Chiang Mai is a hot spot for vegetarian and vegan food. In this vegetarian and vegan food guide, I share all my favourite places to eat in Chiang Mai. Expect Thai curries, pad Thai, Burmese tea leaf salads and more smoothies than you can shake a bamboo straw at.
When our flight to Bali was cancelled because of the Mt Agung volcano eruption, we immediately decided to re-route our flight and go to Chiang Mai instead. Why? I could not resist the temptation to eat more Thai curry and all the other amazing vegan food in Chiang Mai.
We visited Chiang Mai two years before and ever since then it’s been my favourite place to eat in the world. High praise! What’s great about eating vegetarian and vegan in Chiang Mai is that there’s so much too choose from, loads of the food is organic and it’s cheap. In Asia you can always find vegetarian lunch buffets which are great but same-same. In Chiang Mai, the vegetarian and vegan foods scene is huge and eclectic. Expect vegetarian and vegan restaurants galore in Chiang Mai. There’s everything from local green, red and yellow Thai curries to Japanese macrobiotic food, Western style salad bars to Burmese tea leaf salads, and much more.
Ready to drool? Here’s my pick of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai.
Vegan Restaurants in Chiang Mai
These are the purely vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai where you won’t find any animal products served. While most restaurants are vegetarian, there are a few strictly vegan restaurants around.
1. Reform Kafe
My absolute favourite restaurant in Chiang Mai. This vegan restaurant is tucked just inside of the north side of the moat. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the warm glow of coloured lanterns hanging outside. Walk into the inside courtyard and wooden decked surroundings. I thought the food at Reform Kafe was so delicious that we went back time and time again. My favourite was definitely the Mixed Vegetable Noodle Soup. It sounds boring, but it’s an amazing mix of tofu, tomatoes, fresh herbs and rice noodles.
Other really good dishes include the Green Curry and Burmese Tea Leaf Salad (beware that Burmese Tea Leaf Salads are very salty!) The curried potato wedges also looked super good, though I never ate them. Reform Kafe have great kombucha – the original green tea was my favourite but Thai basil flavour was a close second. If you’re there on a hot afternoon, get a banana smoothie with their homemade almond milk. (Google Map)
Goodsouls Kitchen is the sister restaurant to Reform Kafe. Unlike Reform Kafe’s warm and traditional Thai style, Goodsouls is more Americanised in style and menu. The indoor restaurant is styled like a posh American diner; we didn’t like the feel of it as much as Reform Kafe. The menu leans much more towards Western food options such as burgers, sandwiches, wraps and pasta. We still decided to eat Thai food and ordered khao soi (rich coconut soup with noodles, Chiang Mai’s speciality dish). Unfortunately we had to wait almost an hour for our food (I think they forgot our order) but when the food did come it was delicious, rich, creamy and hot. Expect to pay 100 baht or more for a meal. (Google Map)
Free Bird Cafe is a really popular spot with tourists and local expats. It’s an NGO cafe and the proceeds go to support Thai Freedom House, a community centre supporting hill tribe and refugee families. They run a Women’s Lunch every Wednesday at 12 midday where female expats and travellers can meet new like-minded people. Various other events are listed on their Facebook Page Events.
On both occasions we’ve come, it’s been packed out and the staff are rushed off their feet. While the menu has lots of good vegan options, we weren’t blown away by the food. We had pad Thai but the noodles came all stuck together. We previously ate a fine breakfast there. Try it for yourself though, as many others enjoy the food here. (Google Map)
Vegetarian Restaurants in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is overflowing with great vegetarian restaurants. Most of them are listed on Google Maps, so I’ve added a map link to the location for each restaurant. The quality of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai is really high. In all of the vegetarian restaurants, you’ll find plentiful vegan options. In most cases, the vast majority of the menu is vegan.
3. Pun Pun
Pun Pun restaurant at Wat Suan Dok temple is another favourite. This unassuming cafe sits under shady trees next to the temple and is frequented by locals and tourists. They serve fresh, organic and sustainable vegetarian food with produce grown on their own farm. Many of the dishes are vegan. The massaman curry here is the best I’ve tasted in Thailand! (Google Map)
4. Cat House
Probably the most original menu I saw in Chiang Mai. This vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai serves variations on world cuisine in their own unique style. The most popular dish is the black riceberry burrito with Indian lentil curry sauce. It’s pretty damn delicious. The Burmese Tea Leaf Salad here is good (again beware these are always salty) and comes with rice. They also serve bottled kombucha, though we didn’t like it as much as the ones at Reform Kafe. Open late. (Google Map)
Fuang Vegetarian is right around the corner from Reform Kafe. The food here is fresh, tasty and cheap! I ate the fresh spring rolls filled with salad and tofu and a spicy papaya salad. Both were amazing and only cost 50 baht each. (Google Map)
Anchan is another good vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai. It’s located in Nimman above M-A-N-A co working space – it’s a convenient dinner spot after a day of co-working if you’re a digital nomad like us. I thought the food here was quite pricey, but it was fresh and good. My green Thai curry was nice but was mostly palm shoots and not enough other vegetables. You can get large plates of crunchy stir fried vegetables. Expect to pay 120 baht for a main and 80 baht for a smoothie. If you need a more budget-friendly option, check out Ji-Yay Organic Vegetables a few doors down (see below). (Google Map)
This macrobiotic garden restaurant has a mostly vegan menu including vegan cheeses and raw vegan cakes. Confusingly though, they serve cow’s milk in their coffee and some dairy-based desserts. Nonetheless, definitely come to this place for fermented and pickled foods. I recommend the lunch plate with rice rolls wrapped in nori and mustard leaves. The pickles are tangy and crunchy, the rice rolls are wholesome and it’s served with a hot vegetable soup and green tea. (Google Map)
I came to Aum mainly to get my fix of vegetarian sushi made with purple rice. Though the sushi was quite nice, the flavour combinations weren’t quite right. The filling was beetroot, cucumber and egg but the egg was a really overwhelming taste. Aum are really best at simple dishes like stir-fried veggies and purple rice, and vegetable juices. (Google Map)
Morning Glory Vegetarian Restaurant is run by a local family who cook the food fresh. It means service can be a little slow, but the food is good value for money and always tasty. I’d recommend the curried tofu and vegetables with purple rice and a banana-coconut smoothie. Expect to pay around 60 baht for a meal for a main and 40 baht for a smoothie. Morning Glory is popular and often runs out of rice and seating! (Google Map)
Pink House feels a little awkward as it’s in the back garden of a family house and when we went, there was no one else there. We were unsure whether to go in even. We’re glad we did though! The husband and wife team who run it prepared two fresh salads. The black rice salad was huge and came with generous amounts cashew nuts and tempeh (really good tempeh!) The papaya salad was fresh and quite spicy. Apparently the food here is all gluten-free and there are also meant to be raw vegan cakes, though we didn’t see these listed on the menu. Open late. (Google Map)
11. Happy Green
Out of town vegetarian restaurant in an idyllic setting by the Chiang Mai river. They have a great all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet. All of the food looked to be vegan in the buffet when we were there. Options included vegetable, tofu and chilli stir fries, thin stir fried noodles, a coconut curry, a pumpkin stew, purple rice, a type of carrot slaw and fresh salad.
We only ate one large plate and were too full to go back for more — one of the women cooking said we didn’t eat enough! Which is probably true considering the buffet is a set 140 baht for as much as you can eat. But the food was fresh, good and lots of variety! Other vegan bloggers have said they also have a normal menu that you can order from, though it wasn’t obvious to us when we visited. (Google Map)
Vegetarian & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Chiang Mai
The vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant scene is endless. Most restaurants in Chiang Mai will cater for vegetarians and vegans. However, if you’re vegan you may have to be more specific when explaining what food you want. For vegetarians, there are nearly always vegetarian options on the menu.
11. Bird’s Nest Cafe
My next favourite spot for vegetarian food after Reform Kafe. The menu here is basically all vegetarian, but you can pay extra to add organic meat to your meal so I’ve put the restaurant under the veg-friendly category. The menu includes foods like poached eggs on sourdough, amazing Indian potato pancakes with scrambled eggs, a great Penang curry and a delicious and rich khao soi. Good local coffee in a French press. They have their own “Bird’s Nest coffee” which is brewed with spices. (Google Map)
12. Ji-Yay Organic Vegetables
This authentic, local place was our favourite for local food at local prices. More than half of their menu is vegetarian and mostly vegan. There are a few meat dishes on the menu, so just ignore those. Our favourite thing to eat here was yellow Thai curry and a side of Chinese broccoli (bok choy) with tofu. There are loads of stir-fried greens on the menu, so it’s a good place to get your fix of greens for cheap. Dishes cost around 60 baht and include rice. Next door at Zaab Nimman they serve exactly the same menu at the same price. The cook is different and the curries are spicier. There’s also nicer inside seating. (Google Map)
13. Food 4 Thought
Food 4 Thought is a Western-style restaurant in a courtyard setting. It’s a little but further out of town, but a good lunch stop if you’re visiting Doi Suthep or on a mountain adventure. Wraps and salads are the main draws! The wraps here are fresh and delicious. I enjoyed a generously sized avocado wrap, though there was a lot of sauce. Luke tucked into an even more delicious falafel wrap. Don’t miss their ridiculously good bottled coconut cold brew coffee. Prices are high but portions are generous. Expect to pay around 130+ baht for a wrap. (Google Map)
14. Coconut Shell
We found Coconut Shell by chance. Let the waiter know that you’re vegetarian or vegan and they’ll be able to accommodate you. They have a good, spicy vegetarian green Thai curry and khai kata (baked eggs with spices). Food on the menu is not vegetarian unless requested specifically. Rice is white mixed with purple and comes in a cute star shape. Their speciality is an ice-cold coconut shake served in a silver tin goblet. It’s delicious but basically because it’s thick coconut cream mixed with ice and sweetener. Mains are around 50-60 baht and shakes are 30 baht. (Google Map)
Got pizza cravings? This little alfresco pizza space will hit the spot. We came here late on a Sunday night and it was almost full. The pizzas have well-made bases and good quality cheese. The menu includes lots of vegetarian pizzas and four vegan pizzas. Note that the vegan pizzas are cheese-free pizzas; there’s no vegan cheese served here. We had a veggie pizza with cheese and a vegan veggie without cheese. Both were good, though the vegan one is a little plain as the main vegetable was aubergine. Around 200 baht for a vegan pizza and 300 baht for a vegetarian pizza with cheese. Our most expensive meal in Chiang Mai. (Google Map)
16. The Falafelist
How about falafel cravings? The Falafelist has got your back. I’ve not been hit by falafel cravings just yet, but as soon as I do I’ll be visiting the Falafelist. Owned by the same team as By Hand Pizza. 80 baht for a falafel pita and 100 baht for a falafel sandwich. (Google Map)
The best salads in Chiang Mai. Salad Concept is a DIY, pimp-my-salad type deal. You choose your lettuce type, then your toppings and can add tofu and other proteins. There’s also a set menu of salads if you don’t want to construct your own. I love the vegan Japanese-style tofu salad with miso dressing. Fresh, clean and green. (Google Map)
Coffee Shops & Bakeries in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai has a big coffee scene and I’m not even going to pretend that I’ve scrapped the surface of it. Below I share my favourite bakery and coffee shops in Chiang Mai, but for a more exhaustive list I recommend Alana from Paper Plane’s 50 Best Cafes in Chiang Mai blog post.
Another cafe we love! This small cafe is tucked around the corner from one of the main streets inside the moat. The decor inside is quirky and there’s also a street-side seating area outside. You’ll often find digital nomads casually working on their laptops at My Secret Cafe. The coffee is good but what I really come here for is the rice noodle salad bowl. It’s a bowl filled with rice noodles, salad and fresh raw vegetables, served with a spicy soy sauce dressing. It’s vegetarian but easily made vegan by asking for it without egg. They also have a lime and poppy seed vegan cake for afters. Open until 10PM and live music on Tuesday evenings. (Google Map)
Akha Ama Cafe is in a quiet street to the north of the moat. The cafe is a social enterprise who belief in sustainable agriculture. They grow their own coffee sustainably and organically. The coffee they brew is bitter and quite strong. The cafe is a gorgeous, modern wooden design. (Google Map)
Artisan bakery for sourdough, wholemeal and other European style breads. They bake the most incredibly delicious bread. Our favourite is the wholemeal sourdough and their slightly spicy roasted tomato hummus. As well as bread, you can order kimchi, hummus, vegan cheeses and other delicious things. Check out the Chiang Mai Bread Facebook page for the full range and price list. The bakery is a little of out town, but they do deliveries across the city for 50 baht. The bakery is open 5 days a week from Tuesday until Saturday. Message them on Facebook to order.
Vegetarian & Vegan Cooking Classes in Chiang Mai
There are absolutely loads of cooking classes that offer vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes. The vegetarian Thai farm cooking class we did during our first visit to Chiang Mai was one of my favourite travel activities. We learned to make multiple vegetarian dishes including Thai curries, pad Thai, spring rolls and mango sticky rice. You can book cooking classes online and be sure to check out reviews on TripAdvisor.
Restaurants I Was Less Keen On
There are so many amazing places to eat vegetarian and vegan in Chiang Mai. In a city so full of veggie options, it can be hard to know where to eat first! Because of this I wanted to separate out a few vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai that I was less keen on and would put further down your list of places to eat in the city. I don’t mean to be too critical, but these are my honest experiences when I visited these restaurants. If you have time though, do try for yourself and let me know what you think of them!
Bee Vegan was quite out-of-town for us but we came here after finishing a 27km hike in the mountains in the area. My food was average. I ordered a pumpkin stir-fry which came very wet and with silken tofu. They were out of tempeh, so I’d also ordered grilled tofu not realising there was silken tofu in my main. It was very plain and not flavoursome. My pineapple shake was nice. The bill was cheap at only 160 baht for 2 mains, 1 side, a shake and a bottle of water. Unfortunately this was average vegan fare. (Google Map)
On our first trip, this was my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai – we came every day for a week! I was excited to come back but unfortunately the food was not good. My banana and sesame smoothie was really sweet, it just tasted like sugar syrup and not like bananas. I ordered a stir fry with cashew nuts but I couldn’t see any cashew nuts. I asked the waiter and he pointed at a minuscule amount of chopped up nuts that were barely visible. Usually you’d get whole cashew nuts in a stir fry. The stir fry sauce was also too sweet. Luke ordered an unimpressive plate of huevos rancheros which had no tomato sauce. The coffee was weak; just tasted like hot water. I was really sad to see that Imm Aim isn’t how it used to be and doesn’t seem to be taking care with their cooking these days. (Google Map)
How did you enjoy my Chiang Mai vegan guide? If you have more vegetarian and vegan restaurant recommendations in Chiang Mai, share them in the comments!