. Available in cans or packets they offer an alternative, though certainly not superior to freshly made food. Some of the options I have seen on super market shelves are vegetarian taro rice, mushroom soup and green curry. Most super markets will have a section where hot water is available to heat up your packet, so just check. For people travelling on a budget, heating up in a microwave back at the hostel, is a cost saving option.


A popular and affordable option, noodles are available almost everywhere-in, restaurants shops or with street vendors. These come in several vegetarian flavors and can be eaten at the super market, where the hot water station allows you to make them right there.  The magic of instant noodles.

Thai Noodles
Source: WhatsInThePan

Experienced travelers sharing a tip with us, say that eateries close to temples and monasteries are quite likely to be vegetarian.

Try Indian restaurants, if nothing else will do for you. They are most likely to have a vegetarian section that is completely meat free.

What I have to emphasize here, is that you need to remember that the concept of vegetarianism as we know it, does not exist in Thailand. It is hard for them to understand that a vegetarian dish made with a meat or fish stock, or vegetables to which oyster or fish sauce has been added for flavor, is simply not acceptable to Indian vegetarians.

It is advisable to do some simple research beforehand, especially if you have a specific diet requirement. Looking up words or phrases in the local language can help you choose in a restaurant and will certainly be appreciated by the locals. In Thai, vegetarian is gin jay. A quick Google search could also answer many of your queries. Buying a book of translation is a sensible idea and will be infinitely more reliable than your phone- or can act as a supplement.

When travelling, part of the experience is to savor the culture and what better way, than sampling the local fare.

Click here to read about Street Food in Bangkok in detail!

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