Thursday, 12 February 2015

Vegan in Koh Lanta

I'm totally in love with the pace of island life! Koh Lanta was our third island stop after Koh Yao Noi, which I loved, and Koh Pu, which was perhaps a little slow paced even for me but we did see a monkey scampering about in the jungle so that was awesome. We booked this pretty but basic 700THB / £14 / $21 fan bungalow at Mook Lanta for four nights and quickly extended it to six. 

Koh Lanta showed immediate promise when we were able to hop off of the boat at Saladan Pier and walk for around two minutes before hitting the first veg friendly spot marked on vegan dining app Happy Cow's map of the island. Catfish Book Cafe is right on the pier itself and there are in fact books and cats everywhere. I assume the fish in question were underneath us and shall ignore their appearance on the menu.

Nick and I both went for variations on the hummus, falafel and salad wrap and mine was build your own which was fun and came with three wraps rather than the two on the ready made plate. I'm slowly learning to remember to flick my phone's camera from photo to square but on this occasion I forgot so you'll have to make do with this Instagram ready snapshot.

Everything about this meal hit the spot after three days of eating either fruit plates or the same fried rice dish for every meal. The salad was especially good as it was flavoured with dill which I adore.

One place both Nick and I become totally obsessed with is the noodle spot with no name. Their wifi network is SUNUNTHA which should give you a clue as to it's whereabouts if you're strolling near the Long Beach 7/11. They also have a tofu food page on the menu - this doesn't indicate vegan or even veggie foods as Thai cuisine is heavy on the fish sauce but if you ask for the stir fried noodles with tofu and vegetables with no fish sauce, no egg and no oyster sauce (in Thai, if you can't remember it all write it down or take a screen shot of google translate on your phone) you'll get a super cheap vegan meal that'll knock your socks off. We ate this almost every day during our eleven day sojourn on the island.

Almost exactly opposite the noodle place is a restaurant that has become know in our minds as The Mango Sticky Rice Place. It's all we've ever ordered there, well that and a big water, and I super love it because the coconut cream comes on the side so you get to decide exactly how much to add. 

A little further south from the mango sticky rice place is Faim De Loup a French bakery and cafe where you can buy bread without egg or milk products which is something of a rarity in Thailand.

Be warned that whilst the wholewheat baguette is vegan the ciabatta contains egg (I don't know what recipe they're following!) and there was a definite language barrier between some of the staff and I (probably because my Thai is still dreadful but I'm getting closer to nailing the pronunciation which is helping me communicate better) and this was the first vegan fuck up of the trip - it happens, ascertaining what's vegan on your home turf is always going to be easier than when you travel and even after nine years of veganism and many trips abroad these things happen and you just need to dust yourself off, move forward and learn to communicate more successfully next time. We ate the WW baguette with the peanut butter and jam we picked up at Lanta Mart which is near the pier in Saladan.

After six noodle fuelled days on Koh Lanta we weren't able to stay at Mook Lanta any longer, we wanted to, they just had no space for us, so we moved next door to the similarly priced but slightly louder Angel Lanta. It's a teeny bit closer the the main road and the windows are just fly screens but there was a hammock for me to read and write in so I was happy.

One of our very favourite spots on the island was Kunda Anti-Pop Cafe. Located around a kilometre south of Lanta Animal Welfare (you checked out the cats and dogs in my last post right?) it's just about walkable from there and you really feel like you've earned the right to lounge on their comfy patio for the rest of the afternoon.

First things first, drinks. Get the mango shake, no sugar added. If the totally bad ass proprietress Lena is in the house get her to whip you up one with added sweet basil. It's not on the menu but it should be. It's mind blowingly good.

Not one to order salad often I relented after I saw Giselle from Mindful Wanderlust's lunch choice one day (what a cool coincidence that these travel blogging vegans were on the island at the same time as us) so I ordered it on my next visit. 

Kunda's carrot salad is mad garlicky and comes with lettuce, black rice and peanuts. Love!

Pasta is a definite Jojo fave and I was pleased to see two delicious options on the menu, pasta pesto and pasta with tomato, garlic and basil.

Both were delicious and I only slightly preferred the tomato pasta because the tomatoes themselves were barely cooked and oh so fresh.

As well as whipping up some of the best food I've ever eaten owner and chef Lena is eccentric, hilarious, only the tiniest bit intimidating and adds sparkle to every visit. This is the place to go if you can spend a little time lingering over your meal in true island style.

The Sanctuary was another Happy Cow recommendation, added to the shortlist long before our trip even started, but after our new vegan buddies Giselle and Cody told me there was a cashew cheese dish on the menu wild horses couldn't have held me back. The mild creamy cashew cheese dip is the centrepiece of a crudités plate that's described on the menu as a salad and comes served with a flatbread described as a naan. We also ordered the Tofu Burger made vegan which was like a huge free form tofu scramble formed into a burger.

I adored the burger, chips are always a winning side, and we thought the whole cashew cheese plate was wonderful (okay, okay, not the snap peas. I hate them raw!), the flatbread was super fresh and slightly warmed and the burger bun was lightly toasted. Unfortunately on our second visit the bread was a little stale (probably because it hadn't been warmed) and the Tofu Burger that we loved was completely different... I think I got a vegetable burger instead.

Like a good food blogger I went back a third time to see what the deal was and the tofu burger was back on form. We also tried the yummy spring rolls and a couple of juices which are freshly pressed and super delicious.

The other great thing about The Sanctuary is that there are dogs and cats all over the shop which is adorable. This is Gizmo who sat on my lap whilst I enjoyed my carrot and orange juice last week. Cute!

Located at the southern end of Long Beach and just a stones throw from where we were staying The Sanctuary have a gorgeous view of the beach, especially at sunset, and if you want somewhere to sit with a cool drink the beach bar's a pretty chilled out spot with some excellently placed deck chairs.

In-between meals and dog walking at Lanta Animal Welfare I enjoyed a whole lot of beach time, my favourites are Long Beach and Relax Bay Beach, both during the day and at sunset. It really is a beautiful place and one that Nick and I are already planning to return to.


  1. Gizmo is so snugly on that jean pillow! So cool you can go to the animal sanctuary and hang out with the dogs. Looks like there's a lot to do and eat on the island.

  2. Oh Gizmo! He's so teensy! That black rice salad looks incredible, and so does the tofu burger!

  3. Love the look of that mango and sticky rice. Yum.


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