Dec 27 2011
Amid the many pork soup stalls in Bangkok proper, real vegetarian food takes some serious scouting. But on Khao San Road, you don’t have to venture far to find some, for what Khao San Road lacks in authentic Thai culture, it makes up for in budget hotels and delicious vegetarian eats. The infamous road may have a reputation as a den of tourist iniquity, but during the day, it serves as haven from the heat to relax at an internet café or eat a chickpea burger. The vegetarian restaurants are all mid-range, with dishes around 60-120 baht, and have a bohemian vibe.
Hidden behind a greasy Burger King, you will find home-fermented probiotic super foods, seven types of Kombucha tea, and even freshly baked falafel at Ethos Bakery Café Restaurant. All of the baked goods are vegan, and every dish is guaranteed to have no MSG. Smoothies and juices take up at least half of the menu; try a cooling mangosteen or beetroot juice to beat the heat. The signature coconut smoothie is the most coconut-flavoured concoction you could possibly consume, so take heed unless you mean serious coconut business. The space is small and cosy for day-long munching and tete-a-tetes, with free WiFi and floor cushion seating. You can also order food for delivery by e-mail.
May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Experience and Cooking School is one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants near Khao San Road, established in 1988 by May Kaidee herself. There are now three locations under the May Kaidee name within Bangkok, and one in Chiang Mai run by May Kaidee’s sister. Mai Kaidee boasts fresh vegetarian eats with organic leanings and a plethora of vegan options. The Samsen Road location also hosts half-day vegetarian cooking classes, complete with a trip to the local market. The menu offers Thai favourites with a healthy touch, like mango and black sticky rice, and Western-style treats like veggie noodle soup and seitan.
In search of May Kaidee’s, you might give up and settle for Thamna Home Restaurant. But one bite of their stir-fried vegetables and you’ll realise Thamna is destination in and of itself. Within a revamped shophouse from the 1940s, Thamna boasts a vintage-chic interior and serves sizzling organic tofu, omelettes made from free-range eggs with farm-fresh mushrooms, and a salad of greens with sesame dressing. With Western and Thai dishes, including a range of spicy curries, Thamna has something for everyone.
Remember, if you are at non-vegetarian restaurant and you don’t eat meat, just say “mai sai neua-sa”, and “ka” at the end if you’re a female or “khrap” if you’re a male.
Ethos Bakery Café Restaurant
85/2 Soi Bowonrangsi (behind Burger King)
T: (02) 280 7549
Open daily 09:00–22:00
May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Experience and Cooking School
Three locations in area: 59 Tanao Rd; 111 Tanao Rd; 33 Samsen Rd, Soi 2
T: (02) 281 7699; (08) 913 73173
Open daily 9:00 – 23:00
Thamna Home Restaurant
175 Samsen Rd (between Samsen 3 and 5)
T: (02) 282 4979; (08) 666 26060
Open Tuesday–Sunday 11:00–23:00
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