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With over 30 all veg restaurants, Chiang Mai is a paradise for vegetarians! We made an effort to try them all, but slowly starting frequenting our favorites more often instead. Here are our favorite vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai:
Pun Pun is a vegetarian restaurant in the back of an impressive temple, Wat Suan Dok, which is outside of the moat, west of the town center. Hop in a Songthaew (red covered pick-up public transportation) and get out to sweet spot set up by a Thai-American couple whose focus is on serving organic vegetarian food. The menu is huge (it took us ages to order the first time) and features a large variety of classic Thai dishes not seen on menus at other foreigner-friendly spots in town. The price is also nice – most dishes are between $1.10 – $1.30 (35 to 40 baht). You eat in a courtyard underneath a big Boddhi tree while monks walk to and from all those things that busy monks do. PunPun opened up a second location earlier this year, but we found the menu much more limited and many of our favorites of the original location at Wat Suan Dok were not on the menu.
Beetroot Stories is a central staple in the popular Old Town section of Chiang Mai on the corner of Ratchadamnoen and Ratchapakinai Rd. One of several restaurants in the courtyard of the Kad Klang Wiang Plaza. The menu features a variety of Thai dishes, western cuisine, breakfasts, fresh salads and sandwiches, plus giant smoothies for $1.60 (50 Baht). We can happily recommend the chocolate banana coconut or peanut butter banana chocolate smoothies. The Thai curries are excellent, but we found the vegetable stir-fry a little bland. As the name indicates, Beetroot Stories has quite a few dishes that feature beetroot, such as salads and also several beetroot juices (mixed with other vegetables or fruit). All rice dishes are served with brown rice.
Address: Ratchadamnoen Rd (on Kad Klangwiang Plaza behind the Wawee Coffee Shop)
AUM is next to the Black Canyon Coffee Shop just inside of Tha Pae Gate. Attached to a second-hand bookstore with loads of English books, there is an upstairs sitting area with low tables and cushions, as well as downstairs seating. The restaurant offers mainly Thai – but also some Western – dishes and a huge selection of vegetarian sushi. AUM was surprisingly good, especially the vegetarian Khao Soi and an interesting appetizer here: big, crispy, deep-fried (basil?) leaves with a sweet’n’sour dip – delicious!
Address: 65 Moonmuang Road/Mun Mueang Road (next to the Black Canyon Coffee Shop, inside Tha Phae Gate)
Khun Churn is located in a small soi (alley) off Nimmanhaemin Road, and we went once for an a-la-carte dinner and returned to try the lunch buffet. The lunch buffet offered much better value, as many of the items in the menu are part of the buffet so you can essentially sample the entire menu in one sitting. There is a big salad bar, various soups (including a version of Khao Soi, though we prefer AUM’s version), tofu and grilled vegetables, different rice dishes, noodles dishes and a large selection of herbal teas and fresh fruit water are also included in the price of the buffet. If you go to Khun Churn, definitely go for the lunch buffet. It is THB130.00 – not necessarily cheap for Thai standards, but a fresh, vegetarian buffet for just over US$4.00 is hard to beat.
Address: Nimmanhaemin Soi 17
The Dada Kafe is also inside the old town, just one block south of Tha Pae Gate on Ratchamankla Road. Run by a German-Thai couple, it has a huge selection of solid dishes, both Thai and Western and of course, some German dishes, too. DADA has interesting creations like ‘Carpaccio’ of pineapple, basil and ice cream, fried potato & cheese balls, avocado on toast or fried breaded tofu balls. The prices here are high for Thailand, however, like a German breakfast for $6 (190 Baht), and some of the healthier smoothies sell for $6.40 (200 Baht) which could easily be your entire food budget for the day in Chiang Mai. Everything we ate here we loved, though, from German cakes and sweets to the veggie burger and side of German Potato salad. Plus, the smoothie selection is easily the biggest in town and cure anything from hangovers to acne, to stress, bad vision or sleeping problems. Most cost $2.70, or 80 Baht, including our favorite, the Brainstorm Me. You can also get wheat grass shots or wheat grass smoothies here. Dada Kafe also has free wi-fi and a selection of international newspapers.
Juicy 4 U
Despite the funny name, Juicy 4 U is one of our favorite vegetarian hang-outs in Chiang Mai. It is located opposite the Dada Kafe on Ratchamankha Rd. They have a large choice of vegetables (including wheatgrass shots) and fruit juices for $1.60 (50 Baht), Thai dishes (starting at 70 Baht), breakfasts and a decent veggie burger for $2.55 (80 Baht). We especially love the pick-your-own-ingredients sandwich, where you can choose up to 10 ingredients for a sandwich on fresh whole-wheat bread.
Address: 5 Ratchamanka Road (near the corner to Moon Mueng Road, opposite Dada Kafe)