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Tips for Eating Vegan in Thailand

eating vegan thailand beach

Thailand is a vegan heaven!

Not only are there are loads of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, but most of the local food can easily be veganised by requesting simple adaptations.

As Thailand is a buddhist country, there is nearly always vegetarian / vegan options everywhere you go.

There are many expats living here, so most Thai people speak English.

Not only is the food delicious and fresh, it’s also incredibly cheap!

If you are planning on visiting Thailand, here are some things that should make eating vegan super simple!


The Symbol for ‘Vegan’


When I first got to Thailand, I learnt the symbol for Vegan.

The word ‘vegan’ in Thai is ‘jay’ or ‘jae’ which translates to ‘eat like a monk‘, which is amazing <3

You will find the jay symbol, which looks a lot like the number 17, everywhere!

It’s always in red writing with a yellow background and the signs are normally huge and plastered all over the exterior and interior of vegan restaurants.

You will also find it on the front or/and back of food items in shops, such as noodles and snacks.


“I’m a vegan” in Thai

Most people I’ve spoken to at restaurants and on market stalls speak English but it’s always handy to know how to tell them you’re a vegan, just in case.

I’ve actually only needed to use it once but “I am a vegan” in Thai is “chan gin jay” (with a hard ‘g’ like in ‘grapes’). The word ‘vegan’ in Thai is ‘jay’.

Don’t be shy 🙂


Adapting The Food

There are temples all over Thailand and we stumble across them on a daily basis as they are everywhere!

Being a Buddhist country, Thai people are definitely very understanding of the vegan diet. Therefore, most restaurants can easily veganise meals.

Milk is uncommon in most of the local dishes, so most of the time you can just ask for your vegetarian meal to be cooked without egg

If your food is on the vegetarian menu then you should be safe having your meal without the egg.

However, if it isn’t on the vegetarian menu, then just ask them to make it without fish sauce/dried shrimps (if it’s already on the vegetarian menu, then it wouldn’t contain any).

Additionally, most restaurants will offer tofu instead of meat so don’t be scared to ask if they can adapt their dishes, everyone I have asked has been happy to!

There are also loads of delicious Indian restaurants all over Thailand too. Just ask them to cook your meal with vegetable oil intead of ghee, they are normally happy to do so to veganise your meal!


Common Thai Foods

Here’s a list of traditional Thai dishes, which are vegan or can be veganised by making simple adaptions:

  • Pad Phak – stir fried vegetables
    • specify no fish sauce
  • Pak Boong – stir fried morning glory
    • specify no fish sauce
  • Som Tum – papaya Salad
    • specify no fish sauce
  • Pad Thai – rice noodles fried with peanuts and veggies
    • order as vegetarian and specify no egg
  • Rad Na – flat rice noodles and veggies in gravy
    • order as vegetarian and specify no egg
  • Fried Rice – broken rice fried with veggies
    • order as vegetarian and specify no egg
  • Curries veggies cooked in curry paste and coconut milk
    • ensure these are vegetarian as they quite often contain fish sauce or dried shrimp
  • Veggie Spring Rolls – veggies and glass noodles in deep-fried filo pastry
    • most of these are vegan, just check that there is no egg

Thai Sweet Treats

Mango Sticky Rice – fresh mango with sweet coconut sticky rice and coconut milk – what a treat!!

Thai mangoes are one of the best I’ve ever had, so fresh and so sweet.

I’ll admit I was a bit scared to try this as rice isn’t something I’ve ever eaten as dessert, but oh my god it works!

They sell it all over Thailand, on market stalls and in most Thai restaurants.

An absolute must try!

Thai Coconut Pancakes – I used to walk past these all the time thinking ‘WHY AM I VEGAN?!’

Then one day I found out that they are too! It was a real happy moment.

Not only are they vegan, they are gluten free too.

Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside – they’re absolutely delicious and dangerously moorish, so eat at your own peril.

You will find random market stalls selling these all over 🙂

Coconut Ice Cream – There are coconut ice cream stalls scattered all over, the perfect way to cool down from the heat!

Fresh fruits –  Thailand has got to have some of the best, freshest and sweetest fruits I’ve had.

There are fresh fruit stalls all over so if you’re feeling a healthy snack, you’ll never be too far from one!

They’re stored on ice and are served with sticks so you can eat them straight out the bag.

Smoothies – If you prefer your fruits in a liquid form, you’ll be happy to hear that there are also juice and smoothie stalls everywhere, and they’re also served in most restaurants.

Just be aware that they normally put quite a bit of sugar in them, so ask for it without if you’d prefer.


Beer!

Luckily there are lots of options for beer in Thailand, so you can cool off from the glorious sunshine with a bottle, without any hassle.

The local Thai beer, Chang, is vegan friendly as well as Singha and Tiger which you can also find in most bars and restaurants.


Hope you have found this helpful!

If you’re heading to Chiang Mai, check out my favourite vegan eats!

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