A vegan in Koh Lanta – what and where to eat??
Lanta has a majority of Muslim population, the island is still very unexplored and not taken by the massive tourist industry which destroyed the real Thailand in other parts of the country. During low season, the very few tourists that visit the island, go away, so there’s only us, the travelers, some nomadic folks, long time visitors and most of all, the crowd that likes to experience the real thing.
Due to it’s Muslim culture, most of the food is based on meat, fish and eggs. EVERYTHING has either meat or fish in it, so we have to be very patient when trying to explain the concept of eating absolutely no animal product. Vegetarianism and veganism are not a trend here and most people can’t grasp the idea.
In most parts of the island, we can find chicken roaming around free with their chicks, so chicken is a big favorite in Lanta.
Although Lanta is a tropical island, with a great climate all year, it doesn’t produce any vegetables, which means, everything has to be imported from mainland, raising the prices, lowering the freshness, quality and variety of the veggies.
|The Thursday market|
The local market works on rotation, Mondays we can find it at Long Beach, Thursdays it will be at the Relaxing Bay, and for the other days… well, you’ll have to check it out! So, if you have a scooter, then your fine, if not, you have only one day a week where you can buy fruit and veggies near by. This was a problem for me.
The markets are very small, the fruits and vegetables here are expensive compared to the mainland and even my home country – Portugal! Another problem is the fact that most of the produce has no price tag in it, which means that whoever is selling it, might very well do a tourist price for you.
VEGAN FOOD IN KOH LANTA – THAILAND
Vegetarian restaurants are very limited here. You can find one which is affiliated to a yoga school, between Relaxing Bay and Long Beach, but it’s not that cheap. There’s another beautiful restaurant in Saladam, capital of Koh Lanta, which has vegan and vegetarian options, but it’s very expensive (for Thai standards, still cheap for western standards) and you need either have a bike or a scooter to get there.
I have to admit, this was the first time I really felt hungry on a daily basis. When I had the chance I’d buy a pack of tofu for 10thb and cook it with my noodle soup, since Neng kindly allowed me to use the clayzy house kitchen for that as an exception since I was always hungry.
I think that for the first time ever I start to show some signs of protein deficiency, since all I eat is basically fried rice and that’s it! I’ve lost a bit of muscle since I’m here.
The water is another problem, in Thailand is dificult to find mineral water, most of the bottles are actually distilled water, which lacks all nutrients. After a few months we feel tired and dehydrated. In Lanta I bought a few bags of electrolytes, which are super cheap 6thb and you can find them at any 7eleven.
Here are some ideas of where to eat:
Long beach near the Muay Thai Stadium
This was the place where I went for lunches and dinners on a daily basis for the first week of my staying at the Clayzy House. Mostly you can have friend rice with veggies for 50thb or friend noodles with veggies for the same price. If you explain NO EGG, NO MEAT, NO FISH they will understand, but it can be tricky with the fish sauce.
THE CLAYZY HOUSE
The clayzy house offers meals during high season. check out their menu and ask them to cook it vegan. The prices are very reasonable and you don’t have to go far, if you’re staying in there.
|The clayzy house|
Phrae Ae beach (long beach) near the Muay Thai stadium
The very best option I found. Great portions, amazing taste, very friendly service and seems to be the favorite place to eat around Long Beach. After I found this little spot I became a loyal costumer and everyone knew already that my food should be vegan only. Fried rice with veggies or fried noodles with veggies cost 50thb.
|My favorite spot to eat|
|Fried rice with veggies|
|Fried noodles with veggies|
665 Moo 2
KUNDA ANTI-POP CAFÉ & VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
Klhong Khong Road
The only 100% vegetarian stop in the whole island. They serve Brownies, chai, coffee and vegan cakes.
They use only local and fresh ingredients. Western ingredients are expensive and hard to find in Koh Lanta, so this place offers the best option for those goodies!
There are also a few bakeries, pizzerias and other western style restaurants around.
Yes, Koh Lanta can be a nightmare for food is you are on a very low budget and like to eat something more than friend rice or noodles, but it’s a magical place. It’s still very pure, very unspoiled, it has an amazing energy and for the first time I felt I was far from the Western Culture.
I stayed in Koh Lanta for over a month. I couldn’t leave, I felt really happy and alive there, everyone I met turned out to be amazing, and I found everything I was searching for in that little tiny Island.
If you have the opportunity, get a scooter and drive to the south of the Island. The southern part is very isolated, totally untouched by tourism and you can have a tropical beach just for yourself. The waters turn very blue and turquoise the further you go, it’s really beautiful out there.
MORE ABOUT VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD IN THAILAND? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES: