Ultimate Guide to vegan food and healthy eating in Chiang Mai

Street food vendor preparing his ingredients

Thailand is heaven for anyone following a plant-based diet; the country’s love of spice and heat means the food you eat will never be boring! Here’s our local guide Amy’s tips on the best vegan and vegetarian food in Chiang Mai:

Local Foods

Khao soi is a traditional dish from the north of Thailand, introduced to Chiang Mai by the Chinese Muslims who emigrated here hundreds of years ago. It is made up of egg noodles, curry paste, lime, shallots, pickled cabbage, fried chilli and coconut milk and traditionally includes meat but several local restaurants have created their own, extremely tasty vegan versions. See below for recommendations.

Gaeng keaw waan, otherwise known as green curry, is a staple of Thai cooking. The mushroom and tofu version at Reform Kafe has been creating a buzz with travelling vegans since the restaurant went full vegan back in 2017.

Khao klook kapi is fried rice usually served with shrimp paste and sometimes sweet pork. But some local vegan restaurants have developed their own plant-based versions, using tofu paste and I can confirm that it is absolutely delicious!

Tom yum is one of Thailand’s most famous dishes. It’s a type of hot and sour soup that is traditionally made with shrimp but the vegan versions, usually incorporating mushroom and tofu, are really special too.

Restaurants

Buffet close-up of food at Rassamee Dhamma restaurant in Chaing Mai

There’s a buffet of tasty vegan delights to be enjoyed at the Rassamee Dhamma Foundation Charity. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Rassamee Dhamma Foundation Charity – vegan restaurant/take away

This vintage vegan food joint was opened over 30 years ago by the Rasamee Dharma Buddhist Society to serve local people at a reasonable price, encouraging them to eat less meat but not to compromise on delicious flavour.

Menu suggestion: Chinese bread with beans and mushrooms, deep fried spring roll, vegan curries served with rice, noodle salad rolls, khao soi traditional noodles and naam ngiaw, which are egg noodles from the north traditionally served with tomato curries.

Average price for main course: 30-60 baht (average US$1-2)

Address: 269-1 Changphuak road (before Khuang- Singh intersection on the left), Chiangmai Phone: 053-221-501 View on Google maps

Open: Monday – Saturday 06:00-16:00 Closed: Sunday

 

Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society (Santi Asoke – Buddhist Society)

If you’re all about ‘paying it forward’ this is the restaurant for you! This vegan food place has been managed by the local Santi Asoke Buddhist Society for over 25 years, and food is ‘FREE’ with the expectation that you will buy food for the next person that walks in from the society minimart. It’s very laidback with self-service food/drinks.

Menu suggestion: Rice with deep-fried tofu, curries, noodles and herbal drinks.

Price: Free of charge, in return you can buy some food at the society’s minimart for the next customers.

Location: 42 Mahidol Rd, Suthep,  Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, View on Google Maps

Phone: 081-352-5051

Open: Monday – Friday 06:00-14:00 Closed: Saturday-Sunday

 

Sauces and salads at Lychee restaurant, Chaing Mai

Plenty of options to be had at the ever popular Lychee Restaurant. Photo credit: Lychee

Lychee Restaurant

This is one of the friendliest places in town, serving up healthy breakfasts and afternoon teas during the day amongst chic interior design. A special vegetarian dining menu is offered in the evenings, with several vegan options included, such as tom yum mushroom hotpot.

Menu Suggestion: Fried mushroom with summer salsa, spicy papaya salad, deep-fried tofu with tamarind sauce, tom yum mushroom in hotpot, soya milk waffle with fruit and maple syrup

Price: 100 baht++

Location: 47 Treevana Club Chiangmai, Soi Viengbua, Chotana road, Chang Phuak, Chiangmai. View on Google maps

Phone: 053-221-356

Open: Everyday 08:00-17:00 Happy hour 14:00-17: 00 Buy 1 Get 1 Free drinks

 

Aum Vegetarian Restaurant

Wildly popular among the vegetarian expat community, this is an innovative little restaurant where flavour takes centre stage. Dishes are beautifully presented and usually served with some sort of ‘twist.’ The second floor is kitted out with pillows and mattresses, presumably to put you in a zen-like state but if the furniture doesn’t get you there, the food certainly will!

Menu Suggestion: Fruit shake, mixed fruit sushi, fresh spring rolls, vegetable pad thai

Price: 100 baht++

Location: 1 4 Suriyawong 5 Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 053 278 315

Open: Everyday 10:30-20:30

 

yentafo Thai food dish served at Jay Kanya Vegetarian Food, Chiang Mai

The yentafo at Jay Kanya Vegetarian Food is very special. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Jay Kanya Vegetarian Food

This local food restaurant was opened by Aunty Kanya, as the locals affectionately refer to her, 16 years ago and her food has become very popular with her neighbours! Kanya prepares and cooks all the food herself every morning (she has to get up super early to do so!), 7 days a week. What she doesn’t know about Thai flavours and spices isn’t worth knowing.

Menu suggestion: Khao klook kapi (rice with tofu paste), khao moo daeng (usually made with pork, this one features tofu), noodle soups such as yentafo & tom yum, rice with curry, stir-fried vegetables & tofu.

Average price for a main course: 30-40 baht (US$1)

Location: Vieangbua road next to Thanin local market Phone: 086 728 2921 View on Google maps

Open: Everyday 07:00-16:30

 

Takeaways

Jay Mai Jumjay Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant

Typical, local vegetarian/vegan dishes, served at low prices and very popular with locals. Occasionally they also offer pizza with vegan cheese, great if you’re craving something from home.

Menu suggestion: Vegetable/mushroom/tofu salad, khao soi, noodle soup and rice with many menu options

Price: 40-60 baht (average 2 dollar)

Location: 155 Suthep Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 090 893 9466

Open: Everyday 10:00-21:00

 

Ko Neng Pa-Thong-Ko (located amongst the Lamyai local market)

Pa-thong-ko is a delicious deep-fried strip of dough eaten in China and southeast Asia. Served up by the artistic ‘Uncle Neng’ the pa-thong-ko at Ko Neng are the best in the city and they come in all sorts of weird and wonderful animal and cartoon shapes. Crocodile pa-thong-ko anyone?

Menu suggestion: Chinese deep-fried pa-thong-ko in the shape of a dragon, elephant, gecko, dinosaur etc. and fresh soya milk, rice congee and eggs

Price: 20-40 baht (average US$1)

Location: Lamyai local market: 90 Wichayanon Rd, Tambon, Chang Mai, View on Google maps  

Phone: 094-637-6333

Open: Everyday 06:00-11:30 (No parking)

 

Tue Kha Kho

This shop and takeaway can best be described as ‘an oldie but a goodie.’ Locals have been visiting for decades to get a taste of their crazy good dipping sauces!

Menu suggestion: Deep-fried tofu and peanut sauce

Price: 20-40 baht (average 1 dollar)

Location: Near Prince Royal School, Kaeonawarat Rd, Wat Ket, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai. View on Google Maps

Phone: 086 917 3091

Open: Monday – Saturday 10:00-17:00

 

Matae Vegetarian

If you can’t pick just one dish, head here, where a daily rotating buffet of eight homemade vegetarian and vegan dishes await. Pick-and-choose from a variety of curries, veggie stir fries, noodles and fried rice. This unassuming spot is outside the main tourist area but incredibly popular with both locals and expats in the neighbourhood – so go early, as dishes tend to run out after the lunch crowd.

Menu Suggestion: Mushroom curry with brown rice

Price: 40 baht

Location: Sermsuk Rd, Chang Phueak, Chiang Mai. View on Google Maps.

Phone: +66 95 778 8785

Open: Monday to Saturday, 8:00-17:00

*Rasamee Dharma Charity and Jay Kanya restaurants (see above) also offer a takeaway service.

 

Street Food

Making Curry Puffs ready to cook

The skill of curry puff making has been perfected at Curry Puff on Arak 5 Road

Curry Puff

Oh curry puffs, how we love thee! There are only three flavours on the menu at this tiny but popular stall in the Old City, but two of those are veggie-friendly. Don’t worry if you can’t decide – they’re perfectly snack-sized, so don’t be ashamed to grab a few of each before you declare your favourite. Find out more by reading our blog post on Chiang Mai’s best curry puffs!

Menu suggestion: Curry puff with bean or taro

Price: 20-30 baht (average 1 dollar) for a box

Location: Arak 5 Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 089 265 9238

Open: Everyday 07:00-21:30

Kluay Tod Bat Que (deep-fried bananas)

Vegan dessert options don’t come more sublime than this, in our humble opinion. A popular dessert across Asia, you HAVE to eat this at least once during your stay (or better yet, every single night!) and we think this may be the best deep-fried bananas in the city. Although we’d highy recommend that you do your research and try a different one each day, just to be sure…

Menu suggestion: Deep-fried bananas, obviously.

Price:  20-30 baht (average 1 dollar)

Location: San Pa Kai, Wat Ket, Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 098 365 9462

Open: Everyday 08:00-16:00

Roti Pa Dae (crispy roti pancake)

Another sensational dessert option (they do savoury versions too!). The roti pancake originated in Malaysia but the Thai people have embraced it like it was their own, developing some unique Thai fillings to go with it. Pa Dae is one of the most famous stalls in town, run by a mother-daughter duo. Read our post on the best rotee at the night bazaar to find out more.

Menu suggestion: Roti with banana, eggs and chocolate

Price: 25-50 baht (average 1-2 dollar)

Location: Thapae Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Open: Everyday 18:00-24:00

Shopping

Urban Adventures Guide exploring a market in Chiang Mai

Exploring the markets of Chiang Mai with a local guide. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Thanin Local Market (Siriwattana Market)

For fresh vegan ingredients such as tofu, mushroom, vegetables, noodles, rice, etc.

Location: 169 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Chang Phueak, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps          

Open: Everyday 08:00-18:00 (Free parking)

Ton Lamyai Local Market

This bustling flower market is open 24 hours a day and offers everything you could want, including fresh fruit and vegetables, herbal me

dicines, household goods (some of which are vegan-friendly but not all) and plenty of food vendors tempting you with their tasty wares.

Location: 88/1 Wichayanon Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Open: Everyday 06:00-18:00 (Parking 30 baht/hour)

Food Tours

Street food vendor preparing his ingredients

Taste Chiang Mai’s best street food and talk to the vendors who make it on Urban Adventures’ Off Grid Food Tour. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Join one of Urban Adventures’ immersive  Chiang Mai food tours and discover the people and the stories behind your favourite local dishes. We offer vegan-friendly options for all the stops on our Chiang Mai tours, please let us know your dietary requirements at the time of booking so that we can be prepared. Or you can email us at info@chaingmaiurbanadventures.com.

A Taste of Chiang Mai offers an all-in-one cultural and foodie big hitters itinerary, offering a stomach-pleasing introduction to the best of Chiang Mai. Walk around the markets, visit some of the city’s most beautiful temples and try some of our favourite foods.

The Off-Grid Food Adventure offers a more in-depth look at Chiang Mai’s legendary food scene, exploring the local’s favourite places to chow down around the Thapae, Suandok, and Changphuak Gates. Try dishes such as the world famous Khao Soy that the city is known for and Som Tum Isa. Is your mouth watering yet?!