Most people go to Thailand for the beaches, the yoga, the palm trees, and the parties. But have you ever thought about going for a food holiday?
This is exactly what I did a few weeks ago. I decided to visit Koh Phangan, a small island that is famous for its full moon parties. I decided to stay far away from the drug-fueled, bucket-cocktail craziness, however. I chose to stay in the neighbourhood of Sri Thanu – a place that has dozens of vegan restaurants all within walking distance from one another. Besides the abundance of restaurants, you can enjoy shopping, Thai massages, and the close proximity to the beach. Sri Thanu is filled with lots of yogis on motorbikes, and made me think that I was in Bali!
After way too much eating, I compiled a list of my favourite restaurants and dishes. I hope you can make the journey here someday too.
This organic vegan café has a selection of super healthy meals, including an extensive breakfast menu with gluten-free and sugar-free offerings. They also have a dessert case filled with raw cakes. This is definitely a place where you can over-indulge yet not feel extremely full or bloated afterwards. They’re famous for their vegan sushi and homemade ice cream. I particularly enjoyed the Karma Quesadilla, made with a gluten-free spirulina tortilla, filled with cashew cheese and cooked veggies, served with red pepper and tomato salsa. The Butterfly Pea Lime’ade is pretty and refreshing; and the Breakfast Bowl is a healthy and light breakfast choice with cooked and raw veggies, quinoa, tempeh bacon, and cashew cream. I also tried the Affogato, made with coconut ice cream. I’ve never tried a vegan version of this Italian coffee drink before, so I was extremely happy.
Karma Kafe, 20/18 moo 8, Koh Pha Ngan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
Organic Love Wholefood Kitchen
This newly-opened shop and restaurant is the only place on the island where you can purchase organic grocery items. The restaurant serves mostly vegan and gluten-free food, which is organic and macrobiotic. Their juices are cold-pressed and don’t have added sugar, and are served with straws made from plant plastic! The Passion Fruit Juice is particularly refreshing. The Theobroma porridge is incredibly healthy and filling, made with cooked oats (buckwheat flakes can be substituted for a gluten-free version), cocoa powder, dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruit, seeds, and tahini. Their homemade ice cream comes in a variety of flavours — some with lucuma powder. Try the Rainbow Ice Cream for an insta-worthy photo. The shop is stocked with super foods, protein powders, essential oils, and beauty products for sale.
Organic Love Wholefood Kitchen, 42/4, Moo 8, Unit 1a,, Srithanu, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
Pure Vegan Heaven
This is the same restaurant as the one in Chiang Mai (which I had visited earlier this year). The food is fresh, creative, and delicious. They have a selection of raw and cooked meals, healthy and hearty dishes, desserts, and fresh juices. The Rawesome Veggie Plate is a great way to sample some of their fantastic dips, such as their basil pesto, beet hummus, kefir tzatziki (amazing!) and garlic aioli. For something a bit more filling, try the Pure’s Vegan Tacos which are overflowing with tofu chorizo and cashew cheese. Their Date Sticky Toffee Cake was the best dessert I tried in Koh Phangan! It was a large, warm cake made with dates, nuts, and flax, served with mixed berries, salted caramel, and coconut ice cream – a nice change to all the raw cakes available everywhere on the island.
Pure Vegan Heaven, 64/46 Moo 8, Sri Thanu, Koh Khangan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
I had heard so many great things about this spot, and I was not disappointed! Eat.co is the place that greedy vegans dream of, with hearty, delicious meals, friendly staff, and a funky lounging area. The Iskender Kebab is amazing – pan fried meaty mushrooms over a bed of homemade pita chunks, covered in cashew dill sauce with tomato herb paste, served with coleslaw. The Roti and Baby Dahl is a nice, warming appetizer. The Choco Loco Freak Shake is very insta-worthy, made with banana, cocoa, choco chips, and coconut milk, with chunky brownies on top and chocolate carefully dripped chocolate down the side of the glass. If you want to sample their delicious sauces, try the Naked Vegan Sliders, which are 3 smaller versions of their most popular veggie burgers (beetroot, BBQ mushroom, and falafel) served with pita chunks and cashew cream cheese, BBQ sauce, and hummus. So yummy!
Eat.co, 72/1 Moo 8, Sri Thanu, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
This fully-vegan restaurant offers cooking classes and also serves as an arts space, with live music and community campfires at night. Their menu is extensive with cooked and raw options available. The Aubergine Schnitzel was a filling, tasty meal which can be made with either portobello mushrooms, aubergine or vegan fish fillet. It’s served with roasted peppers, tomato salad, pickled, and mashed potatoes. They also have a variety of fresh juices and desserts. For a small indulgence, try the Chocolate Nipple (yes, that’s the name!) which has a chewy, creamy almond centre covered in chocolate. Although I only visited during the day, I can’t wait to come back and check out the music scene at night.
Green Gallery, 22/1 Moo 8 Sri Thani Phangan, Ko Pha-ngan, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
Art in Chai
This quiet café has a beautiful garden area and has a variety of artwork and jewelry for sale. When I visited, I was the only person there, and the café owner was happily painting at the table next to me. Although they don’t have a food menu, they have a variety of drinks and desserts. I tried the Chai Tea with Soy Milk, which is made from fresh spices (ground in-shop!), which is spicy and warming. The Vegan Chocolate Cake is not super sweet and is big enough to feed several people! I had to get it cut in half – I brought the rest to my hotel to eat later. This is a great place to enjoy a hot drink and relax in peace and quiet.
Art in Chai, Ko Pha-ngan, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
Taste from Heaven
This place is also a popular chain in Chiang Mai, which I’ve visited before as “Vegan Heaven.” If you’re looking for cheap, filling, Thai food, this is the place to come. Their menu is extensive and features Thai curries, fried noodles (including pad thai), mango sticky rice, fresh juices, etc. They also have a large selection of Western food, but when in Thailand, eat Thai food! They have certain deals at different times of the day, including an entrée and appetizer for dinner at only 150 baht. This isn’t the most gourmet food you’ll ever try, but it’s made fresh and is authentic. I enjoyed the Penang Curry (super spicy!), the fresh Spring Rolls, and the Butterfly Lemon Ice Tea. You can also order many of their Thai curries inside a whole fresh coconut, which takes the whole experience up a notch.
Taste From Heaven, Sri Thanu, Ko Pha Ngan 84280, Thailand
This is a fantastic place to get traditional Middle Eastern food in Koh Phanghan. The restaurant itself is vegetarian, but offers many vegan and gluten-free options. They’re open early for breakfast (7am!) and make their own breads and desserts in-house. The ingredients are sourced locally and you can taste the freshness in the food. I enjoyed a delicious Potato Sambusak, which is fresh oven bread filled with spiced potato and onion, served with tomato salad. The Chilled Strawberry Basil Anise Tea is super refreshing also. Enjoy their traditional Middle Eastern fare like hummus and falafel, but also check out the bowls, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. They serve alcohol and have a large, amazing garden to sit in.
Taboon, 44/1 Moo 8, Srithanu, Koh Phanang, Surat Thani, 84280, Thailand
This vegetarian café could also be considered a treehouse, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving a variety of dishes where “vegan” is clearly labelled. They have a huge library area surrounded by cushions and tables. This is a great place to enjoy some food, chill out, or get some work done. For lunch, try the Pad Thai (made with brown rice noodles) and a locally-brewed kombucha, which comes in many flavours. For breakfast, try one of their smoothie bowls, acai bowls, or coconut yogurt bowls. I had the Tropicana Smoothie Bowl, which was very fruity. I have a feeling that they freeze their smoothie bowl bases, so make sure you have some time to let it thaw before you eat it!
Art Cafe, 78/10 8 hani, Moo 6 Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani, Thailand
Next time you want to indulge in delicious and healthy vegan food, head to Koh Phangan! There’s a variety of restaurants to try, including omnivore restaurants with full vegan menus. Come visit — you won’t be disappointed.