Thai Vegetarian Food Dishes
Making Your Own Thai Food Dishes ...
The Vegetarian Way
In this brief article we will talk about
Thai vegetarian food from two perspectives, the first relates to
finding food outlet where you could get Thai vegetarian food dishes.
The second perspective is for those who love to cook at home and
would like to make some delicious Thai food dishes that are
vegetarian. The information provided here will be very useful to all
food lovers who relish vegetarian food so, sit back and read this
very interesting report.
Let us first talk about eating
Thai vegetarian food in a restaurant or other food outlet.
The word for vegetarian in Thai is 'chey'. The 'ch' pronounced like
the 'ch' in the English word 'chute', the 'ey' is pronounced like
the 'ay' in the English word 'hay'. We are for the moment presuming
that you are in the country (Thailand) and looking for Thai
vegetarian food. If you are very particular about eating vegetarian
food, you need to make sure that the restraunt, hotel or food stall
understands that you need authentic vegetarian food. The Thais have
another word 'monk-sa-vee-raat' which is similar but not identical
to vegetarian. When you say vegetarian as in the Thai word 'chey' -
it means that you cannot have fish sauce, dairy milk and no type of
meat or seafood. This is what you could call absolutely vegetarian
Thai food. On the other hand when the Thais talk about
'monk-sa-vee-raat' Thai food, it means that fish sauce, eggs,
dairy milk and probably even fish is okay. If you are a strict
vegetarian, stick to the word 'chey' and you should be safe.
Still on the topic of looking for Thai
vegetarian food in Thailand - lets talk about where you
might be eating the food. A road side stall is unlikely to
offer pure vegetarian Thai food. With a low demand for such Thai
food, they do not find it convenient to use separate cooking
utensils, cooking oil and other ingredients to satisfy the desire
for pure Thai vegetarian food. If you plan to eat vegetarian food in
a Thai restaurant, the first thing that you should do is to try and
get hold of the menu. Look for a separate section on Vegetarian
Food, if you do find this you are very safe. Select Thai food dishes
from the vegetarian menu section and it is unlikely that you will
have any problem. Now, if you do not find a section for Thai
vegetarian food in the menu, you will need to clearly communicate
what you need with the staff or the manager. The Thais are normally
very helpful with such requests and will try to get someone to
understand what you are talking about. The important thing is
whether they will actually make Thai vegetarian food for you. If
they do not, all you can do is to smile politely and keep looking
for other places. The more interesting part is when they are willing
to make some 'special' Thai vegetarian food dishes for you. Be
prepared for questions like, 'is fish sauce okay?', 'can we use fish
in the food?', 'can you eat shrimp paste?' etc.
Eating Thai vegetarian food in a
restaurant or hotel outside Thailand is more
straightforward. Most Thai food outlets in foreign countries are
known to 'tune' the flavor of the Thai food to suit local tastes. It
is also more likely that such Thai food outlets will clearly
understand what you mean by Thai vegetarian food. So basically you
will get the right food if, they agree to make it for you. An
interesting thing about Thai food in foreign countries is that, the
menu is likely to have some innovate 'fusion' type of Thai food
dishes that you could try. We have tasted Thai spring rolls in India
that had the interesting flavor of Indian spices and 'masalas'. A
fact is that, getting Thai vegetarian food in India would be far
easier than, getting the same type of food in Thailand. This is
because of the relatively high demand for vegetarian food in some
countries, this includes India.
Some suggestions and notes about
Thai vegetarian food dishes. You would be very lucky
if the Thai restaurant you visit, is willing to make any food
dish from their menu with a vegetarian format. In this case you do
not need to worry about a seperate Thai vegetarian food section
in the menu, just pick any of the regular dishes and request for it
to be made as a vegetarian dish. You might have come across
'vegetarian' meat in Thailand, this is actually a solid mass made
from soya extract. It does externally resemble meat but is infact
totally vegetarian. This is not something that is seen all the year
round but, the Chinese vegetarian festival (October-November) is
when you will see plenty of this meat 'substitute' being sold and
used in cooking.
If you plan to cook your own Thai
vegetarian food, it is best to work with an open mind -
experiment and you will get some amazing results. It is not
difficult to find some Thai vegetarian food recipes on the net or in
a Thai food cook book but, add some excitement to your cooking. Once
you have tried a few Thai vegetarian food dishes, you can actually
work out a pattern for how non-vegetarian ingredients are replaced
with vegetarian ingredients. Once you get an idea of how this is
done and what the 'substitute' vegetarian counterparts are - work on
making any popular Thai food dish in a vegetarian style. We have
provided some images of very popular Thai food dishes that
have been adapted to vegetarian style. Let these fire your
imagination as you seek excitement and fun for your Thai food
Some Popular Thai Food Dishes, Cooked
In Vegetarian Style
|The very popular Thai Tom Khaa soup adapted
to vegetarian style. Some restaurants in Thailand can
customize any Thai food dish on their menu to be made as a
vegetarian dish. The above Thai soup, is very famous and the
white liquid in the dish is coconut milk. The interesting
thing about this popular Thai food dish is that, it is served
on the table with a burning lamp underneath. Almost the entire
cooking process happens right on your table, with the lamp
below providing the required heat.
|Vegetarian Som Tom, another very popular Thai
food dish. Som Tum is largely made from raw ingredients,
the groundnuts are ofcourse roasted. Som Tum can be very
spicey so you need to moderate the chillies according to your
preference. The ingredients seen above, string beans, grated
raw papaya, roasted groundnuts and sliced tomatoes are common
the vegetarian and non-vegetarian version of som tum.
This Thai food dish is often served with a piece of
cabbage (seen in image), a few pieces of string beans and some
crushed ice. These are served on a separate plate, though
string beans form an ingredient in the main dish too.
Interestingly we have found that, most Thai restaurants do not
include the crushed ice when you order vegetarian som tam
- probably because it has lot less fire than the
non-vegetarian som tum. We have the
recipe for the veg Thai som tam salad
|A very colorful and pretty Thai food dish,
Phad Hed Kapow. You can see a variety of mushrooms in this
Thai food dish - the mushrooms are prominent even in the
non-vegetarian version of this popular Thai food dish. A
slight variation in the ingredients gives you a delicious Thai
vegetarian dish, this is what you see in the above image.
Among the Thai restaurants that we have visited, not many
offer vegetarian Phad Hed Kapow. If you would like to try your
hand and cooking your own Thai vegetarian food - this is one
exciting dish that you should try. If you order this Thai dish
in a restaurant and cannot stomach too much of spice and fire,
request for the dish to be moderated.
Important: If you plan on eating
vegetarian Thai food for religious reasons, we would suggest that
you visit a restaurant that clearly understands your language.
Communication problems can lead to unpleasant surprises so, it is
best not to take any chances. We have heard some interesting
arguments in Pizza outlets, the debate is whether the bread used to
make a Veggie or Vegetarian Pizza has egg as an ingredient. Most
soups have chicken as an ingredient, so you need to double check on
that. Some of the business districts in Bangkok do have a few Thai
restaurants that serve only vegetarian food but, the menu is a bit
limited in most of them.
The Above Information Is Provided
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