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:
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.
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
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
Open: Monday – Friday 06:00-14:00 Closed: Saturday-Sunday
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
Open: Everyday 08:00-17:00 Happy hour 14:00-17: 00 Buy 1 Get 1 Free drinks
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
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
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
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
Open: Everyday 06:00-11:30 (No parking)
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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)