vegan chiang mai immaim rolls

Guide to Eating Vegan in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is probably the best city in Thailand to be vegan. Many restaurants will have vegetarian options, which are also often vegan (assuming they don’t contain egg), and it is relatively easy to convince staff to substitute meat with tofu in most traditional Thai dishes.

Nonetheless, there are also many purely vegetarian restaurants and even more with good vegetarian and vegan options. With a wide range of quality, however, it can be hard to know where to go for the best vegan food. That’s why we did the hard work for you and scouted out all the best places for eating vegan in Chiang Mai! (Updated January 2018)

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This is the key used in this guide, which appears directly under the name of each establishment mentioned:

Which meals are catered for

  • breakfast: typically 08:00-10:00
  • lunch: typically 11:00-14:00
  • dinner: typically 17:00-20:00

The type of food served

  • serves meat / vegetarian / vegan / raw vegan

A rough price range (based on prices of mains)

  • cheap: up to 50฿ (up to €1.25)
  • moderate: 50฿-120฿ (€1.25 – €3)
  • expensive: 120฿+ (€3+)

Vegetarian Food in Maya Food Court

lunch & dinner / vegetarian, vegan / cheap

Below the trendy Maya shopping centre is a smallish food court with various eateries, mostly offering Thai food. One, hidden in a corner is staffed by the loveliest Thai family you’ll meet, and everything is vegan (เจ), though they do also serve eggs separately. You’ll be asked if you want brown rice and then can choose from the various dishes, and they will kindly explain to you what’s in them and whether they are spicy or not.

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Highly recommended are the pumpkin curry and all the green things. I didn’t so much like the vegan sausages or texture soy, but Zab did. To identify it, it’s the place that says “cooked with olive oil” at the bottom of their section and there’s a small sign on the fridge saying “go vegan”.

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Details

  • Address: Basement food court, MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Centre, Chiang Mai
  • Foursquare

Anchan

lunch & dinner / vegetarian, vegan / expensive

This lovely vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai, Anchan is run the the talented Aye. All ingredients are locally sourced and pesticide free, and vegan options (which make up about 80% of the dishes) are marked with an asterisk on the paper menu, where you mark your order.

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Main dishes are all served with rice as default, and the menu changes weekly so that Aye doesn’t get bored. The simple philosophy behind the restaurant was not to serve anything he himself wouldn’t want to eat. For this reason, they only use Himalaya salt (none of that chemical nonsense), do not offer white rice and only serve the fruits and vegetables of the season.

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They just started offering some vegan baked goods too, and occasionally sell homemade jam as well as a few organic cleaning and beauty products made locally. Overall, we highly recommend eating here as the food is exceptionally fresh and tasty, portions are generous and the staff are a delight.

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Details

  • Address: Nimmanahaeminda Rd, between Soi 6 and Soi 10, Chiang Mai 50200
  • FoursquareFacebook

Dindee

breakfast, lunch & (early) dinner / vegetarian, vegan / moderate

An unassuming place by the Chiang Mai University Art Centre that is housed in what appears to be a mud hut, Dindee is a surprisingly hidden but worthwhile find. While everything is vegetarian, the rather extensive menu makes a potentially slightly confusing distinction between “soft vegan” (dishes that contain onion and garlic and sometimes egg, but not milk) and “vegan” (dishes that are vegan in the western sense but also do not contain onion or garlic).

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The food is delicious, though portions are perhaps a little small relative to the price, and the setting is wonderfully calm and quaint. There is a large range of items for sale, mostly non-food, including locally handmade crafts, stationary and household products.

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Unfortunately they use cow milk as default in milky drinks, though you can substitute it with soy milk for 5฿ extra. At the time we visited, they gave a 10% discount on food and drinks if you showed that you had checked in there on Facebook and added a picture!

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Details

  • Address: Chiang Mai University Art Center, Nimmanahaeminda Road, Chiang Mai 50200
  • FoursquareFacebook

May Kaidee

lunch & dinner / vegetarian, vegan / moderate

As well as offering vegetarian or vegan cooking classes, May Kaidee is also a great vegan friendly restaurant. The menu offers vegetarian versions of Thai classics, such as tom yam soup, green curry, pad thai, mango sticky rice as well as more unusual dishes like pumpkin hummus.

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Food is fresh, service is friendly and the location is cute, though basic. When ordering, don’t wait for someone to come and take your order, instead write it down on the paper menus on the table and take it to a member of staff.

banana and mango with black sticky rice

Details

Musashi

lunch & dinner / served meat, vegetarian, vegan / expensive

This contemporary Japanese restaurant may not at first appear to be especially vegan friendly, but staff should be able to help you navigate the menu given your dietary requirements. If they can’t, ask for June and tell him that we sent you!

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Several of the sushi (or more properly maki) are vegan, though they are marked as vegetarian, and most noodle dishes can be made with tofu substituting the meat if you ask. A couple of soups and salads are also vegan or can be veganised.

The forest lake rolls containing avocado, cucumber and carrot and topped with pickled seaweed are definitely a highlight, as is the tofu yaki soba.

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Details

Amrita Garden

breakfast, lunch & dinner / vegetarian, vegan / expensive

Set in a lovely quiet, shady garden, this popular vegetarian place serves some excellent vegan food, including some real treats. The cheese platter with cashew and almond based cheddar, edam and a few other delightfully creamy homemade nut-based cheeses, while small, is excellent.

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Their vegan burger, served with either vegan cheese or fresh avocado is also highly recommendable. They also have a few vegan cookies and cakes and sometimes raw vegan cake, but were unfortunately sold out when we visited.

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Run by a super friendly Japanese-Thai couple, this place is a real gem in Chiang Mai. Additionally, in their indoor section, they sell a rather extensive range of locally produced products ranging from fresh almond milk to natural skin products and clothes.

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Details

ImmAim

lunch & dinner / vegetarian, vegan / expensive

Hidden in a little garden, this well-liked vegetarian restaurant has an eclectic design and is run by the energetic Mr. O, who is seriously into bicycles and Instagram!

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The salads are enormous and come with a wide choice of interesting homemade dressings (passionfruit, mint and peanut or tamarind, chilli and garlic dressing). Everything we tried was fresh, delicious and well presented.

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Fruits and vegetables all come directly from local farmers wherever possible, and are only bought from markets as a last resort. The food is excellent, colourful and fresh with around 90% of the menu being vegan (they also offer coconut or soy milk for coffee!) but the peaceful location and fast and friendly service are also definite highlights.

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Details

Food4thought

breakfast, lunch & dinner (closed Sunday & Monday) / serves meat, vegetarian, vegan / expensive

Run by American expat, Charles, along with the attached Bay’s Coffee, this delightful restaurant has a range of indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a few friendly cats who will come and cuddle up next to you!

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While not specifically aimed at vegans or vegetarians, this place does an excellent job of catering for non-meat-eaters and marks all options clearly on the menu (gluten free options are also marked).

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Food here is not the typical vegetarian Thai fare, nor the usual vegan burgers and salads. Instead, there are several interesting and innovative dishes such as avocado fries (breaded deep fried avocado slices that are just heavenly!), Burmese chickpea salad and various wraps.

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Charles has also set up a kombucha business and is keen to provide something fermented with most dishes, so most come with a side of fermented cabbage. The whole experience of eating there was wonderful and we recommend it very highly to everyone, vegan or not.

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Details

  • Address: 15/5 Moo 1, Soi Sudjai, Tanon Khlong Chonlapratarn, Chiang Mai 50300
  • FoursquareFacebook

Taste from Heaven

breakfast, lunch & dinner / vegetarian, vegan / moderate

This is a great little place offering up traditional Thai food done vegetarian with plenty of vegan options.

Nan, the Thai owner, who previously lived and worked in Australia, decided to revamp the menu when she moved locations a couple of years ago to include a lot more vegan options because “vegetarians can eat vegan, but vegans can’t always eat vegetarian”. I liked her immediately.

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Vegan options are clearly marked on the menu, as well as those that can be veganised. We found some dishes a little too oily, but overall found the food good and the portions very generous. The location was cosy and service was speedy but relaxed.

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The homemade coconut ice-cream made by Nan’s masseur is also very highly recommendable!

Details

Pun Pun Organic

breakfast & lunch / vegetarian, vegan / moderate

Located in the tranquil grounds of Wat Suan Dok, this place serve vegetarian Thai food made with mostly organic ingredients. There is indoor and outdoor seating; go straight for a table outside if there’s one available, as the setting is lovely whereas as inside it gets rather hot and generally is a bit drab.

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The service is a little cold, though the food comes relatively quickly even when busy. Dishes are nicely presented and the salads in particular are colourful and fresh. The pad thai and mushroom satay are both decent.

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Overall, we found the food quite good, though what we enjoyed most was the location.

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Details

Blue Diamond

breakfast, lunch & dinner / serves meat, vegetarian, vegan / moderate

A vegetarian café, restaurant and shop, this place attracts a diverse crowd. There is huge range of vegan cakes for sale, all of which are very clearly marked. These are self service and can easily be taken away, but other food and drinks are ordered from a menu.

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They serve local, organic coffee and offer soy milk too. The menu of main dishes is rather extensive and is generally quite good, but the highlight is definitely the cakes. Highly recommendable are the avocado and ginger muffins and cinnamon rolls, but really everything is worth trying! I enjoyed how obviously vegan options were marked, compared to in Europe where it’s sometimes as though the fact that something is vegan is almost hidden.

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There’s also a large range of dried food and fruit and (possibly organic?) vegetables for sale, as well as things like natural shampoo and soap.

Details

By Hand Pizza Café

dinner / serves meat, vegetarian, vegan / expensive

An Italian style pizzeria set up by a Dutch couple, this is the only place in Chiang Mai that serves pizza made in a wood fire oven, and they have a vegan section on their menu! There are only four choices of vegan pizzas and they do not use any kind of vegan cheese, but the two we tried were both very good, if maybe just a little bit too salty. The base was thin and crispy and the toppings generous.

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Overall, the pizzas are perhaps on the small side and we had to wait almost an hour for them to arrive as they can only fit three pizzas in the oven at a time and they made them all from scratch. It was worth it, though and this is the place to come if you’re craving good quality vegan pizza.

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Details

I’ve compiled all the places mentioned in this guide into a Foursquare list that you can easily save.

Many thanks to Walter, Aye, June, Makiko, Mr O, Charles, Bay and Nan for their hospitality and suggestions and for making this guide complete.

Places we weren’t keen on

I don’t normally mention places in these vegan guides that we didn’t like, as I prefer to give positive recommendations and simply leave out the places I wouldn’t recommend. However, since there are so many places with vegan options in Chiang Mai, I thought it was worth pointing out the few that we suggest avoiding.

Salad Concept is not consistent with its marking of vegan options, and staff generally do not speak much English so checking if something is vegan is difficult. The salads are alright, but somewhat overpriced and there is cross-contamination of meat and non-meat ingredients (gloves not being changed while preparing, for example). Service is also very confusing and it is not easy to get the staff’s attention.

Bird’s Nest is manned by grumpy staff and mistakenly marks a few things on the menu as vegan when they are not. The coconut shakes are very good, but the only vegan food options are bagels and sandwiches. The location could be lovely, but it felt a bit under cared for and drab.

AUM has plenty of vegan options and friendly service, but I found the food to be very average and somewhat overpriced. The location feels rather disorganised and the bathroom was not very clean. Rather than bad, I would simply describe this place as unmemorable.

Ice Love You advertises itself as a vegan ice cream place and we had high hopes on arrival. It has a super hero theme and the design is rather cheesy but fun. I was not filled with confidence about the veracity of the claim that the ice creams are all vegan when I asked staff, who uncertainly pointed out one that might not be. More importantly, however, the ice cream itself is way too sweet and lacking any other flavour than sugar. Also, none of the desserts and cakes are vegan.

Places we didn’t get to

There were a several places we didn’t get time to visit, so cannot comment on their vegan offerings or quality of their food. Hopefully next time we’re in Chiang Mai, we can get to Khun Churn, Happy Green, Cat House, Bodhi Tree, Alice’s Organic Vegetarian and Free Bird Café. If you’ve been to any of these, or others we have missed, let us know what’s worth it and what isn’t!

You can also download this guide in the GPSMyCity app!

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