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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats


Updated: Apr 1, 2023

We landed in Bangkok with a lot of excitement - we had spent some time in Thailand before, focusing on the north of the country (check out our Top Places to Eat Vegan in Chiang Mai blog if you're heading over that way!) and absolutely loved it. Some of our favourite dishes from our travels were actually from northern Thailand: mango sticky rice or khao soi, anyone? So our mouths were watering by the time we stepped off the plane and headed into the city - we were so excited to see what we would find. Top of our list though was one very special dish, widely associated with Thailand all around the world. We were determined to get our hands on a big, steaming plate of plant-based Pad Thai! Join us as we explain where we located this dish and how good it really was - then watch our video towards the bottom of the page to see our reactions and check out the dish for yourself!

So tell us, what exactly is Pad Thai?

One of the brilliant things about this dish is that you can find it EVERYWHERE (unless you're looking for a vegan version of course - these are a bit more difficult to spot!) Pad Thai is a very popular street food in Thailand, so as you're walking the city streets you'll see countless restaurants, food markets and street carts selling the dish. It's always made fresh, so as you stroll past you'll hear the sizzle of the wok frying and smell the garlic and spices giving the dish its authentic flavour. But how did Pad Thai become such a popular dish among both locals and tourists here, before spreading across the world? And more importantly, what is it?

Pad Thai (also known as phat thai and phad thai) is, at its most basic level, a stir fried noodle dish. It became popular in the mid twentieth century in Thailand; some say that the Thai government encouraged its citizens to eat noodles during the second World War due to rice shortages, and this is where Pad Thai was born. Consisting of rice noodles, and often some tasty vegetables like bean sprouts, the traditional Pad Thai is not vegan - or even vegetarian. The base of this dish generally contains shrimp paste and fish sauce, along with garlic, shallots, chilli, palm sugar and tamarind juice. The classic lime and peanuts are usually presented on the side. Though tofu is generally served in the dish, it is also fried together with egg and then a variety of meats are usually added too. If you are vegetarian, generally you can ask stallholders to use soy sauce instead of the shrimp paste and fish sauce (many people, especially in tourist areas, will speak English - I use the V-Cards app to explain my dietary choices in other languages if not), and you could ask for the egg to be omitted too.

Though this should ensure that you get the vegetarian or vegan Pad Thai that you require, the dish may be more bland, since the stallholder's recipe was not designed with these modifications in mind. So we set out to find a Pad Thai that was vegan by design, to get a real taste of Thai cuisine with a plant-based twist.

Where did we try vegan Pad Thai in Bangkok?

We were looking for authentic flavours with the assurance that our Pad Thai would be entirely plant based, so we headed down to Krua Boon, an entirely vegetarian and vegan Thai restaurant in the heart of Bangkok. The restaurant was pretty quiet when we arrived, as we chose to eat very early on this day, but it started filling up towards the end of our meal. This was really great for us, as the service we received was super speedy, with very attentive staff. Krua Boon offer a comprehensive menu of vegetarian and vegan Thai food, including noodle dishes, soups, and curries - and we loved that their menu included quotes from people like Albert Einstein! It's important to note that you need to specify when you order if you'd like the dish to be vegan!

So come on - tell us all about the Pad Thai! How did it taste?

A plate of vegan pad thai
Krua Boon's delicious vegan pad thai

We had been eagerly anticipating this Pad Thai and we were delighted and relieved that it did not disappoint! I loved the flat rice noodles, along with the delicious vegetables that added extra texture and flavour to the dish. As is traditional, crushed peanuts and a wedge of lime were served on the side. The helping of peanuts was really generous! This is great because you can choose how much lime you squeeze, and how many peanuts you sprinkle over your meal - I love both so I made sure to add all that crunchy peanutty and sweet limey goodness to my Pad Thai! My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it!

The dish itself was really flavoursome - all the flavours I had expected from Pad Thai were there, the slight sweetness, a hint of spice, along with the rich and savoury soy and garlic tastes. Using tofu to replace the eggs worked really well, ensuring that that traditional texture was there without the animal products. It felt like it was lacking something a little, and I think that using some mock meat (maybe soy-based mock chicken would work well) would have made this dish more filling, but still very much enjoyed it as it was - and this meant that there was room for dessert too!

How much did this plant-based Pad Thai cost - and was it worth it?

Two vegan summer rolls with a slice of vegan sausage visible, with a dish of peanut dipping sauce in the background
Lime and peanuts ready to be squeezed and sprinkled!

We paid ฿69 per portion of Pad Thai at Krua Boon: this is approximately £1.63, €1.86 or $2.00. We thought this was a good price for a vegan Pad Thai that was designed that way, rather than having ingredients simply removed as you might at a street vendor. The flavours were great, the service was brilliant too - a solid choice for vegetarians and vegans visiting Bangkok!

Krua Boon is located at 839 Si Lom, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand. The restaurant is open every day from 11am to 10pm. They also offer takeaway and delivery, if you fancy an evening in your hotel room, or want your food even more conventionality!

Have you tried vegan Pad Thai in Thailand? Or elsewhere in the world! Where did you go and what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.


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The centre of Vienna with tall, historic buildings all around
Us visiting the long, gold buddha!

Where should I stay?

Bangkok is a massive city with loads of accommodation options to suit all budgets, so it can be pretty hard to choose!

For a friendly, clean, and minimalist hostel not too far from the action, The Companion Hostel is a solid choice offering both private and dorm rooms, depending on your preference.

If you'd rather a hotel, The Mulberry is located on Khaosan Road, the famous heart of the backpacking world. Their rooms have modern decoration with traditional Thai touches; it also has an outdoor pool!

Tours & Experiences

One of the best things we did in Bangkok was our trip to the Royal Grand Palace and Temples: the architecture is incredible and the gold buddha is a once in a lifetime thing to see! I couldn't believe quite how long he is, and the intricate detail you can see all the way around. All these are included in this popular tour, as well as an air-conditioned minivan and local guide - really convenient if you don't have much time in Bangkok, or don't want to walk between sights in the heat.

If this isn't for you, or you'd prefer to see more of the Bangkok, why not check out some of the top rated Viator trips below!

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