As far as restaurants go, you could almost call Chiang Mai the Vegetarian centre of Thailand. You don’t have to look too far or hard, with a lot of them being listed on Happy Cow. We also got a lot of information from this amazing post about Chiang Mai from Never Ending Voyage.
There is no way we managed to visit every single place selling great Vegetarian fare in Chiang mai, But we did manage to visit quite a few inside and just outside the old city walls. Below are our top 5 in no particular order.
This would probably have to be our favorite. The street frontage isn’t huge, but once you’re inside and chilling out in the massive upstairs area you’ll soon see why Aum is so comfortable to hang out for a long time!
Aum is located almost directly on Tha Pae gate, the start of the Sunday walking street. If you continue south from Tha Pae gate for about 10 – 20 meters you’ll end up right on the door step.
These guys have quite a larger menu, doing everything we had extremely well. Our favorites would be the Khao Soi and the brown rice pumpkin sushi, the latter being an awesome meal for Rivi.
There are some great looking smoothies on the menu but we mostly opted for the fresh coconut, served with a spoon to make sure you get every last bit of it! Meals were decently priced, most coming in the 30 – 80 baht range.
The best thing about Aum is the chilled out space, littered with a guitar, books and random relics from across the years. The service is also amazing, we spent ages chatting with the folks that work/run Aum and Rivi loved playing with one of the ladies bubba’s that happened to be about.
If you’re in Chiang Mai, make this a must see!
Situated within a very picturesque garden, this place is more than just a restaurant. If you’re in need of western health foods, fresh organic produce or Vegan cakes you’ve hit the jackpot. Service can be a bit grumpy at times and the place can get extremely busy, but we’ve yet to find anywhere with such a big range of goodies.
The Vegan muffins and cakes these guys cook up are awesomely tasty and the organic rice thins were an absolute treat for Rivi. When Somphet market was out of stock we’d also grab our fresh produce here, Avo’s for Rivi were always plentiful!
The breakfasts on offer are very hardy, muesli with seasonal fruit, soy milk and soy yogurt was one of our favorites. At lunch time we stuck with their soup offerings which always happened to be packed with spice, fresh veg and tofu.
If you’re travelling with a little one this place is particularly good as the garden is awesome for them to run around in. We met quite a few young families on extended trips, one with a 12 month old bubba who had been on the road since she was 4 months old. Inspiring stuff!
Blue Diamond is located in the north eastern corner of the old city walls and only a 5 minute walk from Soi 6 or Soi 7 Moonmuang. Meals we ate mostly fell into the 60 – 120 baht bracket.
This is one of the more inspring places you come across in your travels. Freebird is associated with Thai Freedom House, a NGO which provides support to the growing number of Burmese refugees fleeing into Thailand whilst also providing hospitality training for some of the refugees.
There is a little bit of a thrift shop thrown into the mix, with profits going back to Thai Freedom House. We had a great chat with a couple of the Expats who volunteer here and it became clear that these guy’s are truly passionate about the work that they do.
The food was amazing! I went for my Favorite, Khao Soi and B went for a spicy pumpkin soup. The food was some of the freshest we’ve tasted in a long time, it felt like a lot of care had went into the preparation. This is the kind of place that you can linger about for a long time!
Even if you’re not in Chiang Mai, please consider helping out Thai Freedom House!
We stumbled upon Nice Kitchen purely because it was located directly across from La mer hotel where we had shacked up for a while.
If you’re in the market for some properly spicy and hearty Thai food, this is the place. The lady that runs it is super lovely and even stayed open a wee bit later than usual one time so that we could get a meal in.
I absolutely loved the Tofu Laab served up here, I’ve really struggled to find a Veg version, let alone a good Veg version in Thailand (The only other one I ever found was from Nimbin Markets back here in Australia!)
I first fell in love with Laab in Laos, venturing off into Phonsavahn, Sam Neua and Vieng Xai. In Thailand the dish seems to have come out of the Isaan region, a large farming district which borders Laos. The basic gist of it is minced tofu mixed with all my favorite flavors like Ginger, Lime and Coriander. It’s hard to explain but it’s absolutely delicious, get out and try one!
If you’re not too keen on Thai style spicy make sure to ask for not too much chili, this is the real deal!
For those on the run there is a small cabinet out front containing plenty of treaties like Brownies, Cookies and various cakes. There happened to also be a Vegan option there when we passed through.
We briefly touched on the Funky Dog here, but this place certainly deserves more of a mention.
The food is not all vegetarian, but Mr Aun has some great options and certainly understands the concept of vegetarianism.
The menu is there, but you don’t necessarily have to order from it. We often ordered just a plate of steamed veg for Rivi which they were happy to cook up for us.
You can get all of your standard Thai dishes with tofu as well as Mr Aun’s special tomato curry, this is a winner! The breakfasts also go down quite well with plenty of fresh fruit included.
The coffee, The Atmosphere and Mr Aun himself is where this place stands out. Mr Aun has a very simple view on life, aptly called Simple Life. We had some great chats about living the simple life and stripping things back to basics, that’s what this place is all about – Simplicity. The more you talk to Mr Aun and realise how genuinely happy he is the more you start to appreciate the Simple Life.
Let’s take his coffee for example, he get’s green beans delivered (Or sometimes collects himself), dries them in the sun and roasts them over an open flame every morning signalling that the Funky Dog is open. You then get your coffee extracted by one of his odd assortment of machines and served up how you like, Simple and good!
When you visit, make sure you have plenty of time to sit back, relax and indulge Mr Aun. The man is much wiser than you might first think.