BEST PLACES FOR VEGETARIANS TO EAT IN CHIANG MAI
Before visiting Chiang Mai, I was inarguably most excited for the coffee. I didn’t know much about Thai cuisine, but I’d heard the coffee (and Thai iced tea) scene in this digital nomad hotspot was truly ace.
Spending five days in Chiang Mai, I left already craving the delicious food I’d eaten.
Whilst in Chiang Mai, I was travelling on a moderate budget, £15-20 per day (excluding lodging) to spend on food, yoga, massages, etc.
There were some nicer restaurants I received recommendations for, but opted not to check out in favour of saving the money for extra massages, gong baths and funds to dive into Chiang Mai’s coffee scene.
Point being: All of these places are affordable, some more than others, but I don’t recall paying above £4-6 for any single meal in Chiang Mai.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, these places have great options for the veg friendly and those who prefer a bit of meat or seafood with their meals. Vegan and other food restrictions (e.g. gluten free) are another story- I’d do a bit more research before visiting.
The Best Places for Vegetarians to Eat in Chiang Mai
Farm Story House (Old Town): Finding this cosy cafe on my first day in Chiang Mai (CM) by wandering a narrow side street felt like the best discovery.
I ended up coming back several times during my stay- the food was delicious and affordable, and cafe environment, quiet and relaxing.
My go-to orders became pad Thai and mango sticky rice. Yes, I know pad Thai isn’t really from Thailand- that doesn’t change the fact it’s a delicious dish.
The Larder Cafe & Bar (Nimman): It may not look like much from the outside, but rest assured, the breakfast game is top notch.
I kept it simple here with a parmesan egg and roasted vegetables order on two mornings, but they have more inventive toasts and a few Thai dishes on the menu as well. As with Farm Story, I liked that this cafe felt more local and less overtly touristy.
Khao Soy Nimman (Nimman): Without question, the best meal I had in CM. You must come here to try the khao soy- a spicy, salty noodle soup that’s from northern Thailand.
I had mine with egg and it was * to * die * for *. My only regret is I didn’t eat here sooner in my trip- a friend told me about it on my last day.
Kalare Night Bazaar (Old Town): Dined on the best pad Thai I had in all of Thailand (also SE Asia) at this night market. If you’re new to night markets, this one should make you feel at ease- it’s clean, stalls have sanity rankings and there’s plenty of space to sit down and enjoy the entertainment (usually live music).
Are there more authentic night markets across SE Asia?
Sure, but this one has no shortage of delicious food to try.
Look for the yellow pad Thai signs or simply the winding line- it’s the longest queue in the market. I loved the veggie pad Thai, but there are plenty of meat and seafood options to choose from, as well as a few other Thai dishes.
While at the market, I tried roti (Indiana flatbread) with bananas and nutella from the stall next to the yellow pad Thai vendor, and holy amazingness. V good.
There’s also a great fruit shake vendor (behind the yellow pad Thai stall), serving up frothy, delicious fruit smoothies.
Tip: If you don’t want yours overly sweet, be sure to ask for ‘no sugar’ or else they’ll add a dose of liquid sugar- this is common across SE Asia.
Rustic & Blue (Nimman): Another favourite for breakfast or brunch- I tried simple eggs with vegetables and a green juice. They also had smoothie bowls, omelets and a few Thai dishes on the menu.
Although this place is a bit more Western, I enjoyed the chance to have something familiar, and they have a beautiful garden.
And, two bonus dessert recoss-
Fruiturday (locations in Old Town and Nimman): Hands down, best fruit shakes I had in CM (and I tried a few different places).
Fruit shakes are the best way to cool down (in my opinion) during an especially hot, humid day in CM. I liked this place the most because the fruits on offer are extensive, and, most of the staff speak at least conversational English, so it’s easy to ask for adjustments to your shake (e.g. no sugar).
Cheevit Cheeva (Nimman): Craving something sweet after a late night foot massage, I searched for ‘ice cream’ near my poshtel, and found this place.
I first had shaved ice while living in New York, but really fell in love with it during a trip to Japan a few years ago.
This place does bingsu (Korean shaved ice) very well. I tried the strawberry bingsu, which was delicious- sweet, but not too sweet with a flavour punch from the fresh strawberries mixed in.
There are a few different combinations on the menu, most of which are only served in the ‘large’ size and meant for sharing.
Have you ever been to CM? What would you add to this list of the best places for vegetarians to eat in Chiang Mai?
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