Our Favorite Chiang Mai Vegetarian Restaurants

According to Trip Advisor there are 1,216 restaurants in Chiang Mai. In the thirty days that we were living there, we barely scratched the surface. Writing this blog post three months after our time in Chiang Mai, I can say that Chiang Mai, compared to other parts of Thailand (and maybe the world?), has some of the best variety, most delicious and cheap food. The impressive part about Chiang Mai is not only is their Thai food amazing, but other cuisines as well. You can find anything you are craving from authentic Italian pizza to falafel to gelato. The kicker is that many of the places cater to vegetarian and vegan eaters, so it’s really easy to find something for everyone. We can see why so many expats live here! We were spoiled by the prices and almost wish we had visited later in our trip because we didn’t appreciate how cheap all of the food was compared to South Thailand and Indonesia! As noted earlier, its impossible to try all the great restaurants in only a month. Here are a few of our favorite Chiang Mai vegetarian (and vegetarian friendly) restaurants.

Morning Glory

Koh Soi

Northern Thailand’s famous Khao Soi at Morning Glory

This was hands down our favorite Thai vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai. I would like to start with a warning; if you are in a rush, do not go here. The service can be incredibly slow. There is a chance that when you arrive you might be waiting 15 minutes just to place your order. We have concluded that a few of the times we went, the chef was also the waitress and cashier. Another point, the décor is lacking, almost to the point that it turns your away. I really wanted to go into their little restaurant with a bucket of paint, paint over the bright green, re-paint the ceiling and then hang some artwork. Okay, now let’s get to the good stuff. The food was incredible, SO delicious. Each dish we tried had amazing flavors, was fresh and just really tasty. They also were very cheap, 50 bhat ($1.60) per dish. Isn’t that incredible? Getting fresh, food for under $2 a dish? Some of our favorites were Fried Pineapple Rice, Panang Curry, Pad See-Ew, but everything on the menu was great. Okay, I think you get the point. If you are looking for tasty cheap vegetarian Thai food then go here! P.S. They also have cooking classes, which we didn’t take, but imagine would be good considering how well they make their food.


Tum Yum Soup at Morning Glory

Inside Morning Glory

Inside Morning Glory, don’t let it turn you away!

Janie Scoop

Jani Scoop

Sweet Heaven at Janie Scoop in Chiang Mai

{Are we allowed to include an ice-cream shop on our list? Ooops, we just did}. We finally visited Janie Scoop the last week of our trip, and honestly, for the sake of my waistline, I’m glad we took so long. Janie Scoop has amazing ice-cream. We went back four times in four days! Having done the math, I’m glad we didn’t discover this place the first week of our month-long stay. Janie Scoop is a cute ice-cream shop located in the trendy Neiman Haemon district west of the moat that sells homemade ice-cream with a variety of flavors, including some unique ones such as Hokkaido Milk.  This was Aurelien’s favorite; we aren’t sure who or what Hokkaido is, but the milk is very creamy and rich. I devoured their lychee and passion fruit sorbets one day and their dark chocolate and almond vanilla ice-cream another. Add a brownie or macaroon to the mix and you are looking at a sugar rush that is sure to please you. Did I mention that each scoop is $1? Yes, I am glad we didn’t discover this place until the end. And a little sad…

Khun Churn


A sampling of what Khun Churn had to offer.

Khun Churn was Aurelien’s favorite place in to eat in Chiang Mai. I am not in total agreement with him, though I do think it is a place to go try at least once. During the day, and the only time we went, they have a massive vegetarian buffet. The cost for one person was $4, which is insane considering the amount of food they offer. They had a drink bar, dessert, a massive salad bar, a Khao Soi bar (A specialty of Northern Thailand), a tempura bar, and a selection of steamed vegetables, stir fries, noodles and rice. It’s a ton of food and sure to please most people. We noticed a big percentage of the clientele was locals, which is always a good sign.


Part of the buffet at Khun Churn in Chiang Mai

Khun Aureo

Happy boy 🙂


Another day at Khun Churn, slightly different options


Brown Rice Café

Spring Rolls

Beautiful spring rolls at Brown Rice Cafe!

Brown Rice Café was two blocks away from our apartment, so by default we ended up here a lot. We concluded that their drinks and appetizers were the stars. Their mango lassi was out of this world. It was more like a milkshake with (what I believe was) vanilla yogurt. It was super creamy and sweet. They also had a very inventive drink called Tom Yum Drink. It is based on the famous Thai Tom Yum Soup. In the drink they have lemongrass, cilantro and a little chili. Trust me, it’s really refreshing! If you only go once, make sure to try at least one of these drinks, if not both. For appetizers they had great fresh spring rolls with edible flowers, fried tempeh (the only place we found that had tempeh on their menu), and spring rolls. The main dishes were not all as amazing; we found them a bit hit and miss. Some dishes were tasty, while some were so-so. I enjoyed their yellow curry, but found their other curries to be too sweet. We also didn’t love their vegetarian burger. Like many restaurants in Chiang Mai they make their food super fresh so it takes a good amount of time for your food to arrive.

Tom Yum

Brown Rice Cafe’s unique Tom Yum drink. Really refreshing and unique!


Fried Tempe at Brown Rice Cafe

For great vegetarian street food we loved the South Gate Market in Chiang Mai. You can find the best rotee in Thailand, sweet refreshing smoothies for 20 baht and a vegetarian stand that sells many dishes. Check out our separate post solely about it here.



For great Indian try Le Spice, we loved their samosas and dahls.

Craving Mexican food? We went to Salsa Kitchen a few times and loved their guacamole, nachos and combo plates. Only problem was we usually left feeling heavy, but that could be because we ate too much. Their portions are big, so order less than you think you need!


Mexican at Salsa Kitchen

For some pizza, check out Why Not? (Such a strange name!). We enjoyed their pizza, especially their pesto one. They also have a nice outdoor eating area.

If you are craving some good ‘ole American fare, Butter is Better is your place. They have everything from eggs, toast, pancakes, biscuits pastries, oatmeal, bagels and lox, dessert, sandwiches, coffee, fruit shakes and the list goes on and on. Bonus, they have gluten-free options, I tried their buckwheat pancakes that were so fluffy and delicious I was sure they had cheated and used wheat (I’m guessing they didn’t).


Blueberry buckwheat pancakes at Butter is Better. Sadly they didn’t have real maple syrup.

For a pricier option in a beautiful garden setting, try Whole Earth. They have Indian and Thai food. It’s simple, not too heavy and the restaurant is very relaxing. Bonus, they have an AC option! Trust me, you will love it on a hot, muggy day or evening.

Whole Earth

Indian Food at Whole Earth

For cheap, organic Thai food go to Pun Pun. It’s not on my top list because I wasn’t super, duper impressed with their food. In reality I think my expectations were a bit too high. I love that they have organic food and it’s for a good cause. Like the rest of the restaurants I have mentioned, they serve great refreshing fruit drinks. The restaurant is in the ground of a monastery. You sit under a Bodhi tree in a garden. It’s definitely worth a visit, in fact, you might like it so much you will visit it more than once.

Spicy papaya salad at Pun Pun

Spicy papaya salad at Pun Pun

Pun Pun Tree

That concludes our guide to our favorite Chiang Mai vegetarian food, we hope you enjoyed it!


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3 Responses to Our Favorite Chiang Mai Vegetarian Restaurants

  1. Darin February 23, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    so amazing…i want to eat it all! bookmarked all places!!


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