Traveling vegans not only have to worry about culture differences, language barriers and navigating new cities, they also have to worry about where to eat. After living in Asia for over 2 years, and constantly finding tiny shrimps, fish sauce and bits of meat in my “vegetarian” labeled meals, I found a plant-friendly oasis in Chiang Mai. After living and eating my way around the city for 7 months, here are some of my favorites.
Taste From Heaven
I feel certain that upon sinking my teeth into their vegan brownie, that I did in fact taste heaven. Besides their baked goods, Taste of Heaven has the right idea with their vegan selection. With a menu sporting both Thai dishes and Western meals, you can eat a tofu curry for lunch and a “bacon” sandwich for dinner. Can’t get enough of their food? They even offer vegan cooking classes so that you can recreate the menu items at home.
The food in this restaurant was an absolute staple of my diet for the entire 7 months that I lived in Chiang Mai. The best part about it: the prices! A meal here will cost you under $2.00 USD almost every time. As the name suggests, they specialize in veggies and the taste is astoundingly far away from bland. Fried broccoli with garlic and stir fried tofu with morning glory were some of my favorites here.
Located in the central part of town, Aum is easy to miss amongst the tourist shuffle if you’re not looking for it. The traditional Thai seating and décor give it an extra special feel as you down your vegan chocolate smoothie and eat your wonton soup. The menu offers vegan sushi rolls, burgers and some of the best tasting Thai dishes in the city.
This non-profit is only open from 6am until 2pm on weekdays but is worth its finicky schedule if you are flexible. While it looks more like a warehouse than a restaurant, you can find a buffet of vegan curries, soups, stir-fry and rice. They have fridges stocked with freshly squeezed juices and another with home-brewed iced teas. Fill up your plate, pay around 50 cents USD for it and make sure to wash your own dishes when you finish.
Vegan Thai food is everywhere in Chiang Mai but vegan Korean food is not. Misone is one of the few vegan-friendly restaurants in its neighborhood and it offers up some classic Korean dishes sans meat. Best of all, if you stumble in during breakfast, they have a buffet stocked with a variety of kimchi, rice and soy based soup all for under $3 USD.
Blue Diamond is a sight for sore vegan eyes as the scene from walking in the door is an assortment of dairy free baked goods. Muffins, cakes, cookies–they are all there and you can eat each and every one of them if you wanted. The restaurant also sports a dessert fridge filled with cakes, pies and brownies and adjacent to that is a freezer filled with coconut ice cream. The shelves are stocked with natural products and every ingredient you need to make vegan meals at home. Oh, and their menu is pretty amazing too!
Ice Love You
It’s a vegan ice cream shop and it’s superhero themed. What could be better? There are over 20 flavors ranging from the normal chocolate and vanilla to durian, mango sticky rice and mangosteen sorbet. The dishware is adorable, the owner is always cracking jokes and you will probably want to stay forever so you can taste all of the flavors.
You will never find Din Dee by mistake. Hidden off the main road by one of the university art buildings, this mud hut restaurant sits in all of its artsy glory. Choose between table or traditional style floor seating and drink a fruit smoothie or hot tea while listening to classic café hits. The lentil curry is a delicious alternative to yet another Thai style one.
The Vegetarian Stand in Maya Mall
If it has a real name, I’m not sure, but this vegetarian food stall is made up almost entirely of vegan options. The bottom floor of the centrally located Maya Mall is filled with places to eat and makes a convenient option for people taking a break from shopping or work. With the combo of being the only vegan stall, having delicious food and extremely friendly staff, it’s obvious that the business thrives.
About the author: I am a vegan nomad who has been traveling around the world for over 2 years. I know how to sniff out the best restaurants in a new destination and I love dessert. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram at @livesabroad and Twitter at @livesabroad1.