The Best Vegetarian/Vegan Food in Phuket Thailand



I always seem to pick areas of the world which are obsessed with seafood – a food challenge I willingly accept. A real perk to finding vegetarian food here in Phuket is that most locals do speak English – a luxury we must not forget when straying into less tourist-friendly areas of the globe. Additionally, Phuket is home to the annual Vegetarian Festival, so many are already familiar with adapting certain recipes for vegetarians. I was able to clearly state in English what we wanted and bar a few mishaps, we were understood and accommodated for. If you do find yourself in a bit of a language barrier pickle, though, here are some phrases to keep handy:

I do not eat fish – Mai kin pla

I do not eat meat – Mai kin nuay

I am vegan – Gin jay

There are a few other things you also should be aware of before ordering food in any region in South East Asia and beyond, not just Thailand, which I thought I’d highlight here. Although obvious to us, they must be stressed:

EVERYTHING POTENTIALLY CONTAINS FISH SAUCE

– Even if you say “I’m vegetarian/vegan”, you cannot guarantee that they won’t include fish sauce in the broth or through another cooking process. PLEASE make sure you are clear, and say specifically ‘no seafood, no fish sauce, no meat’ and if you are vegan – no egg (milk will rarely be used but you can also say if necessary). Seafood and fish are considered different, and therefore, might be ignored if not clearly stated.

CHECK YOUR FOOD THOROUGHLY BEFORE EATING

– We had three scares during our ten days in Phuket. The first was prawns in one of our soups – despite telling our waiter before sitting down our dietary requirements clearly, the second was ham in a 7-Eleven toastie we presumed veggie friendly, and our third was potential fish sauce in our Pad Thai, which turned out to be a false alarm. Nevertheless, make sure you check and they will gladly help if you feel there is a problem.

With those two crucial things in mind, keep reading to discover some truly gorgeous veggie and vegan food.

ABSOLUTE MANGO CAFE – KARON BEACH

OK, so the first stop on any trip to Phuket HAS to be mango and coconut sticky rice. Absolute Mango is a trendy café which not only serves fresh sticky rice, considered by many the best on the island, but also tropical smoothies and homemade ice cream.

Absolute Mango Cafe – a must visit

Mango sticky rice with strawberry and mango smoothies.

ORIENT ASIA – KARON BEACH SQUARE

Karon Beach Square is a multi-restaurant complex with a variety of international cuisines and live music. Whilst doing my research, it seemed to be advertised as a hip place where tourists could go and enjoy a meal overlooking the beach front, but traveling during the wet season meant it was a lot quieter than anticipated. Where the food and service was concerned, this did nothing to alter our experience, but I did feel a little robbed of a lively evening out. Nonetheless, we ordered the green curry and garlic noodle stir fry, which was heavy on the salty mushroom sauce to replace the fish sauce.

Vegetable stir fry with vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce

500ml of Chang – the best

Vegetable Thai green curry

BANANA PANCAKES – PHUKET STREET FOOD

Turn any corner and you’ll find a vendor frying these delights up! We recommend mango milk – which we ate too quickly and didn’t get a good snap of!

Banana pancakes – one with peanut butter and the other with Nutella

TWO CHEFS PATONG, KARON and KATA BEACH

The menu at Two Chefs is extensive and spans much further than just Thai/Asian fusion food. We simply had to go for pineapple fried rice, served, of course, in a pineapple bowl.

Pineapple fried rice & stir fried sweet and sour vegetables

Thai red curry

RED CHOPSTICKS PATONG, KARON and KATA BEACH

This was the place where we ran into our first potential disaster. After making it very clear before we even sat down that we were vegetarians and did not want any fish, seafood, fish sauce etc. one of our soups turned up with a load of prawns in. It’s a waste, of course, but these things happen. This is why I stressed earlier in the post to ensure you check your food, as the prawns were hidden in a bright red soup.

Coconut and lemongrass soup with tofu and vegetables

Tom yum soup with tofu and vegetables

Vegetable fried rice

Vegetable stir fry noodles

O-OH FARM CAFE – PHUKET TOWN, KARON and KATA BEACH

Whilst not exclusively vegan or vegetarian, many items on the menu were, including some Thai food options. We fancied something a bit different, so opted for the pesto spaghetti and sushi rolls.

Cashew nut and pesto spaghetti

Vegan sushi

DA MARIO ITALIAN – KARON BEACH

For those nights where a few beers and a pizza are required, look no further than De Mario’s Italian. Your non-veggie friends can tuck into Thai food or seafood, and yet again, like many menus on Karon beach front, had a variety of options to suit all tastes.

Pineapple, olive and chilli pizza

YO GREEN – PATONG BEACH

Located on one of the side streets of the busy Bangala Road, you’ll find Yo Green, possibly the BEST vegetarian Thai food we have ever had. Everything on the menu comes vegetarian as standard, but vegans can adapt pretty much anything they want. The mock meats’ texture is convincing and definitely adds something to the meal. At home, we use Quorn, tofu and other protein packed meat substitutes, so it was nice to dine somewhere that offered us that option as opposed to strictly vegetables or tofu. We went with pineapple fried rice again, satay skewers (my favourite thing in the world) and a stir fried veggies and tofu dish.

Passionfruit lemonade

Pineapple fried rice – of course

Mock ‘chicken’ satay skewers with peanut sauce

Stir fried vegetables and tofu

HIGHWAY CURRY – KARON

If you’re in Karon and do not visit this place, then you have simply missed out on one o the best curries you’ll ever eat. The vegetarian menu, pictured below, went on for pages and had some very unique options. Being a lover of paneer cheese, I was in my element.

One of the most extensive vegetarian menu we’ve ever seen!

Deep fried paneer and onion bhajis

Saag naan

Cauliflour naan

The BEST Indian food you’ll probably ever eat outside of India

<3

Palak paneer

Malal kofta

COFFEE TALK – KARON/KATA BEACH

Between Karon and Kata beaches, along the main road is Coffee Talk and Sweet Talk, an incredibly cute coffee and dessert parlous serving up fresh coffee, juices and ice cream.

Two fresh iced drinks to enjoy with free wifi and air con

NEW YORK BURGER CO. – KATA BEACH

The Mac and Cheese burger here is the key item on the menu, with veggies and meat eaters alike tucking in.

Mac n cheese burger

Mac n cheese bites

So good we ordered another portion

ON THE ROCK – KARON BEACH

If you want to dine somewhere a little more upmarket with gorgeous views to match – then this is your place. The chefs were willing to make any curry, rice or noodle dish we wanted and replace meat with tofu and vegetables. It was our last night, so we went with the green and massaman curries, and watched the sunset over the beach, a truly memorable experience.

Thai green and massaman curries

The perfect setting to end the trip

If you liked this article or have been somewhere else in Phuket that we did not, let us know!

 

The Veggie Passport

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39 Comments

  1. With so many vegetables and fruit common on the menu it seems like the perfect place to find vegan things! We love to experiment with healthy veggie options whenever we travel and then I try to make them when we get home!

  2. You have made me so hungry!! Between the mango and coconut sticky rice, the naan, the Palak paneer and the mac and cheese burger, I’m ready for dinner! And I never thought about how pervasive fish sauce is! Excellent tips on where to find the best vegetarian and vegan eats in Phuket. I’m hoping I can try them out myself soon. 🙂

  3. I’m not vegetarian (and don’t think I could ever do it) but all this food looks so delicious!! I just travel to Thailand with a friend who is vegan, and she was actually able to find a lot of food options there (mainly in the form of curry). I’ll have to send this article to her for next time 🙂

  4. For sure it’s challenging to find and order vegan food in Phuket ! It’s a great idea to learn some key phrases in order to try to break the language barrier. I also like your advice about the fish sauce 🙂 I would have never thought about checking the usage of fish sauce during the cooking process !

  5. Thank you for sharing all of these awesome tips about finding vegetarian and vegan food in Phuket! Knowing how to express your dietary requirements in a country’s language is super useful. I’ve also been dying to try mango and coconut sticky rice for ages.

  6. WOW! I had NO idea Phuket had so many options! This is super helpful because especially around Patong, its easy to just default to the places with large crowds… which would be a silly choice given that all these options exist! Your pictures have made me crave some SE Asian food lol (we have a great vegan Thai spot right around the corner from where I work… soo I know where I’m going for lunch today lol)

  7. Always been a great fan of a vegan food! these dishes looks amazing! On my trip to Phuket we had and tested almost everything but unfortunately could not taste all these dishes.

  8. This post just made me very hungry! It looks absolutely delicious! I’m actually going to Thailand this weekend – Bangkok, not Phuket… And I’m looking so much forward to the mango sticky rice!

  9. Such great tips! The food looks incredible, so much choice! I’m not vegetarian or vegan but I do often go for those options so this is super helpful!

  10. It’s so good I’ve eaten before reading this post :)) The food looks amazing, especially the mango and passionfruit lemonade! Would love to taste it now!

  11. Ahhhh I, salivating! All of these dishes look absolutely amazing and so tasty! I had a few scares in Thailand myself – I was so excited to try pineapple rice but the restaurant we visited put chicken in it, who knew?!

    • Ah no! I think they would have made it without if you’d said, but hopefully next time you can get it!

  12. OK I knew Phuket was a dream destination because of its beaches but it actually is for its numerous veggie/vegan food options??? All of your pictures seriously made me so hungry. We’re both veg as well and it’s super nice to come across your blog, I’ll keep it in my bookmarks 🙂

  13. My worry when it comes to Thailand is not the meat or eggs. Rather I’m DEATHLY allergic to peanuts and peanut butter. It seems to be in everything there. The last thing I want is to go to the hospital while on vacation. Have you found that it’s everywhere? Have you known anyone allergic to peanuts to go to Thailand without any problems?

    • Hi! Thanks for asking! My concern with this is which oil they use to stir fry their food with. Usually, I found it was peanut oil, so you would have to be super careful over there. I’m wondering if places with raw or freshly prepared food would be able to cater to your needs. Keep me updated!

  14. Amazing food Photography! I am traveling to Thailand next month. I won’t be covering Phuket but I am definitely going to try some of these vegetarian dishes especially fried rice, noodles and Vegan sushi

    • Thank you! I’m sure you’ll be able to find all of this and more in other areas of Thailand. Enjoy your trip!

  15. This food gave me some serious hunger pangs right now!! Good job showing awesome veggie options.. will definitely use it on my trip, whenevr that is..

  16. This just made me so hungry!! I went to Phuket in high school and still remember the delicious flavors. However, I definitely missed some things while there, such as the banana pancakes! I guess I’ll just have to go back someday!
    detourswithdaisey.com

  17. Not a vegan/vegetarian myself, but very useful tips for someone who is. Totally agree with you that you have to be clear when you say what you don’t eat. I was in a situation where there was lady with gluten intolerance who got served a pita (kind of flat bread), so she said: I don’t ‘eat gluten, what can you offer me. Then the waitress said: I can bring you some bread… She didn’t know what gluten was…

    • It can be really difficult, but having knowledge about what kind of food you need to avoid and the ways to express politely what you can’t or won’t eat is definitely key!

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