What I ate in Thailand: The Vegan Edition

Hi guys!

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted but I’m back. I recently went on holiday to Thailand with my friends and I had an amazing time; great activities, sun and really fun memories. If you’re thinking about going to Thailand, go!

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Now onto the food! In January 2016, I decided to become a plant-based Vegan and so far it’s been pretty easy for me but I did wonder how I would manage abroad. Before flying out I researched a bit about the Thai culture and food and read some posts from fellow Vegans and it seemed that I wouldn’t have a huge problem finding food so I wasn’t worried. I’m not a particularly fussy eater or even a huge foodie; I don’t mind settling for ‘just chips’  or ‘rice’ when I can’t be catered for and so this probably made things a lot easier for me. Looking back, I can’t say I had the most amazing food experience as there were limitations to what I could try but I can say that I tried a fair amount of local food and enjoyed what I had.

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Feeding my fellow Vegan – If they can survive on plants then so can I!

The type of holiday I did was a ‘backpacking style group tour’ with STA Travel. This meant that unlike the average holiday, some of my meals were not in my control as sometimes our meals were provided by different people such as local tour guide staff or activity leaders. We were constantly on the move, sometimes staying in a different hotel every night as well as sleeping on overnight trains and spending hours on ferries which was an amazing adventure but not your average ‘3 meals a day in a restaurant’ holiday and so sometimes I would have to settle for whatever could be provided for me or whatever I could find in the nearby shops.

Overall, I found that it was not a problem being Vegan in Thailand. The Thai diet is based around rice and noodles and they actually rarely use cow’s milk in their dishes. The curries and soups are usually made with coconut milk and so this made things so much easier.  The noodles were rice based too so there was never a worry about them containing egg.  Also, tofu is really common there, more accessible then England, so whilst my fellow group members munched on prawns, chicken and pork, I could always have a tofu substitute.  I also was able to request ‘no egg’ when necessary as it was common to have fried or boiled egg pieces or an omelette as part of some meals.

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Tasting local fruit in the market

Here are some of the meals that I tucked into on my travels:

Breakfast

Most of the hotels I stayed at had breakfast options of eggs, toast and meat of some sort. Breakfasts were quite hard for me because I was usually limited to only toast and jam which as you can imagine got very boring. There were also cereals but soya milk was nowhere to be found which I found a bit frustrating as it was in all of the supermarkets. Some hotels also had hot food for breakfast such as rice, noodles and meat dishes which most of us found unusual at first but soon appreciated. So toast, jam and noodles soon became a norm! However, I did get tired of this breakfast combination pretty quickly and I eventually headed to a local supermarket and bought some granola and almond milk and began making my own breakfasts.

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Lunches and Dinners

Spring rolls, sweet and sour tofu and thick noodles with vegetables.

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Pad Thai – Probably the most famous Thai dish. This is a stir fry noodle dish usually served with chicken, prawn, pork or in my case tofu.

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Coconut Soup – I actually made this dish myself at a Cooking Class that I attend in Chiang Mai, North Thailand. It was quite simple to make and tasted good.

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Mango Sticky Rice – A common dessert in Thailand. The rice is flavoured with brown sugar and coconut milk.

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Vegetarian Platter – I ate this at a local traditional restaurant in Chiang Mai where you simply pay a set fee and they bring a range of dishes out to your table along with plain rice and sticky rice. When you’ve finished one of the bowls, the waiters will fill it up with more food. These dishes included steamed vegetables, fried tofu, mock meats, spring rolls and a range of other dishes that fortunately  did not include egg or milk.

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I also ate some non-traditional Thai dishes…

Aloo Saag (Spinach and potato curry) with Roti – We went to an Indian restaurant and I really enjoyed this curry. It was only £1 too!

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Vegetable Samosas with Tamarind Sauce

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 Lentil Dahl with Garlic Naan

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Pizza! I was craving something really starchy but plain. I think was tired of eating really saucy foods and this Pizza from The Pizza Company hit the spot. I chose pineapple and sweetcorn as my topping and of course requested no cheese.

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Spaghetti with vegetables in tomato sauce – Surprisingly this was one of the best spaghetti dishes I’ve ever had. I had it in a very small local restaurant and it was so full of flavour.

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Vegetable Gyoza

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Burrito – This burrito was jam packed; it had potato, sweetcorn, beans, guacamole, rice and salsa. The tortilla bread tasted really good too.

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Drinks

On most street corners there was usually a ‘Juice Stall’ where you could choose your fruits and have a fresh juice or smoothie made. I tried this mango and papaya juice and was really impressed. It tasted so fresh and the flavours worked really well together.

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As I mentioned, it was really hard to find restaurants that served soya milk so when I finally did, I jumped at the chance to order this banana milkshake and it did not disappoint.

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 And there we have it – my holiday food diary! I don’t feel that I was limited in terms of local dishes but due to the nature of my trip I was not able to sample as many different dishes and other Vegans might. However, if you’re travelling to Thailand as a Vegan and are worried about finding food, you shouldn’t. I’ve been to Southern Africa and the Caribbean and the struggle is much greater there!

Next week’s post will be a restaurant review on a great Vegan Cafe I discovered in Bangkok. I’ll leave you with this mouth-watering photo in the meantime.

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