As a cuisine that is naturally packed full of fresh vegetables and herbs, meat-free proteins like tofu and nuts, and plant-based milks like coconut milk – Thai food lends itself very well to the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
At Simply Asia, we understand that the world is witnessing a food revolution, as more people choose to eat less meat or follow a fully vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, the plant-based eating philosophy has become so popular that The Economist hailed 2019 as the “year veganism goes mainstream”.
This shift is partially due to the growing awareness of the impact that meat- and dairy-related farming practices have on the planet, as well as the health benefits associated with eating less processed food and more fresh fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in a wide variety of fresh produce is likely to contain less cholesterol and saturated fats, and more nutrients and antioxidants, which can provide many benefits for both the body and mind.
This way of thinking is especially prevalent among the younger generations. Research shows that in America, as many as a quarter of people aged between 25 and 34 years say they are vegans or vegetarians. It is also a trend that’s making waves locally. In South Africa, studies reveal that an impressive 75% of South Africans who lead a healthy lifestyle are choosing to eat meat-free for at least one day per week.
Getting back to Thai food…
If you are one of these South Africans who follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, or someone who regularly enjoys meat-free Mondays, Simply Asia has a wide range of vegan and vegetarian dishes on our menu for you.
These recipes were not something we had to design from scratch. In Thailand, meat has not always been a necessary part of the traditional, everyday diet. Plenty of delicious, authentic Thai vegetarian dishes have been developed over the years, using the finest herbs and spices to create flavourful, meat-free dishes. Furthermore, tofu – a meat- and dairy-free protein derived from soybean curd – is widely available in Thailand and is one of the staple components of local cuisine, where this versatile plant-based protein is used in both main meals and desserts. With this in mind, the vegetarian and vegan options on the Simply Asia menu often include delicious, nutritious stir-fries and curries with Tofu as a meat alternative.
And, thanks to the fact that we maintain strong ties to Thailand, we are always staying up to date on new developments in cuisine that are happening back home; and we’re continually adding exciting new dishes to our menu, including new options for vegans and vegetarians.
What’s currently on our menu for vegans?
If you’re a vegan, we have marked all the dishes that are free from animal by-products with a ‘VG’ symbol on our menu.
Here are a few of the options we have on offer for vegans (for some, you can add tofu/veg as your choice of protein):
- Spinach Dumplings (dish 124): Crispy fried dumplings made with garlic chives and spinach, served with sour soya sauce with fresh chilli.
- Radish Cake (dish 126): Crispy deep-fried white radish cake served with sweet chilli sauce.
- Sweet Corn Cakes (dish 103): Chewy clusters of sweet corn, served with a sweet chilli sauce.
- Basic & Chilli Stir Fry (dish 303): Wokked in stir fry sauce with green beans, chilli, basil, peppers and garlic.
- Fried Rice Roasted Chilli With Ground Cashews (dish 319): Jasmine fried rice, onions, peppers, stir fried with roasted chilli paste, garlic and cashew nuts.
What’s currently on our menu for vegetarians?
If you’re a vegetarian, look out for the ‘V’ symbol on our menu. These dishes are free from meat, poultry and seafood; and for those that give you a choice of protein, you simply choose the tofu/veg option. Some of the dishes you could enjoy are:
- Custard Steam Bun (dish 123): Steamed bun filled with coconut milk custard.
- Green Curry (dish 301): Made the traditional Thai way.
- Traditional Pad Thai (dish 504): Rice noodles wokked with tofu, egg, onions and spring onions in a traditional Pad Thai sauce, topped with crushed peanuts and bean sprouts.
- Thai Fried Rice (dish 314): Jasmine fried rice with onions, tomatoes, spring onions, egg and a delicious stir-fry sauce. Should you prefer a vegan alternative, request for the egg to be omitted from the dish for a vegan option.
- Brinjals Stir-Fry (dish 408): Brinjal wokked in stir-fry sauce with green beans, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, basil and chilli, finished in a black bean sauce.
- Thai Spice Ramen Noodle (dish 545): Thai spice flavoured broth with tofu, fried garlic, bean sprouts, spring onion and ground peanuts. Topped with hard-boiled egg. Should you prefer a vegan alternative, request for the egg to be omitted from the dish for a vegan option.