Dealing with Dietary Restrictions in Thailand


  1. Sarah says:

    Definitely saving this for later (assuming I get the opportunity to go to Thailand later haha) – super helpful! I’m celiac and I’ve never been to Asia – but one of the things holding me back is how much soy sauce they use! So this is a great resource 🙂

    • Alana Morgan says:

      I can’t imagine what it must be like constantly needing to be aware of all the ingredients in your food… It takes some caution, but it is possible to eat – and eat well – here! If you haven’t before, definitely check out Jodi’s site for more information about traveling in Asia and elsewhere.

  2. I think if you’re doing Airbnb (or couchsurfing), self-catering is also a realistic and convenient option nowadays to deal with dietary restriction. You can pretty much order food online from most supermarkets in the biggest cities (using anything from LINE man to Happy Fresh or the individual supermarket websites and apps). Most of them are dual-language interfaces (no need to speak or write Thai). Plus places like HappyFresh even have nutrition labels online, so you see right away the exact ingredients.

    After living in Thailand for more than 10 years I found the food to still be really delicious, but it’s often not the healthiest choice due to a lot of sugar and oil being used in cooking. Nowadays I self-cater a lot – which also resulted in a lower rate of stomach issues.

  3. TheAsia says:

    Thanks, vey useful guide. We will pin it for our guests.

  4. Caroline says:

    Important info for those affected by food allergies and those who make conscientious meal choices … great post!

  5. Janessa says:

    Do you have any suggestions for a coconut allergy? Obviously I can adapt the peanut information to coconut, but it’ll be harder to figure out if I can eat curries and other things.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Wow – I’ve never even thought of that! Some of the popular dishes that come to mind with coconut milk are most curries (green, penang, etc.), khao soi, tom kha soup, and many Thai-style desserts (including mango with sticky rice). Here are some translations:
      — “Coconut” is “maprao” (มะพร้าว)
      — “Coconut milk” is “ga-teet” (กะทิ)
      — “Coconut water” is “naam maprao” (น้ำมะพร้าว)
      — “Coconut oil” is “naam-mun maprao” (น้ำมันมะพร้าว)

      Hope that helps a little!

  6. Jackie Fawett says:

    I have a stomach ulcer and should not eat any spicy food. I know that foreigners can say “not spicy” but often I have found that it is still way too spicy for me. What else could I say that would convey my problem

    • Alana Morgan says:

      There are plenty of dishes that don’t come with chilies, like fried noodle dishes, noodles soups, stirred vegetables in oyster sauces, etc. If you eat at places more geared toward foreigners, dishes with chilies will automatically be less spicy than usual. Instead of just saying ‘mai pet’ or not spicy, you can also say ‘mai pet leuhy’ (meaning not spicy at all) or ‘gin pet mai dai’ (meaning I can’t eat spicy).
      ไม่เผ็ด = not spicy
      ไม่เผ็ดเลย = not spicy at all
      กินเผ็ดไม่ได้ / กินเผ็ดไม่ได้เลย = can’t eat spicy / can’t eat spicy at all (for more emphasis)

  7. Thanks so much for the info on vegan and vegetarian cautions. It’s really helpful to know the terms for vegan and vegetarian, especially. Another great post!

  8. Kevin says:

    How widely known is the word “Jay” for vegan in Thailand, does everyone understand what it means, I sometimes still have to explain the word vegan in the UK

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