Delicious Thai Vegetarian Dishes for Meat-Free Foodies: A Guide for Vegetarian Travelers in Thailand

Thailand is a paradise for food lovers, known for its vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and diverse culinary traditions. But what if you’re a vegetarian? Fear not, as Thailand also offers a plethora of delicious vegetarian dishes that will satisfy your palate without compromising your dietary preferences. This guide will introduce you to some of the best Thai vegetarian dishes that you must try during your trip to Thailand.

Understanding Thai Vegetarianism

Before we delve into the dishes, it’s important to understand the concept of vegetarianism in Thailand. The Thai word for vegetarian is ‘jay’, which is derived from the Buddhist tradition and excludes meat, seafood, dairy, and strong-tasting plants like garlic and onions. However, if you do eat eggs, you can say ‘mang-sa-wi-rat’ which is equivalent to the Western concept of vegetarianism.

Vegetarian Dishes to Try

1. Pad Thai Jay

Pad Thai is one of the most famous Thai dishes, and the vegetarian version, Pad Thai Jay, is just as delicious. It’s a stir-fried noodle dish with tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, and lime. Make sure to ask for it without fish sauce and shrimp.

2. Som Tam

Som Tam is a spicy green papaya salad that’s a staple in Thai cuisine. The vegetarian version replaces fish sauce with soy sauce and excludes dried shrimp. It’s a refreshing mix of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.

3. Tom Kha Hed

This is a coconut milk soup with mushrooms, known for its rich and creamy flavor. It’s usually made with galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, creating a fragrant and comforting dish.

4. Gaeng Keow Wan Jay

This is the vegetarian version of the famous green curry. It’s made with tofu and vegetables instead of meat, and the curry paste is made without shrimp paste. It’s spicy, sweet, and creamy, and is usually served with rice.

5. Khao Pad Jay

This is a simple but delicious fried rice dish made with tofu, vegetables, and soy sauce. It’s a great option if you’re looking for something filling and comforting.


Thailand offers a wide range of vegetarian dishes that are just as flavorful and satisfying as their meat-based counterparts. So, whether you’re a lifelong vegetarian or just looking to try something new, you’re sure to find something you love in Thai cuisine. Bon appétit!