How to Survive Being a Vegetarian in Thailand
People in Thailand eat a lot of meat, which includes both red and white meat as well as a huge variety of insects. Being a vegetarian in Thailand can pose many challenges, especially if you are a foreigner with no idea of where to eat. However, there are things that you can do in order to make your life as a vegetarian much easier.
Learn the language basics
One of the best ways to survive in Thailand as a vegetarian is to learn the language basics. By learning them, you will be able to order vegetarian or vegan dishes that are in line with your lifestyle.
The term “Jeh” or “Jey” for example, refers to vegetarian foods that exclude all animal products. It should feature in your basics if you do not want to take chances with food that may contain ingredients such as fish sauce.
The term “mangsawirat” on the other hand, refers to foods that contain no meat but may have eggs or dairy ingredients in them.
You can use online sites to find basic dining phrases that you can use to order vegetarian foods when you are in Thailand. Print them and refer to them until you can remember them off head. They will come in handy if you want to survive as a vegetarian in the country.
Know where to go
Whether you want to eat out or cook in your own home in Thailand, you need to know where to go for either vegetarian dishes or ingredients for cooking from scratch. This will enable you to have an easier time either ordering from the menu or simply picking out what you need for cooking and then paying for it, even with language barriers.
It will be hard for you to order street food that is vegetarian friendly. You can however ask the vendors to use soy sauce and use the vegetarian phrasing to request them to exclude animal products.
You can also visit vegetarian restaurants and food stores like HappyCow and Thaican Veggie World to find foods that are more suited to your kind of diet. Some of them will contain the word Jey within their names, which will be an indicator that their menus are vegetarians. All you have to do is pick what you want. The Vegetarian Centre of Thailand is another place you can visit for more information.
It is also important that you learn about where the fresh food markets are located while you are in Thailand. Find one near where you will be living and learn to navigate through to where you can get vegetarian ingredients like vegetables and fruits.
Befriend a local
Be friendly with the Thai locals. When you befriend a local, you will have an easier time getting a guide who can teach you how to survive as a vegetarian in Thailand. They will show you the best places to go and when. You will also learn the language faster, which will make finding the foods you want much easier for you.
It is possible for you to survive being a vegetarian in Thailand, if you are willing to learn the language, and be friendly to the locals. It also helps if you like to explore, so that you can find appropriate vendors that have the vegetarian foods you prefer.