May Kaidee Restaurant, Bangkok
“Don’t be a tourist. Be a traveller.”
People who live by this rule should not visit Khao San Road in Bangkok. This street probably has the highest ratio of tourists and backpackers in the whole of Thailand. Naturally, this translates into the food. Pad Thai, Tom Kha Kai, Kuay Tiew? Nah, the local dish here is a burger from one of the many western junkfood restaurants.
After fifteen hours of bad plane food, we weren’t really in the mood for more processed foods. Khao San Road offers some healthy-ish street food, but nothing that really makes you exciting. After a bit of wandering, we stumbled upon May Kaidee restaurant. As soon as we saw the words ‘vegetarian’, we were hooked.
May Kaidee has three locations spread across Bangkok and offers vegetarian and vegan food. On top of that, May Kaidee also offers cooking classes. We were too short in time to attend one, but the different activities sounded great. You can learn how to make your own tofu, how to prepare raw food or join in on a traditional Thai cookery class.
The staff of May Kaidee were warm and friendly. They outnumbered the amount of guests easily. This is a fenomeen that we saw repeatedly during our stay in south-east Asia. Whether you’re in a store, hotel or restaurant, the number of staff is always extremely high. This, in combination with the low prices, just makes me wonder how someone could ever make a profit out of their business.
Anyway, back to the food. We were jet lagged and hungry, so we ordered quite a lot. This is what we ate:
Stirfried mixed vegetables in mushroom sauce. Don’t you just hate it when restaurants call it ‘mixed vegetables’ when it is really just one vegetable with onion? Luckily, May Kaidee really gives you a plate of different vegetables. The dish was clean and simple, which made me absolutely love it.
Stirfried eggplant with tofu. I had never eaten or seen green eggplant before, so I thought we were served the wrong dish when it was put on the table. The vegetables tasted like anise and we couldn’t figure out why. Later on, we discovered that Thai basil has a licorice or anise flavor, and this dish was packed with basil. It’s funny how two kinds of basil – Italian and Thai – can taste so different!
Pumpkin hummus with sticky rice. Absolutely the best dish of the night. It might have even been the best dish I had during my whole trip! This especially worked well with the other two vegetable dishes. Vegetarian “fish” curry with seitan, seaweed and red rice. This was the dish of my friend, but I stole a little bite. It didn’t really taste fishy, but was really great nonetheless. Also, let’s take a moment to look at the red rice. So cute!
This dinner set us back about seven-eight euros in total. That is pretty high for Thai standards, but not in terms of price-quality ratio.
The next morning, we headed over to May Kaidee again. At home, I had mentally prepared myself to the fact that I would not be able to eat oatmeal for months. But May Kaidee gave me a lovely suprise: they had vegan oatmeal on the menu! Made from unsweetened coconut milk and served with fresh fruits and nuts.
I can’t really criticize May Kaidee on anything. If you’re starting your backpack journey in Bangkok, you should definitely stop by to fuel up on vitamins. And while you’re there, could you please ask for the pumpkin hummus recipe? The fact that I’m not going to be able to eat that in a good while is killing me.
May Kaidee’s Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant
59 Tanao Road, Bang-lam-phu
Open 9am – 10pm daily
Phone: +66 (0)2 629 4413