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While many traditional Thai dishes incorporate some bit of meat, it’s usually simple to prepare them without, add in tofu for a hit of protein or substitute meaty for hearty mushrooms and aubergine. Throughout the country, local vegan Thai restaurants are identified with a red and yellow “เจ” sign. (เจ (jay) means vegan in Thai while มังสวิรัติ (mung-sa-wee-rut) means “vegetarian”.) At these simple eateries, all dishes are made without any eggs, fish sauce or oyster sauce but often include substitute meat products made from mushrooms, soy, tempeh or textured vegetable protein.

With eating plant-based meals and veganism becoming more in vogue, plenty of mainstream restaurants (especially within holiday hotspots such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Samui) also offer a range of international and Thai vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes packed with nutritious ingredients.

Ever tried beetroot tartar or vegetable larb? What about northern Thailand’s iconic khao soi but without the customary stewed chicken leg? Even if you’re a carnivore, these dishes from some of the country’s top hotel dining venues will still delight with their myriad flavours, eye-catching colours and careful presentations.

To bring out the farm fresh flavours even more, each dish listed below highlights a pairing recommendation of our favourite fruit-based libation selected from the respective restaurant’s wine list.  


Often the mark of exquisite preparation is best seen in the simplest of dishes that still shine through perfectly balanced and delicate flavours. A twist on its better known big sister the Caprese salad, a Bocconcini salad substitutes slabs of sliced mozzarella for smaller bite-sized spheres of the fresh cheese. Executive Chef and Culinary Director Martin Bower at Renaissance Pattaya’s Pebbles Bar & Grill has introduced pesto herbed bread crumbs, finely sliced radish and watercress to the already magical combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. The result is a refreshing salad bursting with flavour that’s also a feast for the eyes. Brilliant cherry red and golden tomatoes plus gorgeous plating with purple flowers elevate this from a simple salad to something gorgeously divine.

Wine companion: When mozzarella is on the menu, I am on the lookout for Pinot Grigio. With bocconcini, the same strategy applies. There is a 2017 Pinot Grigio, Collezione Sensi on the list, the best year for this label, the acidity tangos nicely with the soft, slightly sweet cheese.

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