How to eat a cheap, easy raw food, vegan or vegetarian diet in Thailand

Fruit stall in Bangkok, Thailand – copyright Eurofruit, Creative Commons License

In the 15 years I have lived in Bangkok, Thailand, I have come across more and more people who are on a raw food, vegan or vegetarian diet. Easy to do in Thailand, as fresh fruit and vegetables are everywhere, it’s also dirt cheap. And, when I say “dirt cheap”, I mean cheaper than anyone in any western country could possibly imagine.

Most raw food, vegan or vegetarian food afficianados in Thailand buy their food at local food markets, as fruit and vegetables arrive fresh from the farms daily, and they’re sold at unbelievable prices.

Most fruit and vegetables in Thailand are also not soaked with chemicals and preservatives like they are in the west, so people who are worried about eating healthy food often say they feel even safer here.

To give you an idea of how cheap it is to eat a raw food, vegan or vegetarian diet in Thailand, I’ll tell you what I buy from a vegetable truck that stops outside my apartment five mornings a week.

Related: How to eat a vegan diet in Bangkok, Thailand — it’s very very easy

I normally spend 100 baht ($3.10) every time I shop and the vegetables I buy from the woman who owns the truck she picks up at the local fresh market at 6am that day. Basically, they were still growing in the fields the day before.

My typical vegetable purchase consists of:

Four large bundles of kale

One big bunch of cilantro

A bag of five large carrots

Six medium size tomatoes

A huge bundle of green beans

A head of lettuce

A small bag of sweet peas

A big bundle of fresh basil, and one of hairy basil

A bag of Chinese celery

Three large cucumbers.

Four small limes

Yes, all of that costs me just over $3. When I’m in the United States, I often can’t even buy the kale for that.

In Thailand, you will also find, if you buy fruit and vegetables at the same stall regularly, the seller will get to know you and will then often give you a discount, making it even cheaper.

So, if you’d like to travel to a country where you can buy incredibly fresh and cheap fruit and vegetables, and easily eat a raw food, vegetarian or vegan diet, there’s no better place than Thailand.

To see what fruit and vegetable markets are like in Thailand watch the video from Frederic Patenaude below.

He was at Chiang Mai‘s Tanin Market quite a few years ago, and walked through the market showing his viewers how they can eat raw vegan and vegetarian foods in Thailand easily and cheaply. The video may be a few years old, but things haven’t changed at Tanin Market. Neither have the dirt cheap prices,