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The Vegetarian Side of Soi Aree
Soi Aree, just off of Phaholyothin Road, offers vegetarian diners a nice variety of meat-free options. Three places in particular are worth mentioning.
by Julia Chinnock
The first is a little clothing boutique cum restaurant called VegetaHouse. They are open six days a week (closed on Sundays) from 10am until 8pm. Everyday VegetaHouse serves up vegetarian goitio, fried spring rolls, and Nam Prik Med Mamuang with fresh vegetables in a cute and cheerful space, painted in a fresh, spring green color.
But what will keep diners coming back is the rotating daily menu, which often includes stews, different varieties of fried rice, rice noodle soup with mushrooms, and stir fried dishes comprised of fresh, seasonal vegetables. The daily menu is written on a chalk board inside, in Thai, but the owner and staff – when they see a foreigner, typically take the initiative and write down the daily offerings in English on a small slip of paper to make ordering simple.
Usually, the menu includes at least one or two “mock-meat” dishes, like fish, so- all you vegetarians- don’t get confused and leave if you see fish or pork in the daily line-up- it doesn’t come from an animal.
The second establishment worthy of mention in the Aree area is the lunch-time vegetarian institution inside the Banana Family Park complex. Here is a number of cafeteria-style stalls serving up vegetarian Thai food, Issan, and Chinese Jae fare. In the past, they used a coupon system similar to other cafeterias, but lately, each of the individual stalls seem to be collecting baht themselves- with meals averaging 35THB for brown rice and two kap khao, such as curries, salads, and soups.
Because there are so many vendors under one large, covered open-air area, diners will be pleasantly surprised at the variety and quality of food offered. There are also several notable coffee/ juice shops and restaurants where you can order from the menu as well. They serve up fresh, organic fruit shakes and locally sourced coffee. There is also an air-conditioned dining building, and a lovely garden/fountain area with seating.
The atmosphere of the “Park” is quiet and relaxing and offers a welcoming sanctuary away from the hustle and noise of the city. Here diners can enjoy the foliage, flowers, the sound of water while dining amongst some of the more health-conscious residents of our fine city. The Banana Family Park complex is also home to a massage shop, a yoga studio, a natural medicine “pharmacy” and a retail health food store. Banana Family Park is situated at 17/1 Soi Aree 1, in the compound of Baan Aree, near BTS Station Soi Aree, Phaholyothin Road, Samsen Nai, Phayathai, Bangkok.
Just across from Banana Park is a great little restaurant called Tum Road- Som Tom for Health. While not a vegetarian joint, per se, they are skilled at adapting standard Thai fare to meet vegetarian requirements. Here, diners will enjoy- as the name implies- som tom- along with other notables like laab het and tom kha. The kind wait staff is happy to prepare any menu items without meat- which I promise, you won’t miss!