The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an excellent time to visit Phuket and get up close and personal with the island’s Thai-Chinese culture, experience an entirely unique festival, and sample authentic Phuket vegetarian food.
While Phuket offers a number of trendy vegan and vegetarian restaurants serving healthy international favorites, it’s important to try the local vegetarian food in Phuket. Favored by the Thai-Chinese community throughout the year, Phuket vegetarian food is delicious, spicy and free of onions and garlic. Expect delicious bowls of noodles to slurp, tasty fried snacks, and tofu-inspired dishes to whet your appetite.
Here’s some background on the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, and our suggestions for the best vegetarian food in Phuket, whether it’s during the festival or anytime you visit the island and stay with us.
What is the Phuket Vegetarian Festival?
The Phuket Vegetarian is a colorful, annual event held during the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually in September or October. Also referred to as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, it celebrates the Thai-Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat and other outside stimulants will bring peace of mind and good health.
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is famous for Phuket vegetarian food, grand processions and extreme celebrations. Acts that invoke the gods include body piercing and firewalking. A lot of self-mortification happens during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival by participants who act as mediums to the gods.
The festival is not for the faint of heart, but it is interesting to attend and witness the extreme events, and of course, dine on Phuket Vegetarian Festival food.
6 Phuket Vegetarian Food Dishes Not to Miss
The best Phuket Vegetarian Festival food is found in Phuket Town, especially nearby Jui Tui Shrine and Bang Neow Shrine, but during the festival it is possible to find these vegetarian festival menus all over Phuket.
Food stalls are set up across the island during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, and most are noticeable by their yellow and red flag. All of the local Phuket vegetarian food is affordable, so do make a point to grab some snacks or a few meals.
Here’s our suggestion for 6 Phuket vegetarian food dishes not to miss during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
1. Vegetarian Fried Taro, Fried Tofu and Deep-Fried Spring Rolls
Likely the most favorite Phuket vegetarian food snack, the vegetarian fried taro, fried tofu and deep-fried spring rolls are served with a sweet dipping sauce. Although not the best if you are trying to lose weight, these deep-fried vegetarian snacks are extremely crunchy and delicious.
2. Vegetarian Fried Mushrooms
Another Phuket Vegetarian Festival favorite features deep-fried snow mushrooms served with Northeastern Thai dipping sauce. Despite being fried, vegetarian fried mushrooms don’t taste oily. Instead, they have a lovely chewy texture. If you don’t like the Northeastern Thai dipping sauce, opt for sweet chili sauce instead.
3. Vegetarian Papaya Salad
If you love spicy food, but are trying to consume more vegetarian festival menus, we highly recommend the vegetarian papaya salad. It is sweet, salty and fresh, and the chilis give this favorite Thai salad an intense kick.
4. Vegetarian Fried Corn Cakes
Delicious and crispy, vegetarian fried corn cakes are savory and have tons of flavor. They can be found at any Phuket vegetarian food stall and are often served with a sweet vegetarian dipping sauce.
5. Vegetarian Pink Noodle Soup
Known in Thai as Yen Ta Fo, this popular Phuket vegetarian food uses mushrooms to substitute pork blood cubes. It’s filled with tofu and fried taro balls and is loaded with calcium and fiber.
6. Vegetarian Fried Noodles
Available all during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, vegetarian fried noodles are loaded with vegetables, tofu and vegetarian protein. These vegetarian fried noodles are a great grab & go meal, and especially delicious for breakfast.
Local Phuket Vegetarian Food Restaurants
If you are not able to visit Phuket during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, but would still like to try local Phuket vegetarian food, we have a few fantastic restaurants to recommend to you.
Loukthor Vegetarian Restaurant is located in Phuket Town near Jui Tui Shrine. Its one of the most popular Phuket vegetarian food restaurants on Ranong Road, and serves authentic, made-to-order vegetarian Thai dishes.
Vegetarian House Restaurant serves authentic Thai vegetarian cuisine, and is located on Chaofa Road in Chalong. There are long dining tables and an open kitchen where you can watch your Phuket vegetarian food being prepared.
Dok Bua is charming and cozy. Located in Phuket Town, the restaurant is popular for vegetarian food in Phuket. Try authentic Thai vegetarian cuisine and famous Phuket vegetarian food dishes at this restaurant.
If you have any questions about the Phuket Vegetarian Festival or vegetarian food in Phuket, please let us know. We are happy to answer any of your questions or recommended places to go for the best Phuket vegetarian food.