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Vegetarian Dishes in Thailand

When looking for truly vegetarian food in Thailand, you can run into unexpected problems. It would seem that there are a lot of vegetables in Thai cuisine, and here it is – a paradise for vegetarians and vegans. But it’s a common misconception that all meat-free meals are suitable for a vegan lifestyle. An interesting case with me was in the Philippines in a Manila restaurant, where I ordered a Korean gimbap without meat, and it was brought with sausage. “But there is no meat there, only sausages,” the waiter assured me. I have already told you about vegetarian restaurants in Phuket, and today I will tell you about some features of Thai vegetarian cuisine and teach you how to order dishes correctly.

Many Thai vegetable dishes are made with ingredients such as oyster sauce and fish sauce. They are central to Thai cuisine and cannot always be replaced with soy. Even sesame sauce can contain animal extracts. Most sauces and curry pastes contain fish ingredients. Thai cuisine hardly uses animal milk since cows appeared 50 years ago, but eggs are common. For example, tofu will not necessarily be made from soy. Stores carry egg tofu and even seafood tofu. I want to give a special publication to milk, there is a large selection of soy, corn, sesame milk, but some add reconstituted whole milk powder. What pleases is sweets and jellies, which are made not from animal gelatin, but from vegetable agar-agar. Let’s figure it out anyway

Vegetarians are divided into several types according to the animal products they avoid in their diet. Ovo-lacto-vegetarians do not eat dishes with meat of animals (birds, fish, etc.) and derivatives, but they allow themselves dairy products and eggs. Vegans avoid even honey, milk, eggs and derivatives. In Thailand, there is also such a thing as “je” (it is better to pronounce it “tee”). Jae dishes can be found in some vegan restaurants. In addition to animal products, onion and garlic are absent from je dishes. I will tell you about the usual ovo-lacto-vegetarian dishes that you can safely order at any Thai restaurant.

Many Thai dishes are easy to substitute for vegetarian ones. Do not use chicken broth in soups, replace meat with mushrooms or tofu, oyster and fish sauce with soy, replace shrimp chili paste with soy. Besides the word “je”, be sure to learn a few phrases in Thai about ingredients. Because the word “mangsavirat”, which means ovo-lacto-vegetarian, sometimes does not mean in Thais that you do not need to add fish sauce. Indeed, it’s not meat.

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Useful phrases for a vegetarian in Thailand

  • Май сай ныа сат (without meat) — не добавлять никакого мяса.
  • Май сай кай (without chicken) — не добавлять курицу.
  • Май сай му (no pork) — не добавлять свинину.
  • Май сай ныа (without meat) — не добавлять говядину.
  • Май сай кунг (without shrimp) — не добавлять креветки.
  • Май сай пла (without fish) — не добавлять рыбу.
  • Май сай пламык (without octopus) — не добавлять кальмара.

All of the above phrases can be replaced with “sai te pkhak” – add only vegetables, or “kin te pkhak” – eat only vegetables. It is not necessary to say that you eat grass, as this expression in Thai phraseological units means a dumb as a bull, a person. However, you can add “mangsavirat” or “sai te pkhak” instead of the hard-to-pronounce “je” to the name of each dish.

  • Mai sai khai (ไม่ใส่ไข่) – do not add eggs, as not everyone knows that eggs are not vegetables.
  • Май сай нам ман хой (without oyster sauce) — не добавлять устричного соуса.
  • Май сай капи (without shrimp paste) — не добавлять креветочную пасту.
  • Май сай кунг хенг (without dried shrimp) — не добавлять сушеные креветки.
  • Май сай нам пла (without fish sauce) — не добавлять рыбного соуса.

I think I already scared you a lot with the difficulty of ordering vegetarian dishes in restaurants, no one said it would be easy. Let’s get straight to the titles.

Vegetarian snacks

  • Mi krob (หมี่กรอบ) are crispy rice noodles.
  • Тау-ху сатэ (Tofu satay) — шашлычки из тофу с арахисовым соусом.
  • Tau-hu thot (เต้าหู้ทอด) – fried tofu served with cilantro and peanut sauce.
  • По пиа пак (Jay Spring Rolls) — жареные весенние рулетики с овощами.
  • Phak thot (ผักทอด) – vegetables fried in batter.
  • Тхот ман кхау-пот (Corn Potato Chips) — кукурузные оладьи.
  • Man thot (มันทอด) – fried potatoes.
  • Khanom kui chai (ขนมกุ่ยช่าย) is dumplings made from rice flour and Chinese onion shoots with soy sauce.

Vegetarian salads

  • Yam tenkwa (ยำแตงกวา) is a spicy salad with cucumber, tomato and onion in sauce.
  • Som tam (ส้มตำ) is a spicy green papaya salad.
  • Yam yai (ยำใหญ่) is a fresh vegetable salad.
  • Yam mamuang (ยำมะม่วง) is green mango salad.
  • Ям хуа пли (Yum of cabbage) — салат из банановых цветов.
  • Ям пхоламай (Papaya salad with fruit) — фруктовый салат.
  • Laap khet (ลาบเห็ด) is a spicy mushroom and spice salad.
  • Лап тау-ху (Lab Tofu) — острый салат из тофу.
  • Yam wunsen kap khet (ย้าวุ้นเส้นกับเห็ด) is a spicy glass noodle and mushroom salad.
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Soups for Vegetarians

  • Soup nau mai (ซุปหน่อไม้) is a soup made from chopped bamboo shoots with Thai herbs and spicy lime sauce.
  • Кэнг лианг тье (Gang Liang Je) — острый овощной суп.
  • Том кха хет (Mushroom Galangal Soup) — кокосовый суп с грибами.
  • Том ям хет (Tom Yum Mushroom) — том ям с грибами.
  • Кхао том хет (mushroom porridge) — рисовый суп с грибами.
  • Keng tut sarai (แกงจืดสาหร่าย) is a clear soup with seaweed, tofu, mushrooms and green onions.
  • Khao soi (ข้าวซอย) – boiled egg or rice noodles in spicy and sour soup with vegetables.
  • Суп фак тхонг (pumpkin soup) — тыквенный суп.

Rice without animal products

  • Тьок (Joke) — рисовая каша.
  • Кхау пат кхай (egg fried rice) — рис, жаренный с яйцом.
  • Khao suai (ข้าวสวย) is steamed jasmine rice.
  • Кхау ниеу (glutinous rice) — традиционный клейкий рис.
  • Кхау пхат саппарот (Pineapple Fried Rice) — жареный рис с ананасом.
  • Кхау пат крапхау (Basil Fried Rice) — жареный рис с базиликом.
  • Khao Mau (ข้าวเม่า) is boiled rice wrapped in banana leaves.

Noodles without animal products

  • Phat thai tie (ผัดไทยเจ) – fried rice noodles.
  • Rat na (ราดหน้า) – fried wide noodles with broccoli.
  • Phat si wu (ผัดซีอิ๊ว) – fried wide noodles with soy sauce.
  • Phat khee maw (ผัดขี้เมา) – fried noodles with basil leaves.
  • Кханом тьин нам прик (Khanom Jeen with Chili Paste) — вареная рисовая лапша с карри.

Hot meals without meat

  • pat пхак бунг фай дэнг (Stir-fried morning glory) — жареные листья и стебли ипомеи.
  • pat тау-ху приеу ван (Sweet and Sour Tofu) — жареный тофу в кисло-сладком соусе.
  • Pat phak ruam mit (ผัดผักรวมมิตร) – fried vegetables: baby corn, carrots, pea pods and mushrooms.
  • Пат крапхау тау-ху (Stir-Fried Basil with Tofu) — тофу, жареный с базиликом и чили.
  • Приеу-ван пак (Sweet and Sour Vegetables) — овощи, жаренные в кисло-сладком соусе.
  • Phat himmapan tie (ผัดหิมพานต์เจ) – vegetables fried with cashew nuts and soy sauce.
  • Калам-пли том хет-хом (Boiled cabbage and shiitake mushrooms) — капуста и грибы шинтаке, приготовленные на пару.
  • Хет-хом прунг рот (seasoned shiitake mushrooms) — жареные грибы шинтаке.
  • Пат крапхау тау-ху сай хет (Stir-Fried Basil with Tofu and Mushrooms) — жареный тофу с грибами, базиликом и чили.
  • Массаман карри тау-ху (Tofu Massaman Curry) — тофу и картофель в карри массаман.
  • Pat makhya-yau (ผัดมะเขือยาว) – eggplant fried with basil and black pepper.
  • Панэнг тау-ху (Vegetable and Tofu Panang) — карри панэнг с тофу.
  • Прик кэнг мангсавират (vegetarian curry paste) — красный карри.
  • Pat no mai (ผัดหน่อไม้) – bamboo shoots fried with vegetables and herbs.
  • Фак тхонг пат кхай (Fried Pumpkin with Eggs) — тыква, жаренная с яйцом.
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  • Клуай тхот (Bananas) — жареные бананы.
  • Нам тау-ху (soy sauce) — соевое молоко.
  • Соевый соус (soy sauce) — нам си иу.

Of course, add the words “mangsavirat” or “je” after the name of each dish. Check with the waiter if he understood exactly that you do not need to add fish and oyster sauce, with what kind of chili paste you will prepare the dish. Better yet, look for restaurants with a yellow Jae flag. And one more important note. Thais use monosodium glutamate (MSG) as an additional spice, like salt or sugar. Mostly in inexpensive cafes and macaques. The myth about the dangers of glutamate has long been dispelled, in Asia it has always been used and continues to be used. If you are allergic to glutamate, then you should remember or write down the following phrases. Monosodium glutamate in Thai sounds like “phong chu rot”, so that you do not add it to your dishes, you need to say “mai sai phong chu rot”.

Happy gastronomic travels!

Vegetarian Dishes in Thailand
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