South East Asia is absolutely fantastic for vegan food and most major towns and cities will be bursting with delicious delights. Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Singapore were brilliant, they had so many restaurants I simply couldn’t try them all in my stay (I was in Chiang Mai for 2 weeks and still didn’t have the time to try every vegan place). However, there are some places that really surprised me, places where I thought I would have to adapt omni dishes to suit me, but in actual fact had so many overwhelmingly good options. If you’re wanting a holiday in South East Asia but aren’t too sure where you can find good food, then keep on reading…
Want to read about fantastic Asian vegan desserts? Then click here!
Pai is like a backpacker’s mecca- nestled between luscious mountains and an extremely windy road (I commend you if you make it to Pai) just North of Chiang Mai. Pai is an extremely touristic place, but beautiful and one of my favourites none the less. This cool, arty, yogi Northern Thai town has a real focus on great, healthy, vegan food.
Try Arts cafe for a brilliant vegan breakfast including muesli with coconut milk or beautifully creamy banana porridge. The night market is best option for vegans and is filled to the brim of food; vegan cous cous, vegetable curries and breads, pad thai, mango sticky rice, avocado salad with tofu, coconut cakes…the list is endless.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
For some reason, I really thought I would struggle finding good vegan food in Cambodia. Like Laos I thought I would be adapting omni dishes, which I have no real issues with-you can’t beat a good morning glory (Spinach and greens fried with garlic and chilli, served at practically every restaurant in SE Asia). I was SO surprised with the sheer volume of veggie places here, not to mention the fantastic quality of the food. The Khmer vegan food I had in Siem Reap was quite possibly some of the best I’ve had on my whole trip.
Check out Chamkar house for the best meal of your life in a cool, modern setting, My Little Cafe for the cheapest, most flavoursome meal you’ll experience in Siem Reap. Gelato Lab even creates vegan sorbets to cool you down in the Cambodian heat and La Pasta makes VEGAN PIZZA! Need I say more?
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is one of my all time favourite cities and I recommend every one experience it. This culturally diverse metropolis is an absolute dream and the food is actually incredible. Due to the myriad of cultures here, a couple of days eating you causes you to feel as if you’ve travelled around the world. Try absolutely anything from Little India as most places you will find are vegetarian, hunt for the vegan dishes in the authentic China town and don’t even think about skipping little Lebanon where you will try the best hummus. Opt for street markets to try one of my favourite vegan desserts- Ondeh Ondeh-green, glutinous, rice flour dumplings which are cooked over steam and rolled in desiccated coconut. Inside they are stuffed with palm sugar which turns into a runny, sugary, treacle like substance when you bite in.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
If you ever go to Ubud, something I strongly recommend you do, you will find it incredibly hard to find meat on the high street. Can you even imagine such a place? A place so incredibly full of vegan food, a place where every restaurant you pass advertising veggie food. Ubud is a vegan’s dream. Food here focuses on using healthy, vitalising ingredients that will enrich your body. Eat at Veggie Table for a FANTASTIC buffet which changes daily, Earth cafe or Clear Cafe, which although pricey has the tastiest food I’ve tried for a long time. The ultimate place has to be Sari Organik where you can not only eat delicious food, you can eat with the most incredible view.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An was my one saving grace from Vietnam. I adore this quaint, crumbling place. Wandering through the labyrinth of endless yellow alleyways, browsing the crafts in local boutiques and cycling along the beautiful river were my highlights of our time here. Not only that, the food here is simply incredible, something I was not expecting.
Minh Hein should be right at the top of your list, their stuffed tofu in a banana leaf is life changing-don’t forget to take their cooking class whilst there. Hi Restaurant is a small street stall set across the bridge on the opposite side of the river from old town. Try the Tofu in a claypot for a dish that will keep you coming back for more. Namaste Indian restaurant offers great veggie, authentic tasting dishes if you fancy something a little different.
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Where is your favourite vegan destination in Asia? Let me know in the comments.
Much love from wherever I am,