Khon Kaen is a nice student city in the North East of Thailand. It is surrounded by 3 lakes so that you can enjoy both the comfort of a city and the peace of a natural environment. The citizens are health conscious though the number of vegan restaurants is a little limited in relation to the number of inhabitants. There are numerous beautiful temples all over the city; some of them are really breathtakingly beautiful.
It is always good to learn a few words of Thai while in Thailand, especially if you are vegan
I eat vegan = Chan/Phom kin jee
Pronunciation: the i in kin is pronounced as the i in pitbull. The e in jee is pronounced as the e in elephant and the reason why is double is because the sound is rather long. If you are a woman use Chan, if you are a man use Phom; they both mean I.
No spicy = mai pet
The a in mai is pronounced as the a in marble in standard British English :-). The i is pronounced as I’ve mentioned above. The word pet sounds a lot like when you are talking about your cat or dog.
I have managed to find 4 vegan restaurants in Khon Kaen. The first and most famous one, may be the easiest to find but the others are a bit trickier to discover.
Rob Muang Road (corner with Ammart Road)
This self service restaurant is very big. You need to buy their own printed coupons at the cashier and then use them to pay for your food (for the restaurant only). They have noodle soup, mushroom soup (delicious but with a lot of black pepper), most Thai traditional dishes with coconut milk and very spicy, a big selection of freshly cooked veggies – by the way, all their vegetables are organic -. Some of their specialties include sushi (Thai style), Vietnamese and Chinese spring rolls and for the joy of raw vegetarian, there is a corner dedicated entirely to raw vegetable juice. Their mock fish is splendid. Hurry up though, most of the food is finished at 1:30 pm. They also have a minimarket with all sorts of vegan products (MAY CONTAIN HONEY) as well as other natural products for personal care and the care of your home. They are open every day.
Cheetakon Road 29/6
I love this little restaurant. It’s very small and you have to pay close attention to spot it. Their specialty is chicken rice (of course, vegan). Even if you are not a fan of mock meat, you have to try their chicken rice anyway, because it’s absolutely delicious; crispy outside and soft and creamy inside. Ms Palek makes sausages, fish and other patties which are very tasty. They also make fantastic veggie dishes such as pumpkin, morning glory, bamboo, cauliflower, bitter gourd and other dishes. Despite being a small restaurant, Ms Palek, the chef and owner, changes her menu every day and you can find food even in the late afternoon. The quality of the food is very high and the taste absolutely delicious! The entire family (Palek, Beng and Sunnit) is very friendly and they love trying to speak English with foreigners. Open every day.
Lao Di Fang Restaurant
Anamai Road 108/85
This restaurant has nice wooden tables outside. Their food is good and nutritious, they have a variety of everything. Noodles, rice, vgetables, mock meat and fish and some special items such as “arancini” – well I don’t know their name in Thai -. Little rice balls with fresh tomato sauce lightly fried. It is very inexpensive and the owners are really friendly and humble. Closed on Sunday.
The Veggie Restaurant
Soi Sri Chant 11/5 (on Srichan Road)
This restaurant is about 100 metres away from Lao Di Fang. It has air conditioning and a nice and modern dining area. They have a little selection of buffet food, however their menu a la carte is simply great. You can choose between Thai and Western dishes. The quality is very good and their menu a la carte has an English translation.