While most people on earth are omnivores, devouring all sorts of plants and animals and everything in between, vegetarians and vegans are rapidly growing in numbers. It’s estimated that roughly 14 per cent of the world population fall into that category – and that number is growing. It’s a good thing too as the global population continues to rise and more carnivorous diets require more resources to maintain.
People have a whole spectrum of personal or ethical reasons to avoid meat. For some, they are trying to be more earth-friendly while others are turned off by the abhorrent conditions most farmed animals must endure. Still, others might join the veggie/vegan ranks simply for social reasons or maybe aren’t strict, but try to avoid consuming any animal products. Regardless of your reasons, restaurateurs of Phuket have heeded the call and a wide variety of impressively tasty options can be found all over the island.
vegan restaurant | Credit: santosaphuket
Located on a hillside near Kata Beach, Santosa is a detox and wellness center which happens to have a great vegan restaurant. With a lovely view of the Andaman Sea in the distance, Santosa has been offering all sorts of physical and mental health programs for years, and a central part of these programs is based on healthy eating.
vegan restaurant | Credit: santosaphuket
Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, Santosa offers an a la carte menu with tons of interesting options. Think dishes like the Prana protein bowl with 3-color quinoa, edamame, crispy tofu, bok choy, and sweet potatoes, or the raw zucchini spaghetti with basil pesto, hemp proteins, and almonds. Saturday evenings are reserved for their notoriously delicious vegan buffet.
Natural foods | Credit: Natural Efe Macrobiotic World
In the south of the island, if someone mentions a vegan restaurant they are likely talking about Natural Efe Macrobiotic World. It’s not only a restaurant, but it’s also a store offering a very good selection of natural foods, vitamins and supplements, household goods, and more. The friendly owner is extremely knowledgeable about all things vegan and organic. Many of the products are made in-house including the incredible vegan ice cream (highly recommended).
Vegetarian foods | Credit: Natural Efe Macrobiotic World
Their organic vegan and vegetarian menu which has no MSG, pesticides or preservatives, has influences from all over the world like the dahl with brown rice, buckwheat risotto, quinoa burgers, and vegan moussaka. They also offer a lunch/dinner buffet on weekends as well as a variety of cooking classes and workshops.
Vegetarian foods | Credit: The Vegan Table
Amongst local carnivore-friendly eateries and an ever-growing selection of all-you-can-eat shabu spots in Old Town Phuket is where you can find this little gem. The Vegan Table has been going strong for several years now and the word around town is that they have some solid vegan offerings.
You’ll find classic Thai favorites like green curry with tofu and veggies, middle eastern goodies like homemade falafel with hummus and fresh-baked pita, and even vegan bangers and mash for British comfort-food lovers.
Vegan food in Thailand | Credit: travel.kapook.com
Sprinkled all around the island are Thai restaurants that are all vegan. They can be identified by the signs and name of the restaurant in yellow and red lettering. The vast majority are the type that cook up many big pans of food where you get a plate of rice and choose small portions of however many dishes you want.
The offerings are almost always normal Thai dishes that have been “veganized” by replacing meat and animal products like fish sauce with textured soy products and other plant-based ingredients. The added bonus is you can try dishes that you may not otherwise try if you had to order an entire plate of it. The food is cheap and can be quite tasty. Countless of these eateries pop up around the time of the vegetarian festival in October.
Year-round places include a particularly tasty restaurant just north of Chalong circle on Chao Fah East, a small shophouse located diagonally across from the Sam Ong Hoo shrine in Cherngtalay, and Jia Chai on Ranong Road just before the junction with Soi Phutorn near Jui Tui shrine. Bon appetit!