How to Find and Order Vegan Thai Food in Chiang Mai
Last updated on September 27th, 2023
Chiang Mai, the travellers’ paradise, nestled in the heart of northern Thailand, is a dream come true for vegans and vegetarians, like, for real!
With its rich food traditions and more mainstream appreciation for plant-based cuisine, finding and ordering vegan food in Chiang Mai is a delightful task for any traveller. In this guide, we’ll explore how to find and order vegan food in Chiang Mai
Is Chiang Mai Vegan-Friendly?
Absolutely! Chiang Mai is often named one of the most vegan-friendly cities in Southeast Asia. With a long list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, street food vendors and shops, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding vegan food in Chiang Mai.
What Are the Most Vegan-Friendly Areas in Chiang Mai?
If you’re wondering where to start your vegan food quest, I always say it’s good to look in areas with yoga and meditation centres. These parts of any city tend to be a hotspot for vegan-friendly places. One trick is to Google “Vegan food in Chiang” and see if a cluster of restaurants pops up. Then you don’t have to commit to a particular restaurant right away, taking a leisurely stroll in that area is likely to reveal menus brimming with vegan options.
Around the east wall of the old town, both on the inside and the outside, you’ll find a fantastic selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
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How to Find Vegan Food in Chiang Mai?
Happy Cow: This popular website and app are your vegan food compass in Chiang Mai and pretty much everywhere else. It offers detailed listings of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, along with user reviews and ratings. Just always check Google for opening hours because that info isn’t always up to date on Happy Cow.
TripAdvisor: Another great platform for restaurant recommendations and reviews. Filter your search for vegan options to discover top-rated restaurants
Google It: Good old Google is one we shouldn’t forget. A simple search for “vegan food in Chiang Mai” may just show you somewhere that didn’t pop up on Happy Cow.
Walk the Streets
Exploring the streets of Chiang Mai is an adventure in itself. As you wander, keep an eye out for restaurants displaying the Thai word “Jae” (เจ) or “Jay.” While it doesn’t guarantee purely vegan food, it signifies that the restaurant understands what vegan and vegetarian mean.
You can then ask the staff to make sure the meal that comes to your table is fully vegan..
Ask Locals and Fellow Travelers
Ask people, that’s right, travelling is all about meeting new people, so get chatting. Locals can offer insights into hidden gems, while fellow travellers might share their recent vegan food discoveries. Building connections and sharing recommendations can enhance your Chiang Mai experience.
What Are Must-Try Vegan Dishes in Chiang Mai?
No visit to Chiang Mai is complete without tasting some of its iconic vegan dishes (or veganised dishes). Be sure to try dishes like:
- Khao Soi (ask for vegan): An incredible coconut curry noodle soup, with crunch noodles on top. (I wish I could eat this every day)
- Som Tum: A spicy green papaya salad.
- Pad Thai: Yes, I know this noodle dish is popular around the globe and for good reason, so don’t miss the chance to try the real thing.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A delightful dessert made with ripe mangoes, sticky rice, and coconut cream.
How to Order Vegan Food in Chiang Mai?
Communicating what you can eat in Thai can be a game-changer. The Thai word “Jae” (เจ) or “Jay” signifies an understanding of vegan food. You can spot it easily because the word “Jae” (เจ) looks like the number 17 and it’s often on a sign with red writing and a yellow background.
It doesn’t guarantee pure veganism though, so it’s best to double-check.
Here are some useful phrases to order vegan food In Chiang mai:
- I am vegan: ฉันทานเจค่ะ
- I don’t eat meat: ฉันไม่ทานเนื้อสัตว์ค่ะ
- I don’t eat: ฉันไม่กิน
- Meat: เนื้อ
- Chicken: ไก่
- Eggs: ไข่
- Fish: ปลา
- Fish Sauce: น้ำปลา
- Shrimp: กุ้ง
- Milk: น้ำนม
- Honey: น้ำผึ้ง
Consider taking a screenshot or printing these phrases so you have them ready whenever you need them.
If you want to make a connection with locals, use Google Translate to learn and pronounce these phrases yourself.
Or when you have internet access, let Google Translate do the talking for you – it can be a lifesaver, and it’s certainly helped me plenty of times.
Can I Find Vegan Street Food in Chiang Mai?
Absolutely! Chiang Mai’s bustling street markets are a treasure trove for vegans. Keep an eye out for vendors selling dishes like vegan pad thai, spring rolls, and fresh fruit shakes. Don’t miss out on the taste and experience of street food while in Chiang Mai.
Is There Vegan-Friendly Accommodation in Chiang Mai?
Yes, Chiang Mai offers some pretty great vegan-friendly accommodation options.
One place that I especially love is the Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort A Vegan Retreat. This fully vegan hotel offers a vegan restaurant, a prime location just a 5-minute walk from the east gate of the old city, and a serene atmosphere perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring Chiang Mai’s vegan delights.
Take a look at Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort A Vegan Retreat on Booking.com
In Chiang Mai, finding and ordering vegan food is pretty easy and a lot of fun. Embrace the journey, explore the city’s vegan-friendly areas, and savour the flavours of Thailand while sticking to your plant-based diet.
Check out some of the great vegan-friendly food I’ve found along my travels on my Vegan Food on Tour page.
Meet the Author
Meet Sinead O’Carroll: Vegan explorer, sustainability advocate and the founder of The Wondering Wandering Vegan. Embracing veganism since 2018 and vegetarianism since 2005, Sinead is armed with a Vegan Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle qualification, and is on a mission to share her passion for cruelty-free living.
With a taste for adventure and a heart for eco-conscious choices, she’s here to prove that vegans never miss out on flavour, fun or style. Join her in enjoying the delights of a vegan-friendly world! 🌱✈️🌍
Want to know more? Check out Sinead’s About page here.
Follow me on Instagram to see all the delicious vegan food I find, the vegan and cruelty-free products I use and what I get up to as a travelling vegan.