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Life Travel Vegan

The Ultimate Vegan Food Guide to Chiang Mai

The last thing you’ll be doing as a vegan in Chiang Mai is starve from hunger. The city is packed with vegan restaurants and local vegetarian places serving everything from delicious local Thai food to decadent vegan burgers. Brace yourself, because your Chiang Mai vegan food adventure is just about to start!

I’ve lived in Chiang Mai for 5 months, and one of my guilty pleasures as a healthy food addict is to investigate every vegan hotspot in town. And since I thought it would be a crying shame if I kept all my experiences to myself, I enthusiastically started writing up a blog about all (yes, ALL) the vegan food places in Chiang Mai I went to. Oh boy..

Little did I know that this would result in a guide with over 40 vegan hotspots, foreseen from pictures of the food and a 7000 words summary with tips, info and the location. It’s my dear pleasure to present it to you here.

In this guide you’ll find:

  • Vegan restaurants (or vegan-friendly restaurants) with both Thai and western dishes
  • Local vegan food places (‘jay vegetarian’)
  • Coffee places with plant-based milk, that are great to get some work done

I also indicated the price range of a standard meal with each restaurant. $ = 50 baht or less, $$ = 50 – 100 baht and $$$ is over 100 baht. This is all relative of course, since 100 baht comes down to just over 3 dollars. I didn’t include places where you pay more than 150 baht for a main dish, so essentially every place in this list is super cheap. 

Vegan Chiang Mai Map

  • Blue = Restaurant serving vegan food
  • Green = Local vegan food place (‘jay vegetarian’)
  • Brown = Coffee place with plant-based milk
  • Red = Market (of store) with vegan food
  • Orange = Great smoothies or vegan ice cream
  • Yellow = Bakery with nice bread and vegan pastry
  • Grey = Never been, though heard some good stories about them

Vegan Restaurants in Chiang Mai

Happy Green

All vegan | Healthy all you can eat buffet | Open 10:00 – 19:00 (buffet until 14:00) | $$ | Location (Maps)

All you can eat vegan buffet at Happy Green in Chiang MaiVegan food from the buffet, pumpkin curry (lower right) and pineapple curry with tofu (upper right)

Happy Green is without doubt my number one place to eat if it comes down to delicious healthy food in Chiang Mai. For 140 baht (4,50 dollars) you can take as much food from the buffet as you like. The food is awesome, and the location truly puts the sugarfree icing on the vegan cake.

All you can eat vegan buffet at Happy Green in Chiang MaiHappy Green is located next to the river. The view overlooks the golden temple and high palm trees on the opposite side. This place is never busy, as it is quite a bit out of town. The WiFi is remarkably good though, and there are quite some outlets next to the wooden tables. So if you’d like, you can bring your laptop and stay a bit longer to get some work done.

Now back to the food, because that is where you came for. The buffet nearly always includes:

  • 4 hot stir fries or stews
  • 3 curries / soups
  • 2 different chutneys
  • Green mango or papaya salad
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Heaps of fresh lettuce, cucumber and tomato
  • Steamed sweet potato, pumpkin and leafy greens

Honestly guys, if it wasn’t a 12-hour flight, I’d return only for the pumpkin curry. It’s so good. I nearly ate myself to death here every time – it’s almost outrageous. Though the owner is totally okay if you stay here for a few hours to regain your mobility or load your plate for a third time. I always give a generous tip for her super kind hospitality.

Tip: Do not come on Mondays, since then there is less choice than on other days of the week.

Reform Kafe

All vegan | Vegan khao soi and gluten free pasta | 11:00 – 21:30 | $$$ | Location (Maps)

Reform Kafe Chiang Mai vegan khao soiVegan khao soi! Photo from Vicky Diep @plantpilgrim

Reform Kafe is a 100% vegan restaurant with an amazing atmosphere to it. It reminds me a bit of the vegan restaurants in Ubud! This restaurant is known for its vegan khao soi – the signature curry of Northern Thailand. The original version isn’t that vegan with it’s chicken meat and egg noodles, so grab your chance to taste this dish plant-based! This one is also a lot healthier than its non-vegan counterpart because they cram it with fresh veggies.

If you like pasta dishes, you can certainly satisfy your palate here. Besides many of your favourite Thai dishes like curries, soups, salads and stir-fries, they also serve spaghetti napoli, penne with cashew pasta and three more vegan pasta’s. You can even order these with gluten free pasta!

Reform Kafe Chiang Mai: pasta with cashew pesto and mango sticky ricePenne with cashew pesto and mango sticky rice. Photo by Vicky Diep @plantpilgrim

In 2017, the owner of Reform Kafe opened a second vegan restaurant in Old Town: Goodsouls Kitchen (next one up on the list!). While Goodsoul’s menu is larger, I personally like the atmosphere at Reform Kafe better. Pick your battle.

Did you know: Reform Kafe is the restaurant of the Green Tiger House hotel, so you can also spend the night here (and swim in their tiny cute swimming pool!). At least you’ll be assured a good breakfast!

Aum Vegetarian

All vegan | Great atmosphere | Open 10:30 – 20:30 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Get your ass upstairs! 

Wandering through the dark alley you ask yourself whether the author of this article doesn’t play a sick joke with you. No worries: there literally is light at the end of the tunnel – it’s from Aum. 😉

When you arrive at the restaurant, you got only one obstacle left to take, and that’s the stairs. I call it the Stairway to Heaven, because on the first floor you find yourself a delightful setting. There are low tables and cushions and soft mood lighting. You can sit near the balcony, looking past the wind chimes at how the daylight fades away behind the rooftops. No traffic noise to disturb you here. The only sounds come from either birds or softly talking people.

Food-wise it’s equally good. Aum has the best green curry that I’ve ever had in Chiang Mai, and they serve a generous portion for only 70 baht. For 30 baht more you can add homemade tempeh to any dish. Do try their mango sticky rice with blue rice!

Anchan Vegetarian

Vegetarian with vegan options | Flavourful, big portions | Open 11:30 – 20:15 | $$$ | Location (Maps)

Red curry with morning glory & pad thai with blue noodles

I’m a fan of Anchan for both it’s quality as it’s quantity of food. The dishes are very flavourful, and they serve you a generous portion of it. Also, their menu is huge (it’s huge!). I think they got every Thai dish you can think of – and more. Like the morning glory curry in the picture above. Never seen that anywhere before.

If I sat at your table, I’d force you to order pad thai. Not only is it really really good, but they also stain the noodles blue by adding butterfly pea flowers in the cooking process. You don’t taste anything of it, but it does look cool. You can also order your pad thai to be made without oil, for all the #oilfree #highcarblowfat #rawtill4 #whatever enthusiasts among us.

Anchan cooks with organic vegetables and every dish is made freshly from scratch. Because of this, the food takes slightly longer than what you’re used to. While you wait, you can enjoy the lovely sound of airplanes passing by. Ah well. At around 120 baht (3,80 dollars) per dish, Anchan is a bit more expensive than other food places, but you absolutely get value for your money.

Tastebuds-saving-tip: Beware of the chili’s: ‘no spicy’ is the equivalent of ‘a little bit spicy’ and ‘a little bit spicy’ here means just bloody hot. You’ve been warned.

Taste From Heaven

Vegetarian with vegan options | Fantastic pumpkin curry | Open 9:00 – 22:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Vegan pumkin curry with tofu at Taste From Heaven in Chiang MaiPumpkin curry with brown rice. Photo by Kaelyn Schreiber

If you go to Taste From Heaven, you’ll be guaranteed of good food. Whether you order a Thai or western dish (check their menu here), the food is always top notch. I’ve never had a better pumpkin curry then here, and believe me, I’ve had loads (proof is in this article). The vegan hotdog and other vegan fast food options with fake meat taste so good that you wonder whether it’s not actually meat you’re eating..!

The place is also covered with vegan quotes from famous people. You either hate it or love it, or you don’t care because you are gobbling down a warm brownie with vegan ice cream.

Oh yeah, if the manager appears to be a bit grumpy, well, it’s not you. I’ve never experienced her in a cheerful mood. So if she does smile at you, perhaps it’s me. 😉

Vegan Heaven

All vegan | Taste From Heaven but 100% vegan | Open 9:00 – 22:00 | $$ | Locatie (Maps)

Vegan hotdog and waffle with vegan ice cream. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchiangmai

This place is a sister restaurant of Taste From Heaven, but instead of vegetarian with vegan options, it’s all vegan (voilá, le menu). I think it’s awesome that this place is totally vegan, but I got to admit that I like the pumpkin curry and papaya salad at Taste From Heaven’s better. That said, I’ve only eaten here twice, so I can’t really say anything valid about their kitchen. Do go there and prove my N=2 wrong!

Amrita Garden

(Amost) all vegan | Japanese & healthy | Open 11:00 – 21:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Amrita Garden veggie platter and smoothieVeggie platter. Photo by Liz Gulley

Amrita Garden is a cute restaurant in Old Town, with Japanese influences in their menu. Are you searching for healthy, macrobiotic or unique foods? Then this is your thing. On the extensive menu you find, amongst others, soba noodles, vegan burgers (pulled jackfruit burger / tempeh burger), vegan lasagna, vegan cheese and natto. A super cute and creative dish is the ‘lunch set’, containing a soup, brown rice, fermented veggies, a small portion of steamed vegetables and tea. It reminds me of a little bento box!

I do have to say that for some foods the portions are size toddler, so if you are super hungry, I recommend you to order more than one dish. Or get a dessert, like raw tiramisu! Except for the cheesecake, all foods at Amrita Garden are vegan.

Goodsouls Kitchen

All vegan | 3 kinds of vegan burgers | Open 7:00 – 22:00 | $$$ | Location (Maps)

Mushroom burger and pumpkin soup with yellow curry

While Goodsouls Kitchen is the sister restaurant of Reform Kafe, I think I like the food at Goodsouls the most! Not in the last place because of their pumpkin soup. They’ve added yellow curry spices to it and serve it in a massive bowl. You also get french bread that is slightly toasted so the outside is crispy and the inside is still soft and warm.. It even gets a white-bread-sceptic like me craving for more!

Goudsouls’ menu is a mix of Thai dishes and western foods. You can get wraps, sandwiches, fries, pasta and even vegan steak! They also serve 3 different vegan burgers. Yes:

  • Mushroom burger
  • Beetroot burger
  • Quinoa & eggplant* burger

This isn’t the cheapest place in town, but you kind of already guessed that the moment you walked in. This place is fancy. You can sit outside, inside and on the first floor. If you opt for the latter one, do know that it’s a little bit tougher to reach the waitstaff. Of course you can always walk downstairs yourself, which will also give you the feeling that you’ve compensated a little bit of that gigantic mushroom burger you just inhaled (which with 5 calories per trip down-and-up the stairs and a vitually nonexistent afterburn is more or less the equivalent of half a cherry tomato, but okay).

* Eggplant = aubergine, for my British friends’ info. And zucchini is courgette. Did you know we Dutch also use the words aubergine and courgette? Well now you do. 

Cat House

Vegan options | Great international food | Open 7:00 – 22:00 | $$$ | Location (Maps)

Cat House Chiang Mai green curry with salad and nacho's in the backgroundRed curry and nacho’s

Cat House is a worldly place in both senses of the word. Besides the good ol’ Thai dishes, they serve stuff like Mexican burrito’s, Vietnamese spring rolls, Middle Eastern pita bread with hummus, Burmese tea leaf salad and Indonesian gado gado. I’ve heard people rejoicing over all the international dishes above, and I add to that by cheering for the gado gado (because of the peanut sauce, obviously).

The portions are generous, except for the curries. On the other hand, they serve them with black rice and a side salad, which I appreciate as a health-minded grass-muncher. I would recommend you to try one of the international dishes though, since there ain’t no place like this!

The Salad Concept

Vegan options | Huge salades | Open 9:00 – 22:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Vegan salad at The Salad Concept in Chiang Mai during a drawing sessionSalad with pumpkin, grilled mushrooms, broccoli, gynura procumbens (that’s a plant) and shiitake dressing

Looking for a vegan that conforms to the stereotypical grass-muncher? Then I’m your brontosaur. ‘Cause I am a huge sucker for lettuce. I think back home not a day goes by in which I don’t jam in a huge salad with veggies, legumes and plant-based protein.

So after two weeks living on curries, curries and more curries, I started missing my plate of raw rabbit food. Yet it turned out to be quite difficult to get a big vegan salad in Chiang Mai. Until I discovered Salad Concept.

Here you can build your own huge salad for a mere 69 baht (2,20 dollars)! The base is a large pile of fresh lettuce to which you can add 5 add-ons (broccoli, paprika, sweet corn, mushrooms, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds and – thank the lord – pumpkin). Then you choose a healthy dressing, of which you get a generous portion as well. You can make your enormous salad even bigger by adding extra’s like grilled tofu, avocado or purple sweet potato.

Tip: Do bring a jacket if you stay here for a little bit longer: the air-con is on blizzard-mode.

Ohkajhu

Vegan options | Salads with awesome dressing | Open 9:30 – 21:30 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Vegan salad with pumpkin and tofu dressing at Ohkajhu in Chiang MaiSalad with pumpkin, grilled mushrooms, some more hidden stuff and a tofu dressing

Salad Concept’s direct rival is Ohkajhu (pronounced as: ooh-kah-joo). They too serve big salads that you can compose yourself, with generous portions of dressing. While the food here is all organic and the tofu dressing out of this world, I do prefer Salad Concept over Ohkajhu. Firstly because of Ohkajhu’s quite inconvenient location, secondly because they get my order wrong again and again, thirdly because I get a little sick of the insane portions of meat that pass by my table (even my omnivore dinner companion found it absurd) and finally because you can literally wait for hours for a free table. Though don’t let this scare you off: you really should try Ohkajhu’s tofu dressing at least once.

Fun fact: My Thai friend told me that the word ‘ohkajhu’ is derived from the childlike word for ‘men’s private parts’. If you go to Ohkajhu at this location and pay attention to the ‘art’ above the toilet doors, you can see for yourself that I ain’t talking BS.

Free Bird Cafe

All vegan | Profit goes to child refugees | Open 9:00 – 21:00 | $$$ | Location (Maps)

Free Bird Cafe Chiang Mai pancakes with fruit and som tam (papaya salad)Papaya salad and fruity vegan pancake. Photo by Vicky Diep @plantpilgrim

Free Bird Cafe recently moved to their new location in Nimman, and are now also open for dinner. Their menu (with pictures!) consists of a mixture between Thai and Burmese dishes and gives me choice stress like crazy. For example, you get to choose from not less than eight salads. They invented a solution for this though: you can get a mix of 3 different salads too. Yay!

Nonetheless, I gave in for the peanut-pumpkin curry. I mean, if you combine two of my favourite foods in one dish, you got me. The portion size of the curry wasn’t too big, but this gives you the chance to order another dish from their healthy, creative menu.

The prices are a bit higher here, but that’s all for a good cause: 100% of the profits goes to their education program for Burmese child refugees. Also take a peek at their shop for sustainable goodies and secondhand clothes, which is also there to support the children.

Little side note: Dogs are welcome, laptops not. But well, to get some work done you get your ass up to one of the many vegan coffee places in Chiang Mai, of which you find a list at the end of this article!

Bee Vegan

All vegan | Curries in huge bowls! | 11:00 – 21:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Bee Vegan Chiang Mai fried mushroomsFried mushrooms. Not healthy but still vegan. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchaingmai

Bee Vegan is in the middle of a local vegetarian food place and a restaurant. It’s hidden in an alley near a busy road in Nimman, but do not get scared away by the location and fluorescent light: the food is awesome, especially the curries.

I honestly have never ever had such a gigantic bowl of curry as I got here, and that for a mere 60 baht. They serve pumpkin curry, red curry, green curry, paneang curry and massaman curry, and of course a lot of other Thai dishes, vegan style. This place deserves an extra bonus for that you can pimp your dish with grilled tempeh. They also have salads here, but since this manifests itself in a small plate of barren lettuce with chili dip, I’d skip that if I were you.

Imm Aim Vegetarian and Bike Café

All vegan | Does oil-free pad thai too | Open 10:00 – 20:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Imm Aim Vegetarian Bike Cafe spring rollsSpring rolls. Photo by Amanda Layton

Imm Aim is the only ‘western’ vegan restaurant in the Santitham neighbourhood. They call themselves a ‘bike café’, but apart from the time they urged me to park my bicycle inside (?), I don’t really understand why.

What I also don’t know yet is how I feel about the food. I experienced big hits and big misses here. A big hit is the pad thai, of which you get a large plate full and is available in an oil-free version too. You can also swap the rice that comes with a curry for sweet potato tortilla’s. Guys. For real. You GOT to try these. They are so soft and fluffy and lightly covered with flour.. oh my.

A big miss are the roasted vegetables, what comes down to a few pieces of nearly-raw broccoli and carrot that are shoved into the oven without any oil or salt. Nein danke, nicht wieder. The portion of the curries and soups I find really small too, but the tortilla served with it makes up for this a bit.

Bottom line: you should try Imm Aim for sure, if only for the sweet potato tortilla and lovely owners.

May Kaidee

Vegetarian with vegan options | Does cooking classes too | Open 11:00 – 21:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Vegan khao soi and Massaman curry at cooking class. Photo’s by Claire Thongmee (left), Cara Nicole (right)

There’s not such thing as bland food at May Kaidee. All their dishes are super flavourful! Which is hardly surprising given that they also do cooking classes here. They just know what to do with food. The portion sizes are not the most gigantic of all, but in this way you can order another and share it with your table partner. For the price of 60 baht per dish, there’s no reason not to.

If you take their cooking class you get to make 9 Thaise dishes:

  • Som tam: papaya salad
  • Tom yum soup: mildly sour coconut soup
  • Tom kha soup: spicy clear soup
  • Stir-fried vegetables with ginger and cashew nuts
  • Pad Thai
  • Peanut sauce
  • Green curry
  • Massaman curry
  • Mango sticky rice (dessert)

All dishes are vegan, and I’ve heard that also for non-vegan standards May Kaidee’s cooking classes are outstanding.

Blue Diamond

Vegan options | Bread and vegan cake! | Open 7:00 – 21:00 | $$ |Location (Maps)

Vegan bread and pastries at Blue Diamond in Chiang Mai: cinnamon roll, donut, croissant and cakeCinnamon bun, vegan croissant, doughnut, chocolate croissant and chocolate peanut butter pie. Photo by Vicky Diep @plantpilgrim 

If you’ve ever been on a long trip or otherwise spent a decent amount of time away from homeland, you’ll probably recognise this: the point where you suddenly get an insane craving for bread. At least that’s what I got after living 2 months in Chiang Mai. And it started here, at Blue Diamond.

Blue Diamond is also a restaurant, but they are famous for their vegan breads. From croissants to bagels and from brownies to chocolate banana bread – they got you covered. I bought a loaf of bread made with brown rice flour and finished the whole thing even before I hit the end of the road. Whether that came from my prolonged abstinence or because the bread was just incredible, I don’t know. What I do know is that I went back for more. Tip: at least include the cinnamon bun in your bread haul. It’s totally worth every sugary bite.

You can also order food in the restaurant and sit outside, but mind you: you got to pay to make use of the outlets. Myeah.

Bodhi Tree Café

All vegan | You can also sleep and do yoga here | Open 8:30 – 18:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Papaya salad at Bodhi Tree CafePapaya salad. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchiangmai

You find Bodhi Tree Café  in a quite side street in Old Town. They have cushions to sit on and low tables, on which they serve you generous portions of healthy food. The pumpkin soup is great, and I highly recommend the Burmese tea leaf salad too. Bodhi Tree Cafe is also one of the few places you can get a big salad with avocado. Do take a look at their menu!

The owner really is a character: she’s straightforward but super friendly. You can also stay here for a few nights and apparently do yoga upstairs. I’ve heard the owner asking the guests what they’d like for breakfast and whether they want to join her to the market. Now doesn’t that make you want to cuddle these people to death?

Pink House Garden

Vegetarian with vegan options | Awesome Christmas buffet | Open 12:00 – 22:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Pink House Garden Chiang Mai: vegan food and vegan Christmas buffetPink House Garden by night. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchiangmai

Pink House Garden is, indeed, a pink house with a garden. It’s located in a quite residential area a short walk south of Old Town. In the little garden there are low tables and sofa’s where you can wiggle your toes through the soft grass, while you stuff your face with organic gluten free vegan cake. Idyllic? Check.

You can get cake, lunch and dinner here, which I recommend, but what I really urge you to do is to go to their Christmas eve vegan buffet.

Every year on the 24th of December, Pink House Garden organises a vegan buffet. I’ve been in 2017 and 2018, and both evenings were amongst of the best of both years. Although the people I went with really made these evenings stand out, the food and atmosphere alone will leave everyone with a big smile and bulging belly. The buffet is 350 baht (a bit over 10 dollars) and includes an incredible variation of Thai dishes, including desserts like cupcakes with avocado-coconut mousse and pumpkin in sweet coconut milk, all made without refined sugar. The people who come here I would describe as yogi type – in my opinion among the most kind and open-hearted people I know. This includes the owners.

Tip: Coming for dinner? Then take a strong mosquito repellant with you. The Thai perfume version they got here doesn’t really do the job.

Jay Mai Jumjai

All vegan* | Lots of spicy salads | Open: 9:00 – 21:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Papaya salad (som tam) and green mango salad. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchiangmai

Jay Mai Jumjai holds the middle between a local jay vegetarian place and a vegan restaurant. The interior is sober, but you can order things from the menu. Or to be more specific, from the wall.

The place is covered with pictures of the food they serve. You’ll see many many noodle dishes, but behold, this is why I put an asterisk* at ‘All vegan’ in the description: I’ve heard someone say that some noodle dishes can contain egg white, and the mock meats perhaps too. So do check that before you order.

Warning: They are not afraid to jam some chillies in there. So when ordering food be really clear, if your tastebuds are you dear.

Love Forest

Vegetarian with vegan options | Healthy & spicy AF | Open 6:30 – 20:00 | $$ | Location (Maps)

Love Forest vegan sushi in Chiang MaiVegan sushi. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchiangmai

A few doors down to Jay Mai Jumjai is Love Forest. You’ll recognise the place by it’s artificial grass and modern look. Inside you can read from the posters that the owners care about health a lot. They only use olive-, rice- and coconut oil for frying, no MSG, organic vegetables, and their mock meats are free from animal products.

The menu is as healthy as you’d expect, and they even have vegan sushi. Though skip the curries if you are not a fan of spicy food. I had the pumpkin curry and couldn’t finish it as it was just too much chillies for me! The non-spicy dish of my friend was good though, so do not let my one dish keep you from going here.

Morning Glory

(Amost) all vegan | Good food, hospitality-wise room for improvement | 9:00 – 21:00 | $$ | Location

Morning Glory Chiang Mai springrollsSpringrolls with chili sauce. Photo by Dee Fancett Veggieinchiangmai

This place is one of the well-known vegan food places in Chiang Mai, so it had to be included. They serve all the Thai dishes like curries and stir fries, for a fair 60 baht per portion. I had some steamed veggies here with peanut sauce, which was a nice and light variation on the spiced dishes in Thailand! But while the food is good, there is some room for improvement, hospitality-wise.

The day I went, the person who took my order was not in the happiest of moods.. He didn’t say a word, but just put a piece of paper and a pen on the table and left. I wrote my order on it, which the man took away, and returned with the food. All the time the man didn’t even look at me. I felt quite uncomfortable and I wondered whether I did something wrong. Perhaps he didn’t have his day today, but after asking a few people about it (as I read so many good reviews about this place too), some people shared a similar experience, and also mentioned that the woman who owns the restaurant is really kind.

Of course this is my personal experience and it can very well be that you had a totally different one. In that case I’m genuinely happy you did and this was just ‘bad luck’ in my case.

Local Vegan Food Places: Jay Vegetarian

The best food, in my humble opinion, is found in the many local ‘jay vegetarian’ places that are scattered across Chiang Mai. You recognise these gems by their yellow-and-red signs and flags with the jay-symbol (เจ), that looks a bit like the number 17.

Jay vegetarian symbol vegan Thailand illustration“Jay” means vegetarian, but in 99% of the cases actually comes down to vegan, as it follows a buddhist philosophy that refrains from eating dairy and (often) eggs too [1]. If you are not sure whether a dish is free of eggs and dairy, you can always ask (“no èh no mil” in fluent Tinglish).

De local jay vegetarian places generally do not have a menu, but instead a counter with buffet trays that contain freshly pepared dishes like curries, stews and stir-fries. You get a plate of rice and can top that with as many dishes as you like. Jay vegetarian places also offer a rich variety of mock meats and even mock fish that you can add to your meal. The food here is delicious and incredibly cheap. The standard prices are:

  • Rice with 1 dish = 25 baht (80 cents)
  • Rice with 2 dishes = 30 baht (95 cents)
  • Rice with 3 dishes = 35 baht (1,10 dollar)
  • Etc.
  • Mock meat / mock fish = 15 baht per piece (47 cents)

Most of the jay vegetarians places close in the afternoon when all the food is finished. I highly recommend you to go for an early lunch, preferably before 12, since then you still have enough dishes to choose from!

Sangriwoon 

All vegan | Favorite jay vegetarian | Open 7:30 – 14:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Jay vegetarian food in Chiang Mai: SangriwoonPumpkin curry, mixed mushrooms with vegetables, cabbage stew and vegan fish filet

If it wasn’t for Happy Green, then Sangriwoon would definitely be my all-time favourite vegan restaurant in Chiang Mai. From the outside this places doesn’t look too special, but you’re not coming here to admire the front door – you’re coming for the food.

Inside there’s a counter with 8 buffet trays, filled with the most delicious curries, stir-fries and stews you’ve ever tasted. For 35 baht you get a plate of rice with 1, 2, 3 or more dishes of your choice. You can also pick a piece of mock meat, like vegan meat balls, vegan fish filet, or tofu skewers to add to your dish. I highly recommend the pumpkin curry, the brown cabbage and lotus rut stew (which tastes like Dutch red cabbage stew with cinnamon!), mixed veggies with tofu, and the fake fish filet.

If you try to look up Sangriwoon on Google Maps, you are in for a surprise: you won’t find it via the search function. It’s hidden, and that’s good, because otherwise whole vegan Chiang Mai would come here and inhale all the food before you arrive (what actually already happens, see tip below). Luckily you can find this place via the link above the first picture. My pleasure.

Tip: Be there before 12, no 5 minutes later. Because at that time, a big group of people comes flooding the place and creates a que that literally ends on the street. If you arrive after this group, you’ll probably find that the best dishes are gone and there’s nowhere to sit either. So do. Come. Early.

Matae Vegetarian

All vegan | Quite place & sweet people | 8:00 – 17:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Illustration of plate with vegan food / jay vegetarian foodIf you are not lucky at Sangriwoon (because you forgot about the 12 ‘o clock thing or because it’s Saturday), you can always walk a little further to Matae Vegetarian.

The food here reminds me of the vegetarian places in Taiwan. Their dishes are quite different than the Thai food you’re used to. They serve for example minced tofu in tomato sauce (highly recommend!), stir-fried bean sprouts with mock meat, and big chunks of firm tofu. If you are looking for high-protein, then get your ass up here.

The owners are super sweet and it’s never busy. You can get food here until 4 or 5 pm, although I always recommend you to come as early as possible to enjoy a wide variety of options.

Maya vegan food stall

All vegan | Microwave available | Open 11:00 – 20:30 | $$ | Location (Maps) (<– in the basement!)

Vegetarian food at Maya Mall Vegetarian food stall in the basementPulled jackfruit, Chinese stew, pumpkin curry and savory mock fish cookie

The Maya Mall is a modern mall and haven for everyone who dares to hit the street in April, when temperatures can rise to 45 degrees Celcius. The basement is the best part of Maya, because there’s a food court there. And one of the stalls is vegan.

Just like other local jay vegetarian places, you can get a plate of rice and choose from the many curries and stir-fries they offer. There’s a lot of different food stuffs, even mini vegan burgers, steamed sweet potato, and spring rolls. They also heat up your food in the microwave if you’d like that.

I personally find the food less flavourful than at other jay vegetarian places, but this may be due to the fact that I always arrived here in the late afternoon, when most of the food was already gone. I would definitely recommend you to check out this place at least once (and early), if it was only for the super friendly girl behind the counter.

Thanin Market Vegetarian

All vegan | Small place with kind old lady | Open 7:00 – 16:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Jay vegetarian illustration of woman handing out a plate of vegan food

This is a quite and small jay food place where a lovely lady awaits you at the buffet counter. When I came here at 2 pm, most of the food was already finished. I didn’t lie when I said to come early. Anyway, the food is tasty, though some dishes a bit oily, and they have many mock meat options if you are craving something substantial. Just a lovely little place.

Ming Kwan

All vegan | Jay vegetarian in Old Town | Open 7:00 – 19:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Ming Kwan jay vegetarian food in Old Town Chiang MaiMixed veggies, noodles with tofu, fake fish (right) and vegan balls on a stick 

Ming Kwan is one of the very few local vegan food places in Old Town. The food here is a bit more expensive than at most jay vegetarian places, what is probably due to the location. The food in the buffet trays looks good, though I didn’t find it as flavourful as at the other jay vegetarian places I went to. The pumpkin curry and mushrooms were also dripping with oil, so I’d recommend you to do a little does-it-shimmer-a-lot-inspection before you stuff your plate with it.

You can also order dishes. I’ve heard many people saying that the vegan khao soi here is one of the best they’ve had! I also saw a small vegan pizza for 35 baht that they sell at the entrance, along with some ready-to-eat pomelo fruit and other sweet snacks. It’s a good pick if you’re in Old Town and craving vegan khao soi especially.

Vegetarian Society

All vegan | Very special experience | Open 6:00 – 14:00 | $ | Location (Maps)

Vegetarian Society Chiang Mai: very special vegan food at a local buddhist place

There is a reason why I put the Vegetarian Society at the very end of this Chiang Mai vegan food list: I actually don’t want everyone to know this place. 😉 The Vegetarian Society is without doubt the most special place you’ll eat here in Chiang Mai. It’s a non-profit buddhist place that runs entirely on volunteers and donations.

The first thing that you’ll notice is that the food here is unrealistically cheap. Rice with one curry is even free, meant for monk and poor people. Of course you as a tourist or traveller are not going to eat here for free. Besides, eating plain rice is an utter waste of free stomach space, because for 20 baht (65 cents!) you literally have an enormous pile of incredible food.

The second thing that’ll strike you is the food itself. It’s a buffet where you can serve yourself, and most dishes you’ve most likely never seen and tasted before. Some taste great, some not so much, and you can’t tell by appearance. The best strategy is to try a little bit of everything.

Healthy jay vegan buffet at Vegetarian Society Chiang Mai

Vegetarian Society Chiang Mai: very tasty vegan food at a local buddhist place

The food is super healthy here too: they use loads of organic veggies, hardly any oil, no MSG and many different spices. If you come early in the morning (they open at 6!) they serve congee: rice porridge with various add-ons. Then around 9 or 10 am they change it all up to a buffet featuring 16 different dishes like curries, mock meats, stir-fries, stews, noodles, rice and beans. Again, get there before 12 so to find enough options left.

If you have any room left after your meal, do try the desserts. There are jelly puddings made with agar agar, beans in coconut milk, and sweet round cookies made from mung beans. They don’t use any refined sugar and often the desserts are not sweetened at all. You can simply add coconut sugar to your own taste.

Oh yes, don’t forget the juices and smoothies! They have exotic stuff like water-chlorophyl juice, and the one with stevia really tastes quite nice. A glass of juice is 5 baht and a smoothie 10 baht.

Take-away tip: You can also take food and juice home. Do bring your own boxes, because the paper containers they got here are not equipped for runny curries.

Vegetarian Society Chiang Mai: very tasty vegan food at a local buddhist place

Please behave 

I really want to leave this last message with you. If you come here I, hope you also see how special this place is. The people here are so soft and kind. I would be devastated if rude tourists would make a scene or profit from the people’s generosity. If you decide to go here, please be humble and kind too. Lower your voice a bit, don’t eat for free, and perhaps give a little tip as a donation. At 12 o’ clock, everyone is silent for one minute and no one eats or walks either. It would be fab if you’d join them. Oh yes, since this is a buddhist place, I’d recommend you not to come over in your hotpants and crop top. And last but not least: if you are done eating you can wash your plate outside. It’s an experience too. 🙂 Thank you for being so understanding!

Good to know: The Vegetarian Society sometimes closes for weeks because of buddhist celebrations or holidays. If it’s closed, read the big sign on the gate, as it states the date they reopen again.

Vegan-Places-I-Haven’t-Been-But-Heard-They’re-Good:  

  • Happy Time (location): Local, buffet | All vegan | Open 8:30 – 16:00 | $
  • Pun Pun (location): Inside a temple | Vegetarian with vegan options | Open 9:00 – 16:00 | $$
  • By Hand Pizza Café (location): Vegan pizza! | Vegan options | Open 11:00 – 23:00 | $$$
  • Food 4 Thought (location): Can veganize dishes | Vegan options | Open 9:00 – 20:15 | $$$

Vegan-friendly Coffee Places

Digital nomad working at The Barisotel, Chiang Mai. Copyright image: Brenda de Groot

Most of the vegan restaurants covered in this guide also serve coffee with plant-based milk, like almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk. But most of these places are not very suited for working. For all the digital nomads, entrepreneurs, remote workers and the like, I also put together a list of my favourite coffee places where you can get real work done while sipping on an iced almond latte.

A review with pictures and more info on the menu and place you find in the vegan coffee in Chiang Mai-guide, which I’m almost done with! But for those who are in desperate need for caffeine NOW, here’s a summary in bullet points:

Price for an iced cappuccino: $ = 50 baht or less, $$ = 50 – 80 baht, $$$ more than 80 baht

  • Mac Café Santitham (location) $$ | Open 10:00 – 22:00
  • Aom Coffee House* (location) $ | Open 8:00 – 18:00
  • Mac Café Huay Kaew road (location) $$ | Open 8:00 – 22:00
  • Fern Forest Café (location) $$$ | Open 8:30 – 20:30
  • Art Roastery (location) $$ | Open 8:30 – 18:00
  • Wake Up Café (Nimman, Santitham, CMU) $$ | Open 24 hours
  • Healthy B (location) $$$ | Open 8:00 – 18:00
  • Roastniyom* (location) $$ | Open 7:00 – 20:00
  • Posrest* (location) $$ | Open 10:00 – 0:00
  • The Barisotel* (location) $$ | Open 8:30 – 21:30

* –> See this symbol? That’s a snow flake. The air-con at these places is fierce, so take a vest if you want to prevent developing permafrost.

Aom Coffee house vegan iced cappuccinoIced cappuccino with soy milk at Aom Coffee House

More Vegan Stuff

Big chance this is the first time you landed on my website. I normally write in Dutch, and therefore the English part of my site is still quite empty. Sorry for that – I’m working on more! (Tip: if you hit the ‘NL’ in the upper right corner you can see more. It’ll be in Dutch, though.)

While I am translating my butt off, you might like to read these articles too!

This post is also available in NL

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Bob
    3 February 2019 at 12:41

    One of our favorites My Home Vegetarian Cafe. Always fresh and prompt service.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      3 February 2019 at 19:46

      Oh, I haven’t heard of that one! 😀 Thanks for the share!

  • Reply
    Clayton Roche
    3 February 2019 at 15:15

    Thanks for the write up! I also feel ambivalent about Imm Aim, I was happy to see you comment on the roasted veggie salad. I thought it must be a joke when I received it. Looking forward to trying out the ones you covered that I haven’t been to yet.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      3 February 2019 at 19:46

      Ah you had the veggies too! Yup, the pad thai would’ve been a better pick 😉 I’m super curious what you think of one of the other restaurants you haven’t been! 😀 Have fun!

  • Reply
    PeeXee
    3 February 2019 at 18:23

    Very nice (and drooled) read. Whenever I visit CM, I’ll visit them and taste their menus.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      3 February 2019 at 19:43

      Awesome! 😀 Every one of them? I’d love to hear your best pick. Don’t drool on the carpet though! 😉 😉

  • Reply
    Irin
    6 February 2019 at 23:25

    Great overview!
    I’ve already been to many of places you’ve mentioned, but it’s always nice to discover new ones.

    เจ is not pronounced as ‘jay’. There is no ‘y’ sound in เจ.
    It is pronounced as ‘jae’. (In het Nederlands, een ee-klank zonder een j-klank op het einde).

    มังสะวิรัติ (mang sa wi rat) = vegetarian
    เจ = vegan

    • Reply
      Brenda
      8 February 2019 at 23:36

      Ahh, I think we got a pro here! 😉 Thank you for the add-on! I am also happy that I’m vegan and not vegetarian. Wouldn’t been able to pronounce the mere word, hehe. By the way, I also wrote this in Dutch :3 Just hit the “NL” button somewhere on top or bottom or sidebar. If you have any urge to read it in Dutch, of course – perhaps you already knew and just chose the English one. 🙂 Anyway, thanks again for your valuable expert knowledge!

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