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Being a vegetarian, in Thailand

Travel Forums Asia Being a vegetarian, in Thailand

1. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

It is not easy being a vegetarian, in many countries, and at the same time wanting to try out interesting food.

Any suggestions, about what a vegetarian can ask for in restaurants, and still get some Thai traditional type food.


2. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 10y

Pad thai is usually without meat, you can get it all over Thailand from the street stalls, takes about 5 minutes to cook and will cost you around 20-30 baht. You add chillies, lime juice, fish sauce, peanuts etc. yourself to the dish depending how spicy you like it.

3. Posted by buzzard (Respected Member 187 posts) 10y

For some odd reason, finding strict vegetarian food in Thailand can be difficult. Even with Pad Thai you sometimes need to specifically tell them - preferably speaking in Thai - not to add any meat. I've ordered mixed vegetables at several places, only to get the order served with bits of squid or meat in the mix! You really have to be specific in telling them what NOT to put in the dish or you may get unwanted suprises. Most Thai restaurants will happily cook up dishes to order, and substitute or leave out whatever you wish. But, as always, communication, is key!

4. Posted by wendelin (Budding Member 10 posts) 10y

Yeah, and in that part of the world, many people consider seafood to be vegetarian (no, really! even "vegetarian" Buddhists often east shrimp and fish there!) so you gotta tell them, "no meat, no fish, no seafood". But beware: it's almost impossible to escape the ubiquitous shrimp paste that makes its way into everything - you're either going to have to ignore this while you're in the country or limit your eating severely. I feel your pain, I really do.

Eat fruits! Thailand's one of the best places to load up on tropical fruits like watermelons, rambutans, mangoes and cantaloupes. In major cities like Bangkok you'll find lots of Indian restaurants - they're usually my lifeline after days of subsisting on chilli-noodles and fruits alone. :)

[ Edit: Edited at Oct 10, 2006 6:49 AM by wendelin ]

5. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 10y

Plus fish sauce is added to nearly every dish, it's used like salt is used in western cooking.

6. Posted by gary_hendr (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

I'd strongly recommend servings of pad thai - its without meat and just heavenly in terms of taste.

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

I think i will try the Pad Thai and what Wendelin said.
Last time i was in Thailand, i did not know the Thai phrase 'i am a vegetarian'. I had the phrase, 'i am a Budhist monk', in my travel book. When i showed, the restaurant people this phrase, I got mostly vegetarian food, but without chillies, garlic or ginger. And, i love these things, in my food.