It is not everywhere but yes, there is vegan food in Pattaya. I have been to at least four restaurants in Pattaya that have vegan food on their menu. One of these four is 100% vegan, two are mostly vegan, and the last one serves some vegan/vegetarian food. In this article I will share the details of all four. But before that, a note of caution about Thai food restaurants anywhere in Thailand serving vegan/vegetarian food. Most of the time, a Thai restaurant offering to serve you a “vegetarian Thai curry”, will end up serving a curry containing shrimp paste. The ready-made curry paste they use contains shrimp paste and they do not care to mention it. Unless you are at a 100% vegetarian Thai restaurant, do not order a “vegetarian curry” because it will actually be a vegetable curry with some shrimp paste in it. Now, let’s talk about real vegan food in Pattaya…
Living Food Cafe Pattaya
Living Food Cafe is not just vegan, it is raw vegan. They believe that food either should not be cooked at all, or should be cooked so little as to preserve much of its nutrition. The food here is good, and the menu is large having snacks, juices and other drinks, salads, soups, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, noodles, pasta, and more. And surprisingly, they do not use wheat. So, how do they make pizza, pasta, noodles, and burgers? That is for you to find out. This cafe is a part of the Rasayana Retreat located on North Pattaya Road close to Dolphin Circle / Terminal 21. They open every day from 10:00am to 10:00pm. Read my detailed article on Living Food Cafe here.
Five Star J Vegan & Vegetarian
Five Star J is located at the intersection of South Pattaya Road & Third Road. This one is more like a regular restaurant where cooked food is served. Their menu has vegan, vegetarian, and even non-vegetarian to some extent depending on how you look at eggs. To their credit, the preparations containing eggs are marked in the menu and most of those can be prepared without eggs too at the choice of the customer. Five Star J has a proper Thai curry menu and there are dozens of them – Red / Green / Yellow, and even some with an Indian twist. Many preparations contain fake meats which are made from soy. My favourite order here would be a curry with vegetables, tofu, and mushrooms in it, along with a side order of rice that can be white, red, or black. The prices are very reasonable. They even have a curry & rice combo that costs less than 150 THB. Read my detailed article on Five Star J here.
Food Court of Terminal 21 Pattaya
Here you can have a vegan meal of rice and three vegan curries just for 40 THB. This miracle happens everyday at the Vegetarian Food Stall in the 3rd floor Food Court of Terminal 21 Pattaya. You can choose your three curries from a selection of a dozen or so. The meal is not heavy but adequate and just super value for the price. They may use eggs in some of the dishes, so choose carefully. Read more in my article on the 40 THB vegan Meal in Pattaya.
Basil Thai Kitchen (Formerly Thai Express)
Basil Thai Kitchen is located in Royal Garden Plaza on Beach Road. It is mostly non-vegetarian, however, they do have some vegetarian food on their menu. There are about eight or so veggie dishes which one can order after confirming whether or not the curry paste used by them contains shrimp paste or not. Being a corporate owned chain of restaurants, the staff at Basil speak almost good English and I guess they would be able to clarify on the shrimp paste. I would eat here only if for some reason I cannot go to the other two, or I just need to go there for a change. You may read my detailed article on Basil Thai Kitchen here.
Why I Did Not Write About Indian Food?
Most Indian restaurants in Pattaya and elsewhere in Thailand will claim to serve vegan food. Only, it will be “Indian vegetarian” food that is cooked or garnished using milk cream, or butter, or clarified butter, or cottage cheese. It is almost never vegan. So, if someone says they serve “vegan”, put a few questions to the staff to make sure they even know what vegan means. Another issue is that of quality. In the past few years, dozens of Indian restaurants have mushroomed all over Pattaya. Many of those do not have trained staff and many lack integrity. For example, Saras Indian Vegetarian in Royal Garden Plaza. My last meal there was a disaster because they served weeks old food and charged me 350 THB plus taxes.