Over the years, I have traveled with some folks who are vegetarians. Usually in a group, we would have at least one or two person who are vegetarians. In the case of the Chinese community, some may observe a vegetarian diet on each full moon and new moon.
Therefore, if you are a vegetarian, would it be easy to find food in Thailand?
The short answer would be it is not easy for you to find PURE inexpensive vegetarian meals in Thailand. Unless you go to a specialized restaurant which is not covered in the scope of this article.
Usually what my vegetarian friends would do is that they would order dishes and make a special request not to have fish or meat put into it. Some of them still take eggs and/or milk and would order accordingly.
Once, we have traveled with a group of Sri Lankas who a number of them are long time vegetarians. When we are eating out, we would order vegetarian dishes for them.
However, in a normal restaurant, they would usually not have a separate work to cater for just vegetarian food. Hence one would need to be prepare that sometimes food addictive/flavouring and the wok used to cook would contain non-vegetarian elements.
The same it is for food courts in Tesco Lotus or Big C where I do not recall ever seeing any booth that served vegetarian dish. There was one in Central Plaza’s food court in Bangkok but the store later closed down (could be due to poor business). But you can often get some nice salads dishes or food that does not contain meat.
Usually I will help my vegetarian friend to order fried noodles or fried rice but let the person know that my friend does not take meat. Because I am not that proficient in Thai, usually I would gesture at my friend’s direction while speaking to the cook that my friend is “คนกินเจ” (a person who eats vegetarian food) and they would understand.
Another usual place is 7 Eleven as they are available everywhere where you can find bread, cakes and snacks. Occasionally there is a microwave vegetarian dish like fried rice on some outlets. Below is the vegetarian jumbo pao which I am seeing more and more often at 7 Eleven stores:
As for fresh fruits, they are abundant everywhere all over Thailand.