Tag - may kaidee

May Kaidee – Veggie Power

May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power
May Kaidee - Veggie Power

It’s early in the morning and May of May Kaidee looks fabulous, as always. I’ve had two cups of coffee and am still sluggish from the weight of the bags under my eyes, but May sweeps into the room with skin glowing and eyes shining. Looking at May, you would hardly guess that she is one of the hardest working women in Bangkok. She greets me warmly and then we are off.

First, we’re off to meet and greet the students signed up for today’s cookery class. Each day, six lucky travelers learn how to create delicious Thai dishes under the supervision of May and her sister. Today’s students come from Israel, the USA, England and Korea. This is their first Thai cookery lesson and all are excited about the experience. The first stop is the local supermarket, where May introduces the ingredients and explains how they are used. May tells me that she chooses the supermarket rather than the outdoor market because; “that way I can show the students how to find the ingredients in their own country.” When the shopping is complete, May leads the students to the kitchen, which is located at the back of her restaurant on Samsen Road. The students cook in pairs using a special instruction sheet prepared by May.

May demonstrates how to use the equipment and blend the ingredients, then gives the students space to get creative in the kitchen. When they have finished, May tastes each dish and offers comments and tips.

The cookery class lasts four hours – from 9 am-1 pm – during which time the students cook 10 specially selected dishes which they then can devour. The chefs look happy as they sample their creations. “This is great,” a beaming English woman tells me. “The perfect souvenir.”

May came from Bangkok from her Isaan village of Si Sa Saket in 1988 to help her Aunt and Uncle in their vegetarian restaurant. May, who was just 16, was working on the farm when the fateful letter arrived. “They had to write a letter to ask for my help; there was no phone in the village.”

Like the other villagers, May was not originally vegetarian. “I used to eat everything,” she confesses. “Rats, dogs, crickets, worms; we ate whatever we found.”

But in Bangkok May soon found her waistband expanding and decided to change her diet. May converted to vegan and lot a lot of weight. Her diet, combined with teetotalism, is obviously the reason for May’s clear complexion and abundant energy. “In 16 years I haven’t needed to go to the hospital about my health,” she beams.

May decided she wanted to share her healthy philosophy and opened her own restaurant. It was difficult at first as there were problems with the police and Thai traditions. “Many Thai people don’t want to change their habits,” May sighs. “They think brown rice is animal food, they won’t try it.”

Luckily, May’s warmth and open spirit drew her friends to her, and they would often bring her extra plates, spoons and provisions. It wasn’t long before westerners had caught onto the wonders of May’s cuisine and she had a healthy ‘farang’ (western) following.

In the last 20 years, May’s vision has expended conciderably. She now has three restaurants, a website, a cookery book, classes, rooms for rent and soon her own TV show. May Kaidee TV, starting in about a month, will take the form of daily 1-2 minute episodes on the internet. “I have four new things coming soon,” May tells me with a grin. “New cookery book, new restaurant, New Year and new government.”

But May’s vision doesn’t stop there. Having already traveled all over the world to spread her message, May is jetting off to India next month to learn about Indian health techniques such as Ayurvedic medicine.

May’s idea is to create a complete detox centre where people can eat food organically grown at May’s farm, meditate, sing and dance. “I want to create week long home stay facilities so people can fix their body before they go home.”

Song and dance are very close to May’s heart. When the students have finished cooking, she teaches them traditional Thai dancing, which they perform before singing the sontam song.

May Kaidee provides the perfect eating experience, combined with her flare and love of Thai culture.

May Kaidee is located at 33 Samsen Road (next to Soi 1) and 1117/1 Tanao Road, behind Burger King at the end of Khaosan Road.

Veggie Delight

Vegetarian Restaurants around Khao San Road and Bangkok, Thailand
Vegetarian Restaurants around Khao San Road and Bangkok, Thailand
Vegetarian Restaurants around Khao San Road and Bangkok, Thailand

Travelling in Thailand can be tough if you’re a vegetarian. Your senses are constantly assaulted by the myriad of meats on sticks barbecued on every street corner and the scent of fried chicken fills the air as you wait patiently for a bus to whisk you away.

Vegetarianism is definitely a lesson in tolerance, and I have learnt to turn a blind eye to the invasions of the meat loving society. Well, almost. Even more difficult, however, is finding decent veggie food, especially if you are on a budget. I spent my first six months in the Land of Smiles surviving mainly on pad Thai and boiled corn, not exactly a rich and varied diet.

But the truth is there are some excellent places for vegetarians to eat in Bangkok, if you know where to go. Here are some of my favourites:

May Kaidee, located 33 Samsen Road (Soi 1) and tucked away on 1117/1 Tanao Road, behind Burger King at the end of Khaosan Road is probably the most popular vegetarian restaurant in the area. Offering an incredibly diverse range of vegetarian Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes, this is a great place to meet friends. All the dishes are freshly prepared and cooked, with flavours combined to perfection.

The pumpkin soup is simply fantastic, especially with ground ginger on top, and the organic brown rice is healthy and delicious. Dishes are affordable at around 50 Baht each and cooking courses are also available. Open 9 a.m – 11 p.m. daily.

Situated at the end of Soi 2, just off Samsen Road, Cafe Corner is also a great place to unwind. Converted from a traditional Thai shop, the cafe opens right onto the street and has a unique Bohemian feel.

Unusual, uplifting music is played in the background whilst you tuck into baguettes, pancakes or vegetarian Thai food. The range of cocktails makes this the perfect place to gather in the evening as well.

All the vegetables used are organic and come from farms in Suphanburi, Ratchaburi and the cafe’s own garden.

Just a ten minute walk from Khaosan Road, the recently opened Tham-na Home Restaurant can be found at 169 Samsen Road. The restaurant offers deliciously healthy vegetarian and vegan food served in a light and stylishly decorated restaurant. The restaurant’s motto is; “Vegetarian food for meat lovers,” and is a real treat for anyone who appreciates good food. The menu is filled with international favourites such as Japanese dishes, Thai food, hearty breakfasts and fresh, organic salads. There are western staples such as roast potatoes, or you can try the fried lotus root for an exotic alternative. Highly recommended is the baguette with mozzarella cheese and tangy sesame mushrooms.

Tanao Road is becoming a haven for vegetarians and Ethos restaurant brings a slightly Bohemian and cozy feel to the area. The menu is full of vegan and vegetarian dishes featuring flavours from around the world. Customers get to choose between the western style dining tables or sitting on the floor on pretty patterned cushions. Gorgeous red lamps made from red paper hang over the tables and complete the scene.

The Thai vegetarian dishes are a vibrant blend of colours and textures, fresh, crisp vegetables and tasty tofu chunks. The restaurant also serves large portions of western food such as lasagna, falafel and comfort food such as apple crumble and custard. Ethos offers free wifi, making this a great place to spend an afternoon trying the incredible selection of teas and the rich and creamy fruit lassis.

The vegetarian section of Chatuchak Market is one of Bangkok’s best-kept secrets. Also known as Chamlong’s Restaurant after Bangkok’s former governor K. Chamlong, this area features a collection of over thirty stalls selling delicious Thai, Chinese and Western dishes. Each stall offers its own speciality and fake meats are used to create dishes such as “fish” curry in banana leaf and “chicken” skewers.

Best of all, these delicious dishes are incredibly cheap, ranging from 10-20 Baht each, so you can afford to try a whole range. Run by the Santi Asoke monks, food is served daily from 8 a.m. – 2p.m.

Finding Chamlong’s Restaurant can be tricky at first. Take the subway to Kamphaeng Phet (exit 1) and turn right. Walk for five minutes and follow an alleyway between bars to a large warehouse. You can also take bus no 3 from Banglampoo.

If it is authentic Indian food you crave, look no further than Soi Rambutree, opposite Khoasan Road. Here you will find quite a few eateries offering eastern promise, all with an extensive vegetarian selection.

As you can see, there is vegetarian food to suit every taste in Bangkok. Don’t forget to try the Thai speciality Pad see-u Pak (rice noodles with egg and broccoli). Whatever you choose, remember to say arroy maak (tastes very good) at the end of your meal.

About the author:

Kirsty Turner (Kay) is a freelance writer currently living in Bangkok. She has kindly agreed to write for KhaoSanRoad.com and share her love of all things Thai and, especially, all things Khao San Road!