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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.  


Most popular in Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region, larb is a dish made of cooked meat, combined with lime juice, fish sauce, roasted ground rice and fresh herbs. Isaan cuisine has become widely popular across Thailand, and flavour-packed larb is undoubtedly the cuisine’s finest ambassador. Chef Bee of The Kitchen Table has reinvented this dish as a healthy, vegetarian plate featuring pomegranate, sweet corn, riceberry, pearl barley, shallots and green onions. Even without a protein, the zest of this veggie larb absolutely sings, though one almost can’t bear to alter the meticulous presentation of this once humble dish.

Wine companionBursting with flavour, larb cries out for a crisp and fruity dry white. Conventional wisdom usually associates Rieslings with spicy Thai food and I’ve chosen the Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 2014. Intensively perfumed and highly expressive, with fine acidity providing a clean yet lively finish.

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