Known for its temples, elephants and world class cooking classes, Chiang Mai, Thailand also has incredible vegan and vegetarian restaurants. From hole-in-the wall to upscale dining experiences, here are five restaurants that will delight your tastebuds without breaking the bank.
1. Morning Glory Vegetarian Restaurant
Topping my list at #1 the Morning Glory Vegetarian Restaurant is a hole-in-the-wall joint on a busy street offering fantastic food and the most bang for your buck. It won Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence three years in a row and was well worth the 30 minute walk across town! In fact, we made the trip three times during our two week stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Owner and head chef Diana Chiachong is vivacious and friendly, cooking flavorful vegetarian/vegan food without using any MSG. Try the vegetable salad with her original peanut sauce. It wowed me so much that I actually came back and took her private cooking class. If you’re looking for fantastic vegan food for an incredible price this is the place to go! Also check out my article about her cooking school: Best Thai Vegan Cooking Class in Chiang Mai
Try These Dishes: Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce, Pumpkin Hummus, Mango Sticky Rice, Fried Vegetables with Cashew Nut, Massaman Curry Cost: The average main dish is 60 Thai Baht or $1.82 USD
2. Fuang Vegetarian Restaurant
The Fuang Vegetarian Restaurant is nestled in a quiet alley and offers tasty food and an outdoor patio. Try their banana blossom salad. It’s the best in Chiang Mai and their smoothies are also incredibly satisfying! Even though the restaurant is not air conditioned I ate here several times because it felt heavenly to sit by the fan while drinking their legendary lemon mint smoothie. I think I had three or four of them during my two week stay.
Try These Dishes: Banana Blossom Salad, Lemon Mint Smoothie, Vegetable Cashew Stir Fry Cost: We spent 260 Thai Baht or just under $7 USD for a meal for two people that included drinks and two entrees.
3. Imm Aim Vegetarian and BikeCafe
Everything about this cafe breathes positive vibes. Made fresh with seasonal vegetables and local produce, the Thai fusion food at The Imm Aim Vegetarian and Bike Cafe is nothing but high quality. They also don’t use oil, preservatives, MSG or GMO’s in their dishes. Guaranteeing their dishes, their policy is that if you don’t like your food you don’t have to pay for it! They also do their best to accommodate those with any allergies or dietary restrictions. Overall our dining experience at the Imm Aim Vegetarian and Bike Cafe was yummy, fun, interesting and surprising. If you’re adventurous try something off their enticing drink menu. We ordered an ice tea of passion fruit, ginger, mint, cinnamon, and honey. It was great! Check out my full restaurant review for more details: Review: Imm Aim Vegetarian and Bike Cafe
Try These Dishes: Panang Curry with Naan (Mushrooms, shallots, and okra), Kao Pad Med Ma Mijang (Fried brown rice, cashews, ginger, garlic, and mild chili sauce), ice teas. Cost: Main dishes range from 60-70 Thai Baht or around $2 USD. Drinks are 35 Thai Baht or $1 USD
4. Taste from Heaven Vegetarian Restaurant
This restaurant is more upscale than the Morning Glory or Fuang Vegetarian Restaurant and their menu caters toward western tourists. It is also more expensive than the previous two. However, with bright green walls and quirky quotes, it offers a fun atmosphere. They also have an extensive menu with some tasty options. The Khao Soy Noodle dish is different yet delicious (egg noodles with curry paste, curry powder, coconut milk, tofu, mushroom balls, topped with crispy onions and crispy noodles). The waiters weren’t friendly but the food was good and the presentation beautiful.
Try These Dishes: Khao Soy Noodles, Pineapple Fried Rice, Cashew Nut Stir Fry Cost: 80-100 Thai Baht $2-3 USD for main dishes
5. Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant
The Rainforest Cafe has nothing on the Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant! Although it’s not a vegetarian place, you have to eat at this high end restaurant for the unique experience. From the bathrooms to the walkways, no detail is overlooked with outdoor and indoor dining melding seamlessly. Choose from a table beside the lake, next to numerous waterfalls, or among the orchids and ferns. This is the closest you’ll ever get to eating in a real rainforest, so dress up and take your honey for a romantic and memorable date.
Try These Dishes: Northern Thai Spicy Stir Fry Noodles, Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nut (they’ll swap out the chicken for tofu). Cost: Main dishes are about 150 Thai Baht or about $4.50 USD.