Bangkok is well known for its amazingly delicious street food. Vegetarians will be very happy to find that many of the street food vendors have excellent vegetarian food in Bangkok from meals to snacks. Here I have listed some of my favourite Thai street food finds that are commonly found all over Bangkok and are all vegetarian.
Natural Coconut Ice Cream
This ice cream is just too good to be true. It has a sweet coconut taste and is made from fresh coconut cream. Vendors have large metal drums full of ice cream and serve it in a half fresh coconut topped with peanuts, kidney beans, and depending on the vendor many other toppings. The photo below shows a small serve of coconut ice cream with peanuts and pumpkin.
Papaya salad is fresh and nice for a quick eat on a hot Bangkok day. It is made from grated green papaya, tomatoes, spring onion, green beans, bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. Traditionally it is served with fish sauce and topped with dried pawns so be sure to ask the vendor when you first order that you don't want the pawns or fish sauce (they will substitute the sauce often with a chilly sauce or soy sauce mix with lime and chilly flakes).
I also ask for mine to be served without the chilli, because even when I say only a small amount of chilli I find it is still too hot, therefore finding it easier to forgo the chilli altogether.
Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry
Freshly made stir fry in Thailand is usually excellent in both taste and freshness. The many slightly different tasting versions of tofu and vegetable stir fry are easy to find and are a dish where you know exactly what you are eating. Always a great healthy option, and can be found in different areas and restaurants at varying prices.
Pad Thai is one of the most popular street food stall dishes in Thailand. The dish is made up of freshly fried noodles and vegetables, with the option of egg or chicken added. The traditional dish is made with the egg and chicken, although in many areas it is made fresh when ordered and customers have the option to order the dish as they prefer. A large plate of pad thai can be found around Khao San Area for a little as 30 baht.
Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Fresh spring rolls are very popular in restaurants throughout South East Asia and are a great alternative to the fried version that can be found at many hawker street food areas. The spring rolls are served in thin uncooked rice paper sheets with fresh salad inside. Very commonly served with a peanut satay dipping sauce.
For a banana loving monkey like me, I find the grilled banana street food stalls amazing. The sweet smell of warm bananas grilling along the sidewalk makes for a refreshing change from the hot and steaming barbecued meats and oil spilling from hot pans onto passers-by. Often around the outskirts of the city, you can find vendors just selling the bananas as they are, without any sauces or toppings, yet in central Bangkok and in and around some of the large shopping centres you can find the grilled bananas chopped on, on sticks and dipped in caramel sauce.
Half the fun of Bangkok is all the different types of street foods being cooked before your eyes along sidewalks and roads, although for vegetarians it is often confronting having whole animals being fried or grilled right in front of you.
Bangkok is less confronting than other countries in this regard, and I found that the dishes listed above were available in all areas of Bangkok, as well as most areas of Thailand which was a refreshing relief compared to other countries where it is hard to find a dish that is not meat-based.
(All of the dishes listed, besides the Pad Thai (containing egg noodles) are all suitable for vegans as well as vegetarians).
All meals were found in many other countries in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia. Southeast Asia has also got some amazing tropical fruits to try.
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