Brett and I just got back from our winter vacation to Thailand. We had three wonderful weeks away from China during which we got to rest, soak up some sun and eat lots of amazing food. Two of the three weeks were spent in Chiang Mai and the third week was spend on Koa Tao Island, which I’ll write about in a later post.
But let’s talk about all the amazing vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai, shall we?
To be honest, I had planned to make it to more restaurants during our time in Chiang Mai (yes I had an entire list of restaurants I wanted to eat at), but as per usual, my desire to not eat out got the best of me some days and I would eat oatmeal or steamed rice and veggies from a simple Thai restaurant. If I eat out every meal during vacation I’ll go crazy! BUT, I thankfully still got to try out some amazing restaurants and I want to share them with you in case you too ever find yourself in Chiang Mai, looking for vegan food.
(Above and below are some pictures of the Sunday Night Market.)
Breakfast almost every day was eating in our hotel room. I brought a big back of oatmeal and ended up having to buy more half way through the trip. I would just add boiling water to my oatmeal, let it sit until thickened and then top it with fruit or, uh, sweet potatoes!
One of the first restaurants we visited was Aum Vegetarian right by the Tha Phae Gate. In a way I wish we hadn’t gone here first, because I just wanted to eat here the rest of the week. The thing I loved most about Aum is that they had so many healthy, simple, oil-free options. It was as if I was eating food I cooked myself back home. I think I went here for lunch 3 days in a row and ordered steamed veggies, purple rice, and steamed sweet potatoes. I always felt so satisfied and healthy after eating here.
They also had amazing Thai food (curries, soups, spring rolls, stir-fries, etc.), which I tasted throughout the week. There were also lots of healthy sushi options and juice options. I highly recommend this restaurant if you want delicious, healthy, simple food!
Taste From Heaven:
Taste From Heaven was a restaurant that I had heard tons about before even coming to Chiang Mai, mainly because I knew they had vegan Brownies and ice cream. This restaurant was always packed with people, which was a good thing. They had upstairs, semi-outdoor seating and also downstairs seating. The menu is mostly vegetarian thai food (curries, soups, spring rolls, stir-fries, etc.) but they also served breakfast and dessert.
Brett and I ate dinner here once and then I ended up going back two other times for the vegan brownie and vanilla ice cream (OMG so good!). I will say, the brownie was exponentially better earlier in the day. One time we went right before it closed and the brownies probably weren’t as fresh. The one night we went for dinner, I got the spring rolls with peanut sauce (delicious!) plus steamed rice and veggies. Brett got the stir-fried veggies and Tom Yum Soup which was also amazing!
Blue Diamond, The Breakfast Club:
Brett and I did eat out for breakfast one day and afterwards I wish I had eaten breakfast out more often. We went to Blue Diamond, The Breakfast Club and vegan options were overwhelming. It’s a lively restaurant with indoor seating as well as outdoor seating in their garden area. They have a bakery with breakfast foods like croissants, cinnamon rolls, muffins etc. as well as lots of vegan dessert options. They also have a little shop with health food items like baking supplies, essential oils, spices etc.
The reviews for this restaurant were mixed. Some people said the service was slow and the food mediocre. Brett and I, however, had a wonderful experience. We got fast service and loved everything we ordered/ate.
Both Brett and I got the Beet, Carrot & Ginger Juice along with Coffee and the Muesli with fruit and yogurt (they had a soy yogurt options). I love that you could add super foods to your meals as well, so both Brett and I got ground flaxseed added to our muesli bowls. Brett also ordered the Whole Wheat Vegan Banana Pancake and it ended up being the most delicious thing we ordered.
We ate outside and enjoyed the cool air and all the delicious foods. I tried to go back the next day, Sunday, but sadly it’s closed on Sundays, so watch out for that when you planning your meals!
I was so excited to visit Free Bird Cafe. Their menu seemed amazing, full of Thai and Western options including smoothies, smoothie bowls, lattes, curries, noodles, samosas, kombucha and fruit and vegetable juices. I went with some friends so didn’t manage to get photos of everything, but everything we ordered was amazing.
We ordered Chai Tea Lattes, Chocolate Smoothies, Vegan Samosas (amazing!), Thai Noodles and Tempeh Tomato Curries. I wanted to go back to try out more of their food, but never had the chance. The service was a little slow, but worth the wait. They also give a lot of their profits, I believe, to a local charity.
Ice Love You:
Ice Love You is an amazing, mostly vegan ice cream shop. I ended up walking by it and stopped in to see what they had to offer. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try any of the flavors, but they have tons of vegan options and wonderful reviews.
When I went to take a sneak peak, the owner said all of the ice cream bases were vegan, but just that some of the add-ins, like the cookies and brownies, weren’t vegan. I definitely will go here next year!
Anchan Restaurant was a quaint restaurant down an alley way. It took me a little bit to find, but I’m so glad I did because, although simple, my meal here ended up being so flavorful. Their menu was smaller than I expected, but they did have lots of vegan options. Their dessert of the day was even a Vegan Chocolate Cake. I was craving something simple so I asked if they could steam me some vegetables and tofu, but instead they said they could make a vegetable stir-fry without oil. It was amazing and so much better than simple steamed vegetables ever would have been. I could definitely tell they were experienced cooks considering they were able to improvise a healthy but delicious meal for me.
Just because my husband raved about it so much, I thought I would include Ristr8to in this round-up. Ristr8to is a coffee shop in Chiang mai that is known for it’s latte art and amazing, smooth coffee. I didn’t get any coffee this day, but I did see that they had soy milk as an option. So if you’re a non-dairy, coffee lover, you may want to try out some coffee from Ristr8to!
Other Vegan Restaurants:
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I had a long list of vegan restaurants that I wanted to try out, but sadly I didn’t get to eat at all of them. But here they are incase you want to check them out. They’ll definitely be my top priorities next year when I’m back in Thailand!
Snacks and Drinks:
In addition to meals, Brett and I also enjoyed a lot of drinks and snacks throughout the day. My favorite snacks were fresh coconut water, fresh fruit, and thai iced tea with soy or coconut milk.
If you’re like me and enjoy perusing through grocery stores or like to buy snack for your travels, you’ll enjoy Rimping Supermarket. While in China, it’s hard to find many health foods or vegan foods other than produce, Thailand’s supermarkets blew me away with their healthy vegan options. They had fresh produce, non-dairy yogurts and milks, cold and hot cereals, natural nut butters, dairy-free chocolate, canned beans, healthy snacks, super foods, etc. I enjoyed walking throughout the aisle and picking up a few snacks and beans for simple meals.
I feel like a lot of foodies and food bloggers also enjoy pottery, so I wanted to share with you all Mengrai Kilns! Last year when we were in Thailand, our friend introduced us to an amazing pottery warehouse that just took my breath away. With good prices, quality handiwork and shelf after shelf of pottery, you can definitely spend a good chunk of time at Mengrai Kilns.
I hope this post was helpful for any of you plant eaters that hope to visit Chiang Mai one day! It’s such an easy city (and country) to eat vegan as there are tons of specifically vegan restaurants and most Thai restaurants have vegan, whole plant food options.
Please let me know if you’ve been to Thailand and love a restaurant that I didn’t mention on this post! We plan to go to Chiang Mai most years so I’ll have tons of opportunities to explore different restaurants.