As you wander amidst the enchanting temples, your appetite is bound to grow. Discover all of the best vegan food in Chiang Mai to satisfy that hunger.
- Vegan: Yes
- Location: 43 Nimmanahaeminda Road, Tambon Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Fried chive cakes
- Price range: 15-50 thb per dish
I first discovered Imjai whilst wandering around Maya Mall’s food court downstairs. I was amazed to see a vegan food stall there and was equally amazed by how affordable it was. I hadn’t seen vegan food this cheap since being in neighbouring South East Asian countries. So, I knew I had to try it!
We went for the fried chive cakes, mushroom nuggets, radish cakes, tofu, as well as a plate of rice and mixed vegan dishes including a potato curry, spicy soy dip, and some vegetables.
The fried food was absolutely delicious, albeit quite greasy. The plate of mixed vegan curries and stew like dishes was more nourishing but quite plain tasting. So I would recommend sprucing it up with a mix of seasoning before eating!
I was happy to find they also had another establishment down the road in the Nimman area, which meant we were able to become regular purchasers of their fried food delicacies. Much to my guts annoyance.
I’m Your Vegan
- Vegan: Yes
- Location: 29 Nimmana Haeminda Rd Lane 17, Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Tonkatsu khao soi
- Price range: 90-360 thb per dish
Sometimes you can’t beat a good bit of fried vegan junk food. Oh wait, hadn’t we already been eating plenty of that at Imjai Vegan. Oh dear! Well, if you are on holiday and you are happy to let yourself go a bit, then you’ll also enjoy eating at I’m Your Vegan, Chiang Mai’s local vegan junk food spot located in the Nimman area.
They sell a mix of burgers, hot dogs, fries and some local inspired dishes, like their kastu and khao soi fusion dish (which I thoroughly recommend).
Despite enjoying their burgers and other junk food dishes, the milkshakes were a real disappointment. I was expecting them to be creamy and thick, but instead they were like sugary ice water topped with vegan whipped cream. Making the topping the only bit worth ordering it for.
Oh, and do expect to pay a few pennies for a meal here.
- Vegan: Yes
- Location: 44, 6 Loi Kroh Rd, Tambon Chang Khlan, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Papaya salad
- Price range: 90-150 thb per dish
If you wander just outside of the old city walls you will stumble across Vegan Heaven, a fully vegan restaurant with a friendly female-led team, serving up a mix of Thai and Western food.
They have a good range of local dishes for you to try, like papaya salad, tom yum soup, green curry and khao soi. On top of this, they have dishes like BLT, vegan chicken wrap, scrambled tofu and spaghetti.
I must admit, their vegan chicken wrap became a regular purchase of mine. I probably shouldn’t have eaten it on the regular, but I think I had eaten so much unhealthy food in Chiang Mai that it became a staple part of my diet.
There isn’t anything particularly special about the food at Vegan Heaven, but then what do you expect from a restaurant that sells everything from porridge to sushi. However, it is mostly edible and fairly priced.
Rad Rabbit Vegan Pizzeria
- Vegan: Yes
- Location: 27, 2 Moon Muang Rd Soi 9, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Pesto gnocchi
- Price range: 120-299 thb per dish
A fully vegan pizzeria is definitely something to get excited about and with its central location it always seems like a popular spot to hang out, drink a few beers or G&Ts and munch on pizza.
I visited Rad Rabbit a few times and enjoyed both their bbq and pesto pizzas. Okay, these wont pass as pizzas in Italy, but they have created some tasty toppings to go on top of their flat crispy pizza dough. Oh and they have gluten-free pizza dough too!
Plus, they have other dishes like vegan chicken burger and handmade gnocchi on the menu, as well as some delicious pistachio ice cream. The burger was one of the best in Chiang Mai and the gnocchi was something the Italians would be much more proud of.
I would however recommend avoiding the garlic bread which was stale and covered in large roughly chopped chunks of garlic. Oh and if you are a pizza purist, maybe just stick to the pasta.
- Vegan: Yes
- Location: 1 4 Sri Poom Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Khao soi
- Price range: 140-240 thb per dish
I’m going to start by saying that you should stay well clear of the pad thai at Reform Kafe. It is the worst I’ve ever eaten. It had no flavour and the noodles were one big solid lump on a plate. I came back and ordered it again only for it to be served the same. It does appear to be a popular dish when you read their reviews, but I struggle to understand how.
On a somewhat more positive note, I tried out their massaman curry which was nicely flavoured, but came with huge chunks of uncooked carrot and potato inside and none of the extra fried tofu that I had ordered to add some sort of protein to the dish.
My partner ordered their khao soi which he enjoyed. Plus their craft beer selection was awesome. There is a nice chilled out atmosphere in the cafe, albeit a bit hot in the summer months as it is is open aired.
- Vegan: No, vegetarian
- Location: 136/5 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Tom yum
- Price range: 60-100 thb per dish
Another popular vegan-friendly hotspot situated inside the old town of Chiang Mai, Chada Vegetarian is one of those veggie restaurants that says it is vegan all across the menu but then gives you the option to add eggs. So, to clarify for anyone confused after seeing ‘100% vegan’ written at the bottom of their menu, Chada Vegetarian is indeed vegetarian.
The food is authentically Thai and much of it is pretty tasty. My partner enjoyed his tom yum soup which had a really good kick to it and I tolerated my vegan pad thai which was quite sweet with no balancing flavours. The spring rolls were tasty but the dipping sauce was way too sweet and not spicy enough.
I would go back on the basis that it is affordable and some of their dishes taste pretty authentic, but then I do get irritated by restaurants using vegan labels incorrectly, so would like to see them work on this first. I have read reviews online of people who accidentally ordered a dish with egg in as they saw the vegan labels printed all across the menu.
Free Bird Cafe
- Vegan: Yes
- Location: 14 ถนนศิริมังมังคลาจารย์ Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Gyoza & shan yellow noodles
- Price range: 120-140 thb per dish
Free Bird Cafe is a plant-based eatery and ‘social justice space’, meaning all of their profits go towards supporting a refugee charity. They also have a second hand shop located next to the counter with loads of clothes and books to browse through.
The restaurant seating is located in the left hand side of the building and there is also outside seating which is nice to sit at when it isn’t too hot outside. You order at the counter in the middle building next to the their second hand shop. I only tell you all of this because I found the setup confusing at first!
The food itself is fresh and tasty, but we had yet another boring pad thai. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t that exciting. I personally really enjoyed my Shan Yellow Noodles and the fried gyoza. They also have a range of sweet treats too for you to try!
The Donut Cafe
- Vegan: No
- Location: 1 Huay Kaew Rd, Tambon Chang Phueak, Mueang Chiang Mai District
- Dish recommendation: Maple pecan doughnut
- Price range: 50 thb per dougnut
If you get any doughnut cravings whilst in Chiang Mai you’ll be happy to know their is a cafe selling just that, plus they are all vegan-friendly. The Donut Cafe isn’t a fully vegan establishment as they also sell other non-vegan foods, more on that shortly, but they do make sure all of their doughnuts are suitable for vegans.
Their doughnuts did definitely fill a hole, but some of them looked a little sorry for themselves. They were a little bit limp and sometimes a bit too sweet. Maybe they are going for the more American-style donuts that I’ve tried whilst visiting New York, and I really couldn’t eat many of those. I much prefer doughier versions made from sourdough, like the vegan ones you get from Crosstown in London, but maybe I’m being picky here haha.
They also sell hot savoury dishes with a few vegan options, like their vegan breakfast muffin. This was tasty but it was expensive for what it was. I understand they are buying in expensive fake meats to create these, but I would rather see them get inventive with vegetables or tofu to create something cheaper and more interesting.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some answers to your FAQs regarding vegan food in Chiang Mai.
Is Chiang Mai good for vegans?
Okay, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think the vegan food in Chiang Mai is up to scratch. Especially not when you compare it to the plant-based offerings found in neighbouring countries, like Vietnam (just check out all the amazing vegan food in Da Nang). Chiang Mai has been proclaimed the ‘vegan capital of Asia’ and whilst I ate some tasty plant-based food here, I definitely wouldn’t give it such a hefty title.
A quick Google Maps search will show you that there are plenty of vegan options in Chiang Mai. Heck, there’s even endless 100% vegan establishments dotted around old town and Nimmanhaemin. So, I can’t deny that there aren’t options, but both times visiting Chiang Mai I had to eat so many rubbish meals before finding anything half decent.
The one thing I am yet to find in Chiang Mai is a good vegan Pad Thai. They’ve all been bland and wishy washy. I’ve had better ones in the UK, no joke. My only guess is that most of the vegan establishments are catering for Western tastes and not going fully Thai with their food.
What is the most vegan city in Thailand?
With the high concentration of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai, it is easily the most vegan city in Thailand. Bangkok is also up there, but you have to travel around a lot more to try out different restaurants. Whereas, in Chiang Mai, there is a lot of vegan food all in the central old town area and the surrounding Nimmanhaemin area.