How to Find and Order Incredible Vegan Food in Phuket, Thailand
Last updated on September 27th, 2023
Welcome to the tropical paradise of Phuket, Thailand! While this island is renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, you’ll also do well when looking for vegan food in Phuket, if you know what you’re looking for.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to find and order vegan food in Phuket, Thailand, from finding vegan-friendly areas to ordering the world’s best plant-based dishes with ease.
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Is Phuket Vegan Friendly?
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of finding and ordering vegan food, you might be wondering if Phuket is vegan-friendly. The answer is a resounding yes! Phuket has plenty of fresh and flavour-packed vegan food. Once you know where to look, you’ll find a wide array of restaurants, cafes, and street vendors catering to plant-based diets.
What are the Most Vegan-Friendly Areas in Phuket?
Where to Look: In Phuket, certain areas have a more hippy or yoga-inspired vibe, making them prime locations for vegan-friendly dining. Whenever you travel, to identify these areas, simply Google “Vegan food in Phuket” or the specific area you’re in. If you spot a cluster of vegan restaurants in the search results, you’ve struck gold. Head over to that area and explore; you’re bound to discover menus brimming with vegan delights.
Most areas with anything going on will offer vegan food, I’ve never had trouble finding vegan food in Phuket. But here are some areas with a lot of choices for vegans:
- Bang Tao Beach and the surrounding areas.
- Patong Beach, especially toward the south.
- Phuket Old Town
How to Find Vegan Food in Phuket
When it comes to finding vegan food in Phuket, you have a few handy options:
Happy Cow: A lot of vegan travellers know all about this app but if you haven’t got it you’re missing out! The Happy Cow app is a vegan’s best friend when travelling. It gives lists of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafes, shops and more, complete with reviews and ratings. Download it before your trip to Phuket (or anywhere) for easy access to vegan restaurant recommendations. TIP – Check the opening hours on Google, Happy Cow doesn’t always keep this info up to date.
TripAdvisor: This trusted travel platform offers user-generated reviews and ratings for restaurants, including vegan options. It’s a great resource to discover hidden vegan gems.
Google It: I know it seems obvious but some forget good old Google can also be your ally. Simply type in “Vegan food in Phuket” or the area you’re in, and you’ll get a list of vegan-friendly establishments. Don’t just take Google’s word though, read the reviews yourself and check out the restaurant’s website or social media.
Walk the Street:
One of the joys of travelling is exploring the local scene on foot. Wander around Phuket’s streets, especially in the stunning old town, and you’re likely to stumble upon charming vegan restaurants and food stalls. Don’t hesitate to peek at menus and ask about vegan options. Often the staff in the restaurants are super helpful and would love to knock you up a delicious vegan meal.
The locals are your best guides anywhere you travel and this includes Phuket. Engage with them, ask for recommendations, and you might discover hidden vegan spots that aren’t widely known. And you never know you might just make a new friend.
Ask Other Travellers:
Starting conversations with other travellers is always fun and seems so easy to do in South East Asia. Chances are, you’ll come across people who have found vegan food that they’re excited to tell you all about. Strike up conversations with them, either in person or online, and exchange tips on where to find the best vegan meals.
What Are Must-Try Vegan Dishes in Phuket?
Now that you’re able to find vegan food in Phuket, it’s time to figure out what you don’t want to miss. Here are a few must-try dishes:
- Fried vegetables with cashews and bubble tofu.
- Som Tum: Spicy papaya salad, often vegan when made without fish sauce.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A sweet, creamy dessert made with ripe mango and glutinous rice.
How to Order Vegan Food in Phuket
When you’re in Phuket and ready to fill your belly, keep an eye out for the word “Jae” (เจ) or “Jay.” Spotting this word will set you on the right track, though it’s essential to note that it doesn’t guarantee purely vegan food.
The term “Jae” can include vegan, vegetarian, or something in between. Seeing this word on a menu or sign indicates that the establishment has a good understanding of what vegan food entails, so it’s a good place to start.
The Thai word “Jae” (เจ) looks a lot like the number 17, making it relatively easy to spot. It’s typically displayed on a sign with red writing on a yellow background.
Once you’ve found a place that looks promising, you can use the following words and phrases to communicate your dietary preferences.
How to say you’re vegan in Thai:
- 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
Make sure you always have these phrases ready while travelling in Thailand. Take a screenshot or even print out a copy. Having them on hand will make ordering vegan food much easier if you’re in doubt.
If you’re interested in making a deeper connection with the locals and learning to pronounce these phrases yourself, you can use Google Translate to help you practice.
Additionally, if you have internet access while on the go, Google Translate can even help you by speaking the phrases for you. This handy tool can be your best friend, helping you find vegan food, and so much more while travelling in Phuket.
Can I Find Vegan Street Food in Phuket?
Absolutely! Phuket, like so many places in Thailand, has a vibrant street food scene, which includes vegan options. Keep an eye out for vendors selling fresh fruit, grilled corn, spring rolls, and even vegan versions of Thai favourites like pad thai and mango sticky rice.
Is There Vegan-Friendly Accommodation in Phuket?
Yes, there are many hotels and resorts in Phuket that are good for vegan travellers. When booking your accommodation, reach out in advance to inquire about vegan meal options. Some places even offer dedicated vegan menus.
In conclusion, Phuket may be a paradise for beach lovers, but it’s also a vegan’s dream when you know where to look. Armed with these tips, you’re ready to head off in search of mouthwatering vegan food in this beautiful island destination. So, pack your appetite and get ready to enjoy incredible Thai flavours in Phuket!
Looking for some more vegan travel tips? Check 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.