Jun 13 2013
Travelling in Southeast Asia and being vegan can sometimes be a bit challenging — many vendors and restaurants have a habit of adding animal-based ingredients even to food you’d like to just be vegetarian (albeit usually with good intentions). Here are some tips for sticking to a vegan diet on Thailand’s Ko Tao.
The best place to start is the only true vegan eatery on Ko Tao — Avalon. This peaceful spot is nestled on a quiet wooded hillside and can be quite difficult to find. To get there you want to be travelling along the road that leads to Ao Leuk and Tanote Bay, which is a turn off from the main road linking north and south. Go past the Animal Clinic and Earth House on the left around the bend and you will see the recycling centre on the right hand side. Just after this a little track runs up the hill to the right. Go to the top and then turn right after the volleyball net and then follow the path that runs diagonally down.
Still with me? If you are then you will be rewarded with a cool breeze and glimpses of the sea from an airy wooden balcony and a tasty vegan menu. Dishes are around 200 baht and the choice varies, but expect items like bean salads, bean burgers, tofu, avocado and cous cous wraps. Andrea, the owner, has a small shop there too with natural oils, detox teas and other natural health and beauty products. This haven is open weekdays only, from 11:00 till 16:00. T : (08) 7282 4517.
A few other spots are worth trying out during the evening. Sairee Sairee, located at the junction of the main road in Sairee, has a roast vegetable platter on their starter menu, but it’s plenty for a main — if you have a big appetite, order the tomato bruschetta too. The platter is 180 baht. T: (077) 456 126.
Barracuda has a vegetarian salad which is delicious. It costs around 150 baht and comes with cheese but you can exchange this for extra veg to get a vegan version. This spot is located on walking street in Sairee, which is the pathway that runs in between the petrol station and the beach. T:(080) 146 3267
At the petrol station end of this same street that’s home to Barracuda is a street stand that serves around six different Thai salads, starting from 40 baht per dish.
If you are in Mae Haad you might want to pop into the bowling and mini golf spot where you can create your own salad, which starts with a base of greens, tomatoes, onions and peppers. You can then choose to add spinach, mushroom, capers and sweetcorn.
Papaya salad is available at many street stands and restaurants too but traditionally this is served with dried shrimp and made with fish sauce. Mai ao kung kha/khap is the phrase for no shrimp and mai ao nam pla is the phrase for no fish sauce. Remember that fish sauce is used in many Thai dishes, so even if you are choosing a vegetable-based dish it’s likely to have fish sauce in it.
This in not an exhaustive list but it may give you a few places to start. If you’ve found something tasty and vegan please do add a comment!
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