Despite the fact that most Thai residents are practicing Buddhists, a meatless diet here isn’t common. Finding vegetarian fare here, however, is extremely easy; most restaurants here include all kinds of delicious veggie-friendly dishes on their menus. Serious vegetarians may want to book their trip to Thailand to take part in the annual Vegetarian Festival—a nine-day event, held at major cities around the country, which celebrates spiritual and physical cleansing. Timed to coincide with the Thai lunar calendar, the festival is usually held sometime in mid to late September; during it, visitors can expect many restaurants to offer special meatless menus, and street vendors and eateries will display yellow flags to signal their participation. Once meat-lovers taste dishes like baozis (steamed dumplings), veggie-stuffed spring rolls, and seitan kaprao (served in a fiery chili paste) they might decide it’s not so difficult to give up pork and beef for a while.
Some of the best veggie food in the city is served at this restaurant, which occupies a small 1940s villa at the Ariyasomvilla Hotel. Visitors often rhapsodize about the breakfast menu, which features a surprisingly delicious array of imitation meat dishes, as well as classic Thai desserts like grass jelly with coconut.
While not exclusively vegetarian, this upscale eatery has an impressive meat-free menu that won’t leave vegetarians feeling like an afterthought. Dishes are artfully prepared, and include favorites like curried tofu and fried rice with Chinese kale. You’ll work up an appetite walking here from the SkyTrain, so if you’re really hungry ask the restaurant to send a tuk-tuk for you.
Simple. Natural Kitchen
This quaint grocery-turned-café serves up homemade juices, along with a menu featuring locally sourced and organically farmed ingredients. But what keeps the brunch-time tables fully booked are dishes like baked quinoa pancakes, veggie-packed salads and creative egg frittatas. After you eat, you can browse among a selection of artisanal culinary products, like local coconut oil and regionally grown spices.
Opposite Mess Hall
Chances are good that by the time you get to Bangkok, you will already have heard of Opposite Mess Hall. The popular canteen-style venue serves up fun mix of Asian and Mediterranean foods with a menu that changes at dizzying speeds. The dishes here might include roasted-carrot salad and baked eggplant with haloumi; the excellent cocktails include a pomelo margarita and a bourbon pineapple sour.
The vibe at this mostly gluten-free and vegan eatery can be a little hippyish—you’ll have the option to eat while sitting on floor cushions—and the overwhelming menu includes everything from Thai food to Italian and Indian dishes. But the best options here tend to be the Middle Eastern ones featuring housemade hummus and tahini. The fruit lassis, too, shouldn’t be missed.