About this post: I won’t lie to you – some of the world’s best vegan food awaits you in Chiang Mai. I’ve sampled scores of vegan, vegetarian, healthy, organic restaurants in the city, and put together this list of the absolutely best vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai. Go indulge!
Over three years ago, when I turned vegan, I accepted the possibility that someday, I might be confronted with the tough choice of either staying vegan or travelling nomadically. I couldn’t fathom then, as I resolved to say no to animal products, that I’d one day find myself in a vegan paradise, with nearly a hundred entirely vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes. Welcome to Chiang Mai, Thailand: the land of vegan food porn and my dream for the rest of the world!
I’ve now spent a total of 2.5 months in Chiang Mai over two trips, sampling everything from authentic Thai food, decadent desserts, vegan “eggs” and the best goddamn vegan burgers humans have made yet.
Behold, my personal selection of the best vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai, with all photos shot on my beloved iPhone XS Max:
Pure Vegan Heaven
Must try: Vegan breakfast – waffles, pancakes, smoothie bowls
Pure Vegan Heaven had just opened in Chiang Mai when I was leaving the city last year. It has since moved to a creative art space near Chiang Mai University, and continues to consistently offer beautiful, healthy, delicious vegan food. For an indulgent breakfast, I love their vegan waffles (made of sweet potato, oats and whole wheat) served with with homemade choco-nutella, coconut syrup, banana, flax and chia seeds. For a filling meal, their Mexican bowl packs in the goodness of vegan chilli, homemade salsa, quinoa, brown rice and a tiny portion of seasonal guacamole. Their huge acai berry bowl is delightful to cool off your body on a hot day!
Eco-efforts: All smoothies and drinks are served with steel straws; filtered water is available to refill your bottle.
Must try: Morning glory stir-fry; Khao soi
There are few places in Chiang Mai that do authentic, vegan Thai food as brilliantly – and affordably – as Bee Vegan, a cute little resto near Chiang Mai University. Last year, I only ever saw local university students eating there, but word has probably gotten out since and led to its gentrification. The quality of ingredients and cooking – locally sourced, organic, free of MSG – remains the same though. My favorites are the morning glory stir-fry, chinese kale, basil with mushroom stir-fry, sunflower sprouts, penang curry and khao soi – all sumptuous, gently spiced and so flavorful. They’ve also recently added chocolate cookies and two ice cream flavors to their menu – but are yet to master these vegan desserts.
Eco-efforts: Bee Vegan not only uses but also sells steel straws; pick up one, especially for times you’re out drinking coconut water and can’t do without a straw.
Must try: Green curry fried rice; Mushroom burger
If I were to eat at only one place in Chiang Mai, the all-vegan Reform Kafe would win, hands down. In a relaxed, outdoor seating surrounded by greenery, I’ve feasted on many a decadent mushroom burger – consisting of a pan-fried patty made of juicy textured mushrooms, sandwiched between vegan mayo slathered buns and veggies – possibly the best burger I’ve ever had! Besides western appetizers and sandwiches, they also offer a selection of Thai dishes, of which the green curry fried rice – rice stir-fried with Thai flavors, mushrooms and tofu – is to die for. Order the seasonal mango juice or the healthier but equally delicious green juice to keep you patient, as it tends to get quite packed (and hence slow) at meal times.
Go with an appetite, take your laptop if you intend to work (there’s fast wifi and charging points) and prepare yourself for a vegan feast that’s astonishingly light on the wallet. And by the way, even my non-vegan friends think Reform Kafe has the best food in Chiang Mai!
Eco-efforts: Full points for using steel straws and biodegradable takeaway boxes, but I wish they didn’t have a koi pond in the restaurant; why keep those pretty fish in that confined space?
Must try: Eggplant and tahini sandwich; Dilly beetroot tahini dip.
Started by the owners of Salsa Kitchen (a mexican fav in Chiang Mai; details to follow), Feast Society lives up to its name. They bake wild yeast sourdough bread fresh everyday – undoubtedly the most satisfying sourdough bread I’ve had on my travels. Though the restaurant serves meat and dairy, it offers a wonderfully creative vegan menu, featuring delights like dilly beetroot tahini dip with sourdough bread, an eggplant and tahini sandwich of “deep flavors”, grilled Carribean jerk mushrooms served with coconut rice and mango salsa, and red lentil stew with garlic sourdough bread and popadums! All vegan main courses come with a delicious beetroot and pistachio butter salad. The portions are big and immensely satisfying; my mouth’s watering just thinking of my next visit.
Eco-efforts: Please remember to refuse the plastic straw – which comes wrapped in a plastic wrapper and more often than not, lands up in the ocean and chokes marine life. Hope Feast Society will transition to steel / bamboo straws very soon.
ASA Vegan Kitchen
Must try: Beetroot hummus; Vegan chocolate cookies
Just over a month old at the time of writing this post, ASA Vegan Kitchen has a rather small but interesting all-vegan menu, with a lovely floor seating upstairs overlooking the green backyard (the ground floor of the cafe overlooks a busy street). I loved their beetroot hummus with sourdough bread and veggies sticks; the mango and chickpea curry with brown rice was delicious but on the oily side; and I wish I had space to try their blue butterfly pea flower green curry! Also as far as I know, they have the most decadent vegan chocolate cookies in town.
I’m not a coffee person, but apparently it’s the only place in town to offer awesome vegan bulletproof coffee. Whatever that is!
Eco-efforts: ASA Vegan Kitchen offers only reusable straws and biodegradable cups for takeaway drinks. The staff is well-aware of their eco-efforts. Good stuff.
Must try: Vegan nachos topped with two types of vegan cheese, salsa and black beans
The sister restaurant of Feast Society, Salsa Kitchen is well-known among the expat and digital nomad circles of Chiang Mai to have the best Mexican food in the city. After 3 years of being vegan, I was nearly in tears of joy trying their famous vegan nachos – topped with black beans, 2 types of vegan cheeses and 3 types of salsa! Finger-licking good. I usually order a side of beans to get my protein fix, although the vegan menu also offers a vegan burritto and baked cauliflower tacos, each with a generous helping of vegan cheese.
Eco-efforts: Like Feast Society, I’m waiting for the owners of Salsa Kitchen to do away with plastic straws and plastic packaging. I made the mistake of packing a burrito once, which came in a box with 3 different plastic bags. The next day, I acquired a steel container from Big C Supermarket, and only take away what fits in there.
Must try: Penang curry; Butterfly pea flower pad thai; Almond hazelnut vegan cake
As you walk up the stairs to the second floor of the building where Aanchan sits, the aromas of Thai food will flood your nostrils and make you very hungry. Which is great, because Aanchan offers incredible Thai food, with a big, clearly labelled vegan selection, and serves generous portions. Their penang curry is the best I’ve had in Thailand, and the blue butterfly pea flower pad thai is cooked to perfection. The restaurant tends to get quite packed at meal times, so go early – and leave space for dessert. I tried the almond hazelnut vegan cake from their changing dessert menu, and loved it.
Eco-efforts: It was at Aanchan that I sipped a drink out of silicone straws for the first time!
Must try: Japanese bowl, customized without the egg; Pesto tortilla pizza
A hip new addition to the food scene in Chiang Mai, Rosy Cheeks offers a small but creative selection of vegan dishes on its menu (also serves meat and eggs). Their pesto tortilla pizza was love at first bite, thanks to the great quality of ingredients, and there’s nothing more satisfying than their huge green smoothie after a workout. I didn’t quite relish the popular vegan pho-rrito (burrito stuffed with the Vietnamese pho), but I absolutely love their Japanese bowl (customized to be vegan without the egg), which comes with quinoa, teriyaki tofu, seaweed, mushrooms and a sesame dressing.
The shop next door serves their ice creams at Rosy Cheeks, of which only the mango flavor is dairy-free – but being a lover of all desserts chocolate, I’ve never been tempted to try it.
Eco-efforts: Full points for sourcing high quality local ingredients, and using steel straws.
AMA Vegan Kitchen
Must try: The vegan “egg”
Though located in a peculiar location at the base of a condominium, AMA Vegan Kitchen has nailed the art of making a vegan “egg” – with tofu and Himalayan pink salt alone! I don’t necessarily go looking for substitutes or have an opinion for or against them, but that vegan “egg” was surprisingly delicious! This entirely vegan resto sources organic ingredients and offers a decadent selection of Thai food – well worth the detour.
Must try: Basil leaf lanna
Located inside the Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort, Moreganic was probably the swankiest place I ate at in Chiang Mai – and it was worth a one-time splurge (considering Thailand prices). All the food is vegetarian, and though vegan options are not labelled, the staff understands what you can and can’t eat. The interiors are charming and romantic, beautiful for a daytime visit. We tried a couple of Thai dishes – including the spicy basil leaf lanna (with different kinds of mushrooms and veggies) – and loved the food – both how it was presented and how it tasted.
Ice Love You
Must try: Vegan dark chocolate ice cream <3
And you love ice cream, right? Especially when it’s available in atleast 10 vegan flavours everyday – including Belgian dark chocolate, mint chocolate chip, mango, strawberry, bubble gum and cappuccino – and comes with a vegan waffle cone! Just the idea of licking off the melting dark chocolate ice cream with a bite of the crunchy cone makes my mouth water; possibly the best vegan ice cream I’ve tried yet. And the quirky superhero decor of the ice cream parlour – chances are, you won’t find that anywhere outside of Thailand either 😉
Vegan travel in Chiang Mai:
- Stay at Green Tiger House, home to the incredible Reform Kafe! Or splurge at the Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort with the beautiful in-house Moreganic Restaurant.
- The HappyCow App is the best resource to discover vegan restaurants near you; see their Chiang Mai vegan restaurants page.