How to Find and Order Amazing Vegan Food in Koh Samui
Last updated on September 27th, 2023
Are you planning a trip to the dreamy island of Koh Samui and wondering how to find your way as a vegan?
Well, you’re in luck! I’m going to show you how to find and order vegan food in Koh Samui. From navigating local cuisine to communicating your dietary preferences, you’ll find the answer.
Is Koh Samui Vegan-Friendly?
Koh Samui may not be known as a vegan mecca, but it certainly has a growing vegan-friendly scene. You can find vegan options scattered throughout the island. To make your quest easier, focus on areas like Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach, which have more vegan-friendly restaurants.
Where to Look
Whenever travelling in Asia, or most places really, look for areas with yoga and meditation centres or retreats. These areas are often great for health-conscious people, making them more likely to have vegan-friendly and plant-based restaurants.
If you’re not able to find any nearby, simply Google “Vegan food in Koh Samui.” A cluster of results will guide you to the right spot. But don’t make a choice right away, once you’re in the area, take a stroll around the area, and you’ll probably find plenty of menus with vegan options and even some hidden gems that aren’t easy to find online.
What are the most vegan-friendly areas in Koh Samui?
You’ll never be too far from a restaurant that sells vegan food in Koh Samui, but if you want to be in an area that has a selection of options I’d recommend Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach.
Both of these popular areas have stunning beaches to enjoy during the day and vegan-friendly restaurants to fill your belly in the evening.
How to Find Vegan Food in Koh Samui
The one app you should never travel without as is vegan is Happy Cow. This app always helps me find the best vegan-friendly restaurants in the area so I never need to miss out.
Using apps and websites like Happy Cow, TripAdvisor, and good old Google can help you find restaurant listings, reviews, and even user-generated photos to help you choose the perfect vegan spot.
Walk the Street
Explore the streets, and beaches, of Koh Samui with an open heart and an empty stomach. Sometimes, the best vegan discoveries happen when you least expect them. Keep your eyes peeled for intriguing signs and delicious smells.
Be open and just give it a go. Approach friendly locals, they can often share their favourite vegan spots or at least point you in the right direction or even.
Ask Other Travellers
Fellow travellers might have already found some amazing places to try. Strike up conversations, exchange tips on where to find the best vegan food and you never know, you might just make a new friend.
Must-Try Vegan Dishes in Koh Samui
While you’re in Thailand, the home of some of the best food in the world, don’t miss out on these must-try vegan dishes:
- Som Tum: A spicy papaya salad with peanuts, lime, and chilli.
- Massaman curry: A rich, flavourful, and mildly spicy Thai curry.
- Pad Thai: Wok-fried rice noodles mixed with tofu, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A sweet treat of ripe mango, glutinous rice, and coconut milk.
These dishes are not typically vegan, but I’ve found and eaten vegan versions of all of them and Thai food makes me happy!
How to Order Vegan Food in Koh Samui
“Jae” (เจ) / Jay: Keep an eye out for this word; it signals that the restaurant is familiar with vegan options. You will often see a sign outside a vegan-friendly restaurant with the word “Jae” (เจ), It’s usually red writing on an orange or yellow background. It’s easy to recognise because it looks like the number 17.
Now that you’ve found the perfect restaurant, it’s time to order your vegan meal. Now, even though you see the word Jay, it does guarantee everything will be vegan.
So, here’s how to communicate that you want vegan food in Thai:
- I am vegan: ฉันทานเจค่ะ (Chan taan jay ka)
- I don’t eat meat: ฉันไม่ทานเนื้อสัตว์ค่ะ (Chan mai taan nuea satwa ka)
- I don’t eat: ฉันไม่กิน (Chan mai gin)
- Meat: เนื้อ (Nuea)
- Chicken: ไก่ (Gai)
- Eggs: ไข่ (Khai)
- Fish: ปลา (Pla)
- Fish Sauce: น้ำปลา (Nam pla)
- Shrimp: กุ้ง (Goong)
- Milk: น้ำนม (Nam nom)
- Honey: น้ำผึ้ง (Nam phueng)
To make ordering as easy as possible, take a screenshot or print a copy of these phrases to have them readily available.
If you’re feeling adventurous, use Google Translate to learn how to pronounce the phrases.
Or, if you have internet access on the go and want an easy life, let Google Translate do the talking for you.
Can I Find Vegan Street Food in Koh Samui?
Absolutely! Koh Samui has night markets scattered all around the island. Most of the night markets have a great selection of street food including various vegan options. From fruit stalls to fried tofu skewers and vegan Pad Thai noodles. Have your words and phrases ready and go exploring.
Is There Vegan-Friendly Accommodation in Koh Samui?
Yes, while the island isn’t packed with fully vegan restaurants and resorts you will find that many places offer vegan-friendly breakfasts.
One incredible option for vegans is the Kapuhala Koh Samui Boutique Wellness Resort. This eco-conscious resort is entirely focused on plant-based food and nutrition. With a plant-based restaurant, an indoor fitness studio, and a stunning 25-meter infinity swimming pool overlooking the sea, it’s the perfect place for vegan travellers seeking both relaxation and wellness.
In conclusion, Koh Samui might not be the first place that comes to mind for vegan food, but with some research and a willingness to explore, you’ll discover plenty of vegan-friendly options. Enjoy your vegan journey in Koh Samui!
If you’re interested in reading about some more of my vegan travel tips check out my page Vegan Food on Tour.
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.