Monday, 15 August 2016

Vegan food in Chiang Mai and Pai

Even though this is my second visit to Thailand, I've never spent enough time in Chiang Mai city to really experience it or the food. I'm okay with that, because I'm sure I'll return again eventually which means I'll have plenty of opportunities to really explore Chiang Mai. I have however had some really tasty food there during my stays, and even more so in Pai, but we'll leave pai for now, because I like to save the best for last.

During my short stay in Chiang Mai, I stayed at Green Tiger Vegetarian house, or just Green Tiger House. I stayed there last year and absolutely loved it!They have a restaurant, and all of the food is vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan, some dishes are naturally vegan already but some you just have to take out or change a couple of ingredients and you're good to go!

One of my favourite items on the menu, was tofu scramble.

It was probably the best I've had, whenever I make it at home I can't quite get it perfect, but this was really tasty, it had onions, tomatoes and herbs, it was nice and salty, but not too salty. Just how I like it, and I definitely saw people on other tables eyeing it up!

Book here:

Another place I love in Chiang Mai, is Taste From Heaven, which I'm sure you've heard of if you've ever researched vegan food in Chiang Mai. They aren't 100% vegan (yet?) but do some delicious vegan Thai dishes and Western dishes. You HAVE to try the vegan brownie with the coconut ice cream. They also have a cooking school!

Book here:

Another little gem I found in Chiang Mai, located in the old city, was a street food vendor/outdoor restaurant. I didn't know where to get lunch, so I decided to type the word "vegetarian" into and see what came up, and a restaurant located 5 minutes away came up! So I decided to give it a go, I'd never heard of it before and it wasn't on google, so I thought I'd check it out. When I arrived I realised it was basically street food, but with tables and chairs, and it all looked super tasty. The man there was really sweet and let me try some before I bought anything, I tried the potato curry, and it was the perfect level of spicy for my western tastebuds. The most amazing thing about it? It was 25 bhat, which is 55p. I paid 55p for a filling, delicious lunch, amazing.

Since its not on google, the name of it is "Traditional Thai Vegetarian Food" and its Located in the old city. I never caught the name of the road because I was in a hungry rush, but it will come up on, or you could go on an adventure to find it.

 Okay, so that's all I really ate in Chiang Mai that was remotely interesting. Now we move onto Pai, the holy grail of vegan cafes and restaurants. I actually ended up spending most of my time in Pai, eating. I loved the food there so much, it was really what kept me there for so long. I'd heard about Art in Chai from other bloggers/instagrammers, and I decided to give it a go. I woke up one morning, quite hungover, and what better than a full breakfast to cure it?

The vegan breakfast there is made up of baked beans, toast (homemade bread as bread in Thailand isn't vegan!), grilled tomato, mushrooms, potato, *chicken* and soy sausage. The soy sausage is the best thing, I could eat 5.

You also get a small bowl of mixed fruit and a choice of tea or coffee, I went with chai tea with coconut milk. If you haven't tried chai tea, you need to try it! Its very different, and if you like spices you'll love it. Art in Chai is a really mellow place, with calming music and people will often have their heads stuck in a book there, since they have their own library. They do live music nights/spoken word too where locals and travellers alike go to jam.

Such a nice place to chill and drink tea!

Right next door to Art in Chai is a place called Karsalong, they do a variety of foods, vegetarian dishes easily adapted. I had the vegetable fried rice and asked for no egg and instead he gave me tofu, I had that and a drink and paid around 85-90 bhat.

My next food quest was getting lunch before trekking up to The big White Buddha, and luckily for me, right down the bottom of the hill is Earth Tone. A vegetarian cafe and health shop, most of their food is vegan, but they still serve eggs. The organic shop sells all kinds of things, from beauty products, bamboo toothbrushes, herbs & even vegan and gluten free cakes.

The smoothies are delicious and fresh, and the vegan waffles are amazing. You can choose your own toppings, I went with mixed fresh fruit and chocolate sauce. They have set smoothies in the menu, but you can create your own, I asked for a coconut and pineapple, a match made in heaven!

I went to Earth Tone twice and absolutely loved it, the atmosphere, the decor, the staff. I even bought myself a bamboo toothbrush from there, which I'm so happy with as they're 100% biodegradable unlike plastic toothbrushes which are harmful to the environment.

Lastly, and probably my favourite meal from Pai, was at Om Garden, they have great vegan options, though not many, the BBQ tofu and potato salad was so delicious! I actually want to go back to Pai just to eat it again.. and again..

This was around 100 bhat, it was so flavourful and filling.

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