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Bangkok is a thriving city with an incredible food scene, but how well does it cater to vegans? Thankfully, vegan visitors can experience all the epic flavour of Thai cuisine with relative ease with a little know-how.

Is Bangkok good for vegans?

Traditional cuisine in Thailand is predominantly comprised of vegetables which means it's relatively easy for vegans to eat well in Bangkok. Providing they check with cooks for hidden animal products. Many popular Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and Pad See Ew contain chicken stock and fish sauce. When ordering at a restaurant or street food stall, tell them "ghin jay" which means "I eat vegan" and they will let you know which dishes are suitable for you, or prepare you a dish that is completely free from animal ingredients.

You'll find plenty of vegan food stalls around Bangkok labelled "jay" by way of yellow flags with a red Thai script (เจ) or Chinese character (齋). You might also see the word "mangsawirat" (มังสวิรัติ) which means vegetarian. On English menus, both "mangsawirat" and "jay" dishes might be labelled "vegetarian" so be sure to clarify whether dishes contain eggs and dairy.

Is veganism popular in Thailand?

Veganism is not uncommon in Thailand because the concept of "jay" is connected with Buddhist spiritual practices. Plus, Bangkok is a popular tourist destination and its food and hospitality industry is used to catering to the diverse dietary requirements of visitors from all over the world. You'll find plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to dine in during your time in Bangkok; be sure to check out May Veggie Home, Veganerie, and Broccoli Revolution which are three of the city's most beloved vegan food hangouts.

If you're headed to Bangkok during September or October, look out for "Tesagan Gin Jay" which is a vegan festival. This is a brilliant time to try lots of vegan Thai dishes from street food vendors. You'll see the festival centred around the Chinatown area of the city.

Vegan Food to Try in Bangkok 1

What is the best vegan food to try in Bangkok?

Mushroom Tom Kha

For a flavourful introduction to Thai food, you have to try Tom Kha which is a coconut milk broth flavoured with lemongrass, chilli, galangal, lime leaves, lime juice and fresh coriander. It encompasses all the classic flavours of Thailand in a single soup. Although the traditional Tom Kha is made with chicken, the mushroom version is perfect for vegans. Check that no chicken stock was used to make the broth, or try it at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant to ensure all the ingredients are free from animal products.

Pad Thai

Perhaps one of the most famous dishes of Thailand is Pad Thai - a stir fry made with thin rice noodles and a sweet and sour tamarind sauce. It is usually packed full of tofu, beansprouts and spring onions, and is topped with chilli and crushed peanuts for a hot, nutty finish. Pad Thai often contains fish sauce so grab yours from a vegan street vendor or restaurant.

Pad See Ew

This is a similar dish to Pad Thai, only it is made with wide, flat noodles and a soy-based sauce which is richer and more savoury in flavour. It is often cooked with mock meat when ordered in veggie restaurants, so don't be put off if you see what looks to be chunks of chicken; provided you're at a "jay" or "mangsawirat" place you can be confident it's only a soy-based meat alternative.


You can't go to Thailand without eating Thai curry, but this can be a little tricky when you're vegan. Many curries contain shrimp paste, dried shrimp, fish sauce or fish stock, so always ask about the ingredients before you order. Thai green curry is relatively mild with a creamy coconut base, and it has an aromatic, aniseed flavour created by Thai basil leaves. Thai red curries are prepared in a similar way, only they are cooked with plenty of hot chillies for a spicy kick. Penang curries are also essential eating; they are sweet and packed full of lime leaves for a fragrant finish.

Vegan Food to Try in Bangkok 2

Mango sticky rice

This classic Thai dessert never fails to satisfy a sweet tooth. Fresh, juicy mango - which when locally grown is incredibly delicious in its own right - is sliced and served with a mound of sticky rice and a salted coconut cream sauce. Crispy yellow mung beans often top it off for a dose of crunchy texture. This dish is incredibly moreish and so popular that you'll find it served up everywhere, from vendors on the street to high-end restaurants and hotels.

Miang kham

These delicious snacks consist of a wild betel leaf filled with a variety of tasty fillings such as peanuts, toasted coconut, lime, shallots, ginger and chillies. A sweet sauce made of palm sugar is drizzled over the top before you eat the mouthful of fresh, punchy flavours. Miang kham has a sweet, sour, hot, zesty flavour and fantastic crunchy texture. When you're ordering it from restaurants, you'll likely be served a platter of leaves, fillings and sauce so that you can tailor each bite to suit your tastes, which is ideal for avoiding any animal ingredients. However, if you're ordering from a street stall they are often prepared for you and dried shrimp is a common ingredient, so be sure to let the vendor know "ghin jay".

Khanom Krok

These naturally vegan pancakes have a coconut milk and rice flour base and a sweet and salty flavour that is totally moreish. Although they seem like a dessert they are often served with savoury toppings such as green onions, corn, taro and coriander. Khanom Krok is common street food and you'll find plenty of vendors dotted all over Bangkok.

Tour Bangkok with food in mind

Bangkok is a fantastic destination for vegans with plenty of delicious food options available, but eating vegan here is a bit of a learning curve for the uninitiated. Consider taking a food tour of Bangkok to have a local introduce you to meat-free dishes and coach you on ordering vegan from non-vegan restaurants and street vendors.

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