How to Find and Order Tasty Vegan Food in Pai, Thailand
Last updated on September 27th, 2023
If you’re planning a visit to the wonderful town of Pai in Northern Thailand and you’re on a quest for delicious vegan cuisine, you’re in for a treat. While Pai may not be the biggest town on the map, it more than makes up for it with its unique vibe and vibrant vegan food scene. Whether you’re a dedicated vegan or just prefer plant-based options while travelling, which can be a wise move, Pai has all you need. Read on because I’m going to show you how to find and order vegan food in Pai. From the best areas to find vegan-friendly restaurants to helpful Thai phrases, you’ll have what you need.
Is Pai Vegan Friendly?
Yes, Pai, like most places in Thailand, is a pretty good place for vegans. There are plenty are vegan restaurants and food market stalls dotted around the street and as it’s a small town, you won’t have to walk too far to find delicious vegan Thai food.
What are the Most Vegan-Friendly Areas in Pai?
Sometimes the experience of a big city is exciting and thrilling but there’s no doubt that a small but busy town like Pai can have its advantages too. No matter where you are in Pai centre, you’re never too far from a vegan-friendly restaurant.
A great starting point is the Walking Street, which not only has excellent vegan dining options but also comes alive with food choices, and people-watching, at the night market.
Where to Look
Often, when travelling in South-East Asia, areas with yoga and meditation centres or retreats are prime spots for vegan-friendly restaurants. If this doesn’t give you any answers, just Google “Vegan food in Pai” and pay attention to any concentrations of restaurants that pop up. You don’t have to commit to a specific spot right away; take a wander around in that area, and you’re likely to find menus with plenty of vegan options.
How to Find Vegan Food in Pai
When it comes to finding vegan food in Pai here are a few quick wins:
1. Online Resources
Happy Cow: This website and app is a vegan’s best friend for discovering vegan-friendly places in Pai, and pretty much anywhere else you could think of.
TripAdvisor: Check out reviews and ratings to find restaurants that offer good vegan options. This is especially good when you’re eating with non-vegans too.
Google it: Yes, I know it’s obvious but with the other tips you might forget to check Google and you may miss a new spot that’s just popped up and hasn’t yet made it to Happy Cow or TripAdvisor.
2. Walk the Street
Wandering around town can lead to delightful surprises. Many vegan-friendly spots may not be easy to find online, so keep your eyes peeled for signs and chalkboard menus.
3. Ask Locals and Fellow Travelers
The locals in Pai are friendly and welcoming. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from them or fellow travellers who’ve already explored the vegan food scene in town.
What Are Must-Try Vegan Dishes in Pai?
Once you’ve got yourself to a vegan-friendly restaurant, you’ll want to know what dishes to try. Pai, like everywhere else in Thailand, offers some of the best food in the world. Here are some things you’ve got to find vegan versions of:
- Massaman Curry: A rich and creamy Thai curry with a variety of vegetables.
- Papaya Salad (Som Tum): Fresh, spicy, and bursting with flavour.
- Fried Tofu: Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, perfect for snacking.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A sweet and satisfying dessert that’s often vegan-friendly.
How to Order Vegan Food in Pai
Spotting the Thai word “Jae” (เจ) or “Jay” on a sign with red writing on a yellow background is a good indicator that the restaurant understands what vegan food is, but doesn’t always guarantee that all the food is vegan. So from there, you can use these phrases to clarify your preferences.
Here are some helpful phrases to help you communicate that you want vegan food:
- 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)
Pro tip: Take a screenshot or print out these phrases so you always have them ready, especially if you’re exploring off the beaten path.
If you want to make a bit of a connection with the locals you can use Google Translate to help you practice saying the words and phrases yourself.
Or if you want an easy life, you can even get Google Translate to do the speaking for you. I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me while travelling
Can I Find Vegan Street Food in Pai?
Absolutely! Pai’s night market is pretty great for vegan street food, or at least it was when I was there. From spring rolls to veggie noodle dishes and delicious fresh fruit, you’ll find a variety of vegan options while wandering around taking it all in.
Is There Vegan-Friendly Accommodation in Pai?
While I haven’t been able to find any hotels that exclusively focus on veganism, most accommodation offers breakfast have vegan options. And if your hotel doesn’t do breakfast, it’s ok, Pai is small, so you’ll never be too far from a place that can whip up a vegan-friendly morning meal to kickstart your day.
In conclusion, Pai, Thailand, may just be a town, but its vegan food scene is pretty good. With a little research, some basic Thai words and phrases, and a sense of adventure, you can easily enjoy every moment of your vegan trip to Pai.
If you’re interested in finding out more about my vegan travel experiences check out 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.