According to Greenpeace, the amount of synthetic fertiliser used in Thailand increased from 18,000 tons in 1961 to 1,700,000 tons in 2003. The use of pesticides has also become more widespread due to the decrease in prices.
But here in Chiang Mai, it’s easy to eat good quality, wholesome food. Although organic agriculture makes up only 0.07 percent of the Thai market, there are plenty of eateries in the city selling dishes made with organic ingredients. By buying organic in Chiang Mai, you’re not only being healthier but you’re also supporting local farmers.
The organic food scene in Chiang Mai is growing every year, with vegetarian restaurants seemingly popping up on every corner. Here is a helpful beginners’ guide to eating organic in Chiang Mai, which can be both delicious and nutritious. Bon appetite!
Chiang Mai Organic Product Stores
Baan Suan Pak
An organic food store and restaurant that carries only pesticide-free, organic vegetables and pressed juices. Reviews say it offers a lot of good natural produce that is reasonably priced.
419/27 Wichayanon Road
Open Monday to Saturday (9am–5pm).
Chiang Mai Bread
This bakery sells wholewheat bread with natural spreads and dips such as all-natural peanut butter and hummus. It also delivers right to your door!
495/6 Lamphun Road
The Green Cup
(previously known as the BoonSoom Farm Store)
Produces and sells locally grown spirulina and other health foods.
Star Avenue 3, Viva Terrace Lifestyle Mall
053 275 011
Open Monday to Friday (10am–3pm)
Chiang Mai Organic Restaurants
Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society
A friendly restaurant that serves whole grain smoothies and organic traditional Thai dishes. It’s very affordable.
42 Mahidol Road
Free Bird Cafe
A non-profit cafe, all revenue goes to help the Thai Freedom House, which helps Burmese refugees in Thailand. The cafe serves both western and Thai food.
116 Maneenoparat Road
Open Tuesday to Saturday (9.30-4pm) and Saturday to Sunday (9.30 am to 8pm)
ImmAim Vegetarian Cafe
Lovely open air restaurant serving healthy, organic vegetarian food as well as health products.
089 264 5511
Open daily, 10am-9pm
Brown Rice Organic Bistro
Offers a wide selection of pressed juices using organic products such as honey and coconut water, as well as homemade baked goods and Thai fusion dishes.
Chang Moi Road (Chaiyapoom Road)
Monday to Sunday, 9 am-11pm
Rated the best restaurant in Chiang Mai on TripAdvisor, Anchan boasts an array of delicious Thai food, from butterfly pea juice to homemade Thai curries.
Nimmanahaemin Road between soi 6 and soi 10.
Closed on Sundays and Mondays. On other days the kitchen is open from 11.30am-8.30pm.
Khun Churn offers a large lunch buffet with choices like salads, noodles, soups and stir-fries, all made with local produce!
Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre, 185/3 Wualai Road
053 270 071
Open daily, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Using produce from local organic farmers, Pun Pun serves wholesome vegetarian Thai dishes as well as teas and refreshing juices.
Wat Suan Dok Temple, Suthep Road
081 470 1461
Open Thursday to Saturday, 9am-7pm, and Sundays from 9am-4pm
Tea Tree Cafe
Western cafe with vegan and vegetarian dishes and frequent events.
Moon Muang Soi 6
Open Monday to Wednesday (11.30am-9pm), Thursday (11.30am-12am), Friday (11.30am-9pm) and Saturday (8.30am-2.30pm).
Basic Thai vegetarian food with brown rice and heaps of veggies.
Nimmanhaemin Soi 13
Rooftop reggae bar, which also carries hemp produce.
Desserts and drinks:
Ice Love you
Vegan ice cream available here!
23/34 Soi Srivichai, Suthep Road
Open Monday to Sunday, 12-10pm
A smoothie shop which uses ingredients such as seeds, wheat and soymilk.
Kad Suan Kaew, 21 Huay Kaew Road
Chiang Mai Organic Markets
Organic Farmer’s Market
Organic products are sold here, and most are locally produced.
JJ Market, 45 Atsadathorn Road.
Open Wednesdays and Saturdays (6am-9pm).
Pesticide-Free Farmer’s Market
On Wednesdays the market is on Nimmanhaemin Road and on Saturdays it is at the Mae Hia Agricultural Research Station. Open from 7am to 12 noon.
2 Chiang Rai Road (Nimmanhaemin)
Weekly market, Chang Khlan Road
On Fridays, Burmese, Chinese and Muslim vendors sell locally produced food and items at the market. Open from 6am to 12 noon.