As a digital nomad, I’ve always been on the lookout for the perfect city to transit through – a city with good connectivity, affordable accommodation and incredible vegan food. After many misses, I’m convinced that Bangkok checks all those boxes.
Having transited through the city thrice in the last six months – and indulged in mouthwatering local and international vegan food – I feel compelled to share my recommendations.
Take my list of the best vegan and vegetarian-friendly cafes and restaurants around Bangkok, and indulge your taste buds in the city’s thriving vegan food scene:
Here’s a confession: Every now and then, while transiting through Bangkok, I make sure I stay a night or two just so I can eat at Veganarie Concept. Many vegans describe the food as “vegan food porn” and I agree. The enormous menu features a wide range of healthy and indulgent smoothies, burgers, wraps, pasta, Thai food, bowls and a huge choice of mouth-watering desserts – all vegan. I always try to go there hungry, so I can eat as much as possible! If you’re on the fence about going vegan because you love your comfort food, I highly recommend giving Veganarie Concept a shot.
My favourites are their dark chocolate and chocolate and mint smoothies, pulled BBQ burger (made with pulled mushroom and vegan mayo), avocado toast, pesto pasta with marinated soy chunks and chocolate smoothie bowl. For dessert, I love their decadent chocolate cakes. My mouth is watering thinking of the food even as I type this
Vegan tip: I’ve also tried their wraps and Thai food, and wasn’t as impressed as with the other dishes.
Join my food adventures on my new vegan Instagram account: @nomadicvegan
On a hot Bangkok afternoon, after being disappointed to miss the lunch hours of the place I had planned to eat at, I walked into Im Chan – a hole in the wall joint just off the main Sukhumvit road. I ordered the morning glory and Chinese kale stir fries off the limited vegetarian options on the menu and explained that I didn’t eat fish or oyster sauce – only soya sauce. The food was surprisingly delicious, and I polished off both dishes with rice and two coconut waters! I’ve heard that many local food joints use MSG in the food; I’m not sure if Im Chan does, for it was lost in translation.
Vegan tip: I rely on a smell test to tell if my food contains fish / oyster sauce while in Thailand. The food at Im Chan passed, though none of the dishes are labelled vegan or vegetarian.
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Bonita Cafe and Social Club
I’m a sucker for a good vegan sandwich, and when I spotted a vegan club sandwich while browsing the menu of the all vegan Bonita Cafe and Social Club, I knew I had to make the longish journey from Sukhumvit to try it. The location is pretty obscure, which is probably why the cafe was quite empty – and that’s a pity because the food was amazing! The huge club sandwich came stuffed with layers of vegan egg (made from tofu), vegan mayo, avocados and veggies, and I could only finish half of it.
The owner is a Japanese guy who, even at the age of 40+ (my guess), runs ultra marathons of over 100 miles – and has been vegan for 8-9 years!
Vegan tip: Come hungry; the sandwich packs in a great deal of protein!
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While waiting for my clothes to be washed at a nearby coin laundry, I was killing time wandering about the food hall of Em Quartier Mall in Sukhumvit when I stumbled upon Açai Story, that offers – you guessed it – Acai berry smoothie bowls with the most delicious flavours and toppings! I couldn’t help indulging in a second breakfast with the Sunshine bowl – with an Acai berry base, topped with mangoes, goji berry, raw cacao, pumpkin seeds and more. Despite the initial brain freeze, the bowl was absolutely delicious, healthy and fulfilling!
Vegan tip: All the bowls on offer are vegan by default; the stall is located near the escalators going down to the food hall at Em Quartier Mall.
May Veggie Home
While looking for a vegan-friendly Thai restaurant in the Sukhumvit area in Bangkok, I found May Veggie Home on Happy Cow. This vegetarian restaurant was already packed with people when I showed up for an early dinner – and unlike many local Thai food places, they don’t use MSG.
On my own, I polished off two big dishes of stir-friend morning glory with tofu and stir-fried sunflower sprouts with mushroom, accompanied by brown rice. The food wasn’t as incredible as some I had in Chiang Mai, but I left pretty satisfied.
Vegan tip: Their vegan ice creams looked tempting, but I ran out of space!
Din Tai Fung
My love affair with the Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung began way back in Singapore when I first tried their steamed vegetarian dumplings. I’ve even been lucky enough to eat at the super popular original Din Tai Fung in a small shop house in Taiwan… and never miss the chance to gobble up some dumplings at their outlet in Bangkok.
The options for vegans / vegetarians are limited, but I absolutely love the steamed vegetarian dumplings. The steamed vegetable buns and steamed truffle mushroom dumplings are good too – and their lemongrass juice is not to be missed!
Vegan tip: Mix your own soya sauce and vinegar to dip the dumplings. The chilli paste sometimes contains shrimp – check with the server, and if that’s the case, ask for cut chilli on the side to mix in your dip.
When my local Airbnb hosts told me they love the food at the all-vegan Broccoli Revolution in Bangkok, despite being hard core meat eaters, I had to give it a try. I loved their ambiance, off the main road but with huge glass walls and lots of greenery within.
I tried the avocado bruschetta – which dipped in a sweetish sauce and topped with nuts – was quite different from what I expected but it sure grew on me. The green curry Buddha bowl, with quinoa and veggies, was very filling. And among their wide range of sorbets, I tried and was delighted by the chocolate flavour.
Vegan tip: Come here at your leisure; a great cafe to chill out, read or work on your laptop.
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It’s pretty rare to find an Ethiopian restaurant outside of Ethiopia, so when I stumbled upon one in Bangkok, I just had to try it. It is tucked away in a random alley off Nana BTS station, not very innovative with its name “Ethiopian Restaurant”, and the ambiance feels a bit shady at first. But once I stepped in, I found both the staff and the patrons – mostly Ethiopians living in Bangkok – to be rather friendly.
I ordered the beyayenetu – the fasting meal combo – and was delighted to eat injera (a crepe made of teff) with shiro (chickpeas), lentils and veggies again, though it was way too big for me to polish off alone!
Vegan tip: The beyayenetu (fasting platter) is always vegan. Other vegan / vegetarian options include a la carte versions of the chickpeas, lentils and veggies. I recommend trying shiro if you only want to try one thing.
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Veganerie Dessert Stall
While looking for a quick snack, I was delighted to find a food stall that exclusively sells Veganarie Desserts – just outside the Gourmet Market in Em Quartier Mall. I sampled the chocolate cake again, the banana muffin and the chocolate chip cookies, and loved them all.
Vegan tip: Good for a quick takeaway!
Find Veganarie Dessert Stall on: HappyCow
Late night vegan / vegetarian friendly restaurant in Bangkok:
It’s been thrice now that I’ve landed in Bangkok late at night, when most eating joints are closed. Luckily, Pratunam Seafood, located just opposite Ramada Hotel, is open until 3 am daily, is a reliable option – and even though it is primarily a seafood joint, it does a wicked vegan/vegetarian green curry!
Vegan tip: The staff is well-versed with vegetarian food, but there’s no harm in reminding them that you don’t eat fish or oyster sauce.
Vegan / vegetarian friendly restaurant at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok:
As much as I love the vegan food options in Bangkok, I hate the average food choices at Suvarnabhumi Airport. After several bad meals, I’ve finally found a good Pad Thai at Mango Tree, located near the D Gates.
The menu labels it as a J Pad Thai (J means Buddhist vegetarian, without meat, fish sauce or seafood). The default version comes with egg, but unlike most other airport restaurants, the staff is able and willing to customise it without egg. My vegan noodles were perfectly cooked, a little spicy and delicious with crushed peanuts and bean sprouts. They also offer J fried rice with vegetables.
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Bonus: Vegan cosmetics / toiletries in Bangkok
Since I turned vegan, I’ve been pretty shocked to learn that many of our daily toiletries – shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers – contain cruel animal products like honey, bee wax and gelatin, or worse, are still tested on animals.
While in Bangkok, I was happy to buy products at the British-owned Boots Pharmacy which has several branches across the city. The Boots N7 Botanical range is vegan and so labelled, and features a wide range of products from hair serum to make-up, though on the expensive side. Other than that, like many modern pharmacies these days, Boots also sells the Original Source shower gel – vegan, affordable and a great product; I love their lavender and mint & tea tree shower gels.
Vegan / vegetarian places in Bangkok I’m yet to try:
Rasayana Retreat: Offers raw vegan pizzas, zoodles and desserts, and cold-pressed juices.
Ariya Organic Cafe: Serves up organic sushi, salads and desserts.
Resources for vegan / vegetarian food across Thailand:
CHIANG MAI: Mostly Amelie – The Complete Chiang Mai Vegan Food Guide
BANGKOK: Vegan Food Quest – Vegan Guide to Bangkok
KOH PHANGAN: Vomad – The Most Delicious Vegan Guide to Koh Phangan
PHUKET: The Veggie Passport –The Best Vegetarian/Vegan Food in Phuket
What is the best vegan / vegetarian food you’ve had in Bangkok? Which of the above would you most like to try?
Vegan (and Vegetarian) Friendly Cafes and Restaurants to Indulge in Bangkok. published first on https://airriflelab.tumblr.com