Thailand’s Growing Raw Food Movement

The raw food movement, or raw foodism, is a massively growing trend. My Instagram feed is always crammed with raw food bloggers posting images of incredible raw cakes, spiralised veggies and superfood salads, which I admittedly go a little wild over.

Raw foodism refers to a diet with a high consumption of uncooked, unprocessed foods. A raw food diet mainly focuses on eating lots of raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, but interpretations of what else is considered part of a raw food diet varies.

You hear a lot of buzz about raw food diets from places like California, Vancouver, Australia and New Zealand’s North Island, but far less so over in Asia. While travelling in Thailand though, I unexpectedly discovered that the raw food movement is slowly starting to set down roots over there too.

Raw food thailand charlie on travel header 2 (2)
Planting the Seeds of Raw Foodism in Thailand

The raw food movement is only just starting out in Thailand, and that’s thanks to the influence of Western raw food culture. At least that’s what Nuch, a raw foodist who runs The Spa Koh Chang, Thailand’s first health retreat which is located on the island of Koh Chang, told me.

Nuch isn’t a seasoned raw foodist and has only been introduced to the concept over the last few years by the resort’s chef. Raw food is an important part of their health and wellness programmes that also include detoxes, cleanses, yoga retreats and green tourism.

Raw food is a new health vision, Nuch explained. It’s not popular in Thailand, but there are many expats and foreigners who are interested in this alternative culture. Most of their guests are from the UK and other English speaking countries.

Raw Food Thailand Koh Chang Spa - Charlie on Travel 4
She gestured into the distance from where we were standing on the balcony of the resort’s ‘Radiance Restaurant.’ Their food mostly comes from the
Doi Kum organic project, a chemical free farm supported by Thailand’s royal family, and they source all of their ingredients locally.

They prepare fresh raw vegan sushi with vegetables and macadamia nut paste, fresh vegan spring rolls packed with crisp veggies, raw courgette pad Thai, energy balls made with dates and coconut, and even frozen blended bananas (commonly known as ‘nicecream’ by vegan food bloggers).

Raw Food in Bangkok and Chiang Mai

In Bangkok and Chiang Mai, there are restaurants dedicated to serving delicious, fresh, wholesome, organic, vegan meals. From basic salads to handcrafted raw spring rolls, there are always raw food options available in the vegan restaurants.

Bangkok is the city that has everything you could want before you’ve even imagined it. The best place that we ate for raw foodies was Ethos vegetarian restaurant, who served up the most humongous bowl of salad with a tahini dressing. The more upmarket May Veggie Home is also worth a mention. I was amazed to see that you can actually take a raw food cooking class at Mai Kaidee’s too.

Raw food Thailand May Home Veggie Bangkok - charlie on travel

Chiang Mai has a significant expat population and has become known as a bit of a hub for slow travel bloggers and digital nomads, yogis and health conscious hippies. As a result, the vegetarian restaurants and raw food options in Chiang Mai are endless. I recommend the sprouted tea leaf salad at The Cat House, raw spring rolls at Imm Aim, and build your own salads at The Salad Concept.

Raw Food Thailand - The Salad Concept Chiang Mai - Charlie on Travel

As a self-confessed healthy eater, an advocate of making ethical food choices and a vegetarian with vegan tendencies, I’m all for the raw food movement. Whether the raw food movement will take off in Thailand any more than it has, I don’t know. A lot of people see eating raw foods as some kind of fad or health craze, but actually eating raw food is part of nearly everyone’s diet even if they don’t label it. Eating salad, fresh fruits and raw veggies is a good way to keep healthy, while at home or travelling.

Thanks to the guys at the Tourism Authority of Thailand for organising our raw foodie trip to the Spa Koh Chang.

Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

12 thoughts to “Thailand’s Growing Raw Food Movement”

    1. I think that the movement is somewhat limited to a niche within veganism most often, though there are vegetarians who base their diets on raw food as well. Usually, around 70% of the diet being raw is the figure that I read – I’m sure that varies greatly though. I wasn’t expecting raw foodism to have reached Thailand at all, and I think it’s great that there’s such a variety of foods to suit everyone’s diet :)

      Thanks for commenting :)
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  1. I do love some good raw food, but I definitely wouldn’t want to eat only that. My experience (at least in Europe) with raw food is that it can either be excellent or very disappointing, and usually quite expensive. I don’t mind paying for high quality ingredients, but I’ve definitely been to places which were not very inspiring and made me think “I could’ve made a better salad than this at home myself”. Interesting to see where it goes in Thailand, like you said!
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