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The Vegan Guide to Koh Samui

21 Dec 2020

A lot of vegans will be wondering if during their holidays they will be able to get a decent meal on Koh Samui. Fortunately, in Thai cuisine, not every dish has seafood or meat and finding sufficient vegan food is not as difficult as you would imagine. You'll be pleased to learn that Koh Samui has several vegan restaurants that appeal to both luxury and budget travellers and researching in advance will help you plan where to stay so that these restaurants are still convenient to you. Many hotels and resorts will also serve on-site vegan meals. 

Koh Samui
Koh Samui

Vegan Snacks

Do not be scared to explore the Koh Samui markets. Tropical fruits and vegetables are popular and widely available here.

Fruits such as bananas, papayas, pineapples, mangoes and even more tropical fruits such as jackfruit and rambutan can be found. Other organic items, including tomatoes and cucumbers, are readily available at very inexpensive rates in the vegetable sections. 

Fresh produce
Fresh produce

Vegan Lifestyle on Koh Samui

In Thai restaurants, it is usually possible to get vegan options if you ask. There is one little thing, however, and that is what vegetables are cooked with. For example, they like using chicken broth and fish sauce in certain dishes, so if you want to avoid them, you only have to make sure you speak up. You can explicitly state that you don't eat fish sauce if you're a woman by saying "chan mai ghin nam pla" or "pom mai ghin nam pla" if you're a male; and/or if you're a woman, you don't eat chicken broth by saying "chan mai ghin nam soop gai" or "pom mai ghin nam soop gai." 
Eggs are often included but you can ask for no eggs by saying "chan/pom mai ghin kai". 
Koh Samui is becoming very vegan friendly, for the most part. It is common for local Thais to offer vegan options without MSG to satisfy the health-conscious crowd that flocks here to the Gulf of Thailand. 
Another aspect that should be remembered is that often tofu is not vegan. Occasionally, egg tofu is used. Remember the shape and feel that the differentiation. When it's strong and square, it's soy. If the circular slices are dense and the consistency is soft, silky, it's an egg. 
Know that if you order street food, the pan has been used to cook meat or eggs and they do not clean it between each cooked dish. That implies that even if you order a vegan meal, it is cooked in a pan that was just used to cook meat! Before throwing the vegetables onto the 'season' plate, street food vendors also use a massive slab of pork fat so bear this in mind.

Koh Samui Lifestyle
Koh Samui Lifestyle

Vegan Restaurants

 

The Art Club

The Art Club offers Thai & Western fusion, which is 100% plant-based and vegan-friendly. To build positive vibes and healthy food is their goal. Located very close to Nathon Hospital. In May 2018, the Art Club began its organic farm and is continuing to expand and use the vegetables in the restaurant. 

The Art Club Koh Samui
The Art Club Koh Samui

Pure Vegan Heaven

This vegan restaurant launched in 2018 as one of a handful of outlets in Thailand. Serves a wide selection of meals plus snacks, coffee, and drinks. Food examples include lettuce rolls of rice paper, banana pancakes, nachos, quesadilla, burrito, mushroom larb, taco, and wedges of potato. You may even build-your-own salad. Located in Lamai.

Pure Vegan Heaven Koh Samui
Pure Vegan Heaven Koh Samui

Funky Community Space

Funky Vege Co.Ltd and Chutima Chutrakulmgan have made this partnership project on Samui selling vegan products, desserts and juices plus full delicious meals. Located in the southwest part of the island.

Funky Community Space Koh Samui
Funky Community Space Koh Samui

Halapua

As part of Kapuhala Resort, this is a stylish restaurant that will lead you on a gastronomic trip that promises the best of vegan and plant-based cuisine. With the finest quality locally produced products and seasonal homegrown vegetables, spices and microgreens.

Halapua Koh Samui
Halapua Koh Samui

Vegan Khunnay

Located in Bophut this is a Thai vegan eatery with yummy food and an all you can eat buffet meaning you’ll always leave satisfied.

Vegan Khunnay Koh Samui
Vegan Khunnay Koh Samui

Lamai Veggie

Restaurant on Had Lamai 4, which is known to be an unidentified lane, just north of the gas station and the morning market (same side of the street). It has a regularly evolving menu that normally involves Thai dishes and choices for mock meat.

Lamai Veggie
Lamai Veggie

Summary

Koh Samui is now very accessible for vegans and you can join Facebook groups to find a great vegan community that share information. The island has many fresh markets and supermarkets as well as health food shops so that you can buy vegan ingredients to cook with also.