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.
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.
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.
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.
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.