Category Archives: Vegan

Vegan in Lopburi: Episode 4

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I wouldn’t say I saved the best for last, but I did save the most obvious for last. Nooms is the vegan-friendly restaurant in all the guidebooks; it’s listed on happycow and it’s the one most tourists in Lopburi are likely to find. It’s good, and by western standards it’s not expensive. (Though it’s 5=10 times the cost of some of the other jeh places in Lopburi.)

There is a vegetarian section of the menu. Someday if I go with an egg-eating friend I’d like to spring for the Vegetarian set.

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Nooms is the only place I’ve been to in Lopburi where the Thai food tastes like it does in the west. I think that’s pretty much the appeal–it’s like your favorite local Thai diner, but it’s here in Thailand, amidst monkey-strewn ruins and clinging tropical heat.

I’ve been twice, tried the red and the green curry (not sure which one is better) and once got an order of spring rolls as well. They also serve fruit shakes that are up to the standard you’d expect.

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All in all it’s easy to see why Noom’s has become an expat oasis. Noom rents out motorbikes to many of the teachers at my work, there is a quiz night on Thursdays, and there is a decent street market on Wednesdays just outside.

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Vegan in Lopburi: Episode 3

Ngok Nam Organic Farming Center and Restaurant

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Another great little jeh restaurant that sells some selected vegan groceries too. They have a couple different kinds of soup and 3-4 different kinds of curry as well. The food is grubbing and quite cheap. They don’t have much an English presence online but it’s fairly central and there are directions in this post.

 

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2 kinds of curry

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Delicious Raadnar

 

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Now in retrospect I don’t necessarily recommend this particular tin of “vegan chicken” but they have ramen, salad rolls, crunchy rice snacks, and lots more.

 

 

It’s at the Sra Kaew traffic circle, just behind the large monkey statue. You can find it here

 

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Find this roundabout. It has statues of lions with elephant trunks.

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Then find this statue. It’s right behind this Hanuman statue

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Vegan in Lopburi: Episode 2

20180503_154300This is not a jeh restaurant; there is lots of meat here. But the Salad bar is largely vegan, the owners are friendly and speak a little English, .

The good news: There are lots of great options: Lettuce and sprouts and carrots and veggies and kidney beans and potatoes and pumpkins and loads more.

Bad news: Now there are meat options and the tongs aren’t really cleaned so there is some cross-contamination worries. But it’s Thailand and that’s hard to avoid.

You pay by weight and my salad usually comes up to about 60 baht (2 dollarsish).

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If you’re not in hurry then the juices are made fresh and are super good. So far I like number 8 most of all but they’re all tasty and cost a mere 40 baht (a little more than a dollar.)

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It’s pretty centrally located (right next to the kindy). You can find USalad here: https://goo.gl/maps/VtPXiEvMJ4u

Vegan in Lopburi: Episode 1

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Look for Jeh. It means Vegan.

Thailand is pretty great for vegans. From Ethos in Bangkok to Khun Churn in Chiang Mai to Ninja Crepes in Samui it’s pretty easy to find a go-to place. (For more information on veganism in Thailand this blog post has some good info.)

Lopburi is a little different; it’s both smaller and has fewer tourists. Happy Cow lists three places but two are hard to find.  (There are also a few salad places littered around as that craze sweeps the country.) Eventually I’ll try to profile all the places in town but I’m going to start with one that as far as I can tell isn’t listed anywhere (in English at least) online.

Guan Yin Vegetarian Food / Jeh Guan Yin

Guan Yin is a humble little vegan cafe located next to Muang Mai School near the King Narai Roundabout. (You can find Muang Mai School on google maps.) It’s quite easy to find once you know where it is.

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Turn left and go down the sidestreet when you see this sign.

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Head toward this….

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This is what you’re looking for. It’s less than a minute walk from the main road.

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Come in and there are 1-2 soups and a few pre-made dishes. I chose to forgo the soup and got a plate of tofu and veggies and some kind of tvp on rice. Even if you don’t speak Thai (and I don’t) it’s easy to simply gesture at what you would like.  It was filling and tasty and in the end it cost 30 baht (slightly less than 1 USD). With soup it might cost a little more, granted, but this place puts the ฿ in bargain. I don’t think they get many farang but when I was there, sweaty as can be, they gave me a cup of ice to pour my water into and pointed the fan toward me. It’s always nice to have our farang proclivities catered to.

I’ve only been once but it’s not far from where I’m staying and I am definitely planning on going back, hopefully at least once a week. Even though I’ve complained about the idea that eating out is cheaper than cooking, at Guan Yin it just might be true!-

Cheap Vegan Eats in Portland, OR

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Back in the day I worked a few temp jobs in downtown Portland. Kinkos, Bank of America, Wells Fargo; all the fun places. I learned (or should have) that office drone work really isn’t my forte. But one of my favorite things was that I got to eat lunch downtown everyday. I had a rotating list of places but my rule was that lunch had to be 5 dollars or less.

It’s well-documented that times have changed. Food prices haven’t quite skyrocketed like housing prices but these days 10 dollars is considered cheap; many food carts have prices this high. Now, objectively, 10 dollars is a lot of money–4.4 billion people live off that much or less per day. So it’s a bummer to spend that much on a sandwich or curry or whatever.

But fear not! Though many years have passed, I’ve made a list of 5 places you can still eat at for 5 dollars.  They are all downtown or walking distance to it. Here in 2018 Portland! And while American portion sizes are such that you can share one portion and each spend around 5 bucks,  this list is straight up solo traveler 5 dollar meals. You may, of course, indulge in any sharing shenanigans you see fit.

Los Gorditos The Rice & Bean Burrito $3.50 ($4.50 at the Pearl location) or Beans Rice & Avocado $4.75

It’s no secret that I love Los Gorditos the most. I go through cravings and withdrawals when I’m away for it from too long. It even won over my sister, who was initially hesitant. And it’s such a good deal. There’s even a vegan only cart way out on Halsey. If you spend more than 5,  you can get tofu, soy curls, etc.

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Food Front Co-op Half a Sandwich $4.99

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Okay, with the 5 dollar limit you can only get half a sandwich, but you can load it up with baked tofu (spicy if you want) or marinated tempeh plus add hummus or vegenaise or pesto and tons of organic veggies, including pickles and avocados and roasted red peppers and more! A big part of the fun is entirely customizing your sandwich.


Blackbird or Sizzle Pie Vegan Slice of Pizza $>5 (prices vary depending on location and flavor selection.)

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Blackbird has only one location (on Hawthorne) while Sizzle Pie has many (including the Rose Garden). Both serve awesome vegan pizzas by the slice. Sizzle Pie has pretty good salads as well and you can order breadsticks or whole pizzas at either place as well.


Thai (& Vietnamese) Food CartsPad Kee Mao, Bahn Mi, etc $5

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At first I had a specific location listed, but you know what? Let’s open it up a little. There are a handful Thai (and some Vietnamese) food carts downtown where you can still eat for 5 dollars. Sure that would be a feast in Chiang Mai or Hoi An, but for Portland that much for a paltry stir-fry is pretty great. All places naturally have tofu, and if you say vegan they’ll know what you mean. A little reminder that you’re not down with fish sauce doesn’t hurt though.


Sweatpea BakeryBagels, Charlie Browns & More $1.75-4.5

Located in a vegan mini-mall this industrial looking institution has too much yum for just one visit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe proper sandwiches are out of the 5 dollar range but plenty of options remain. I’m partial to the Charlie Brown (chocolate and peanut butter and oats) but my sister swears by the bagels with schmear. Personally I can’t think of a less appetizing word than schmear but those bagels are actually pretty grubbing and you can get earth balance or hummus or peanut butter etc if you don’t want the cream cheese substitute.

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So even in modern Portland there are plenty of food options for those who want to go out but not spend a lot of cash.  I don’t know a lot of the new restaurants either so I’m sure I missed a couple. Let me know some of your favorites in the comments.

 

Yeti Eats: Rudy’s Pizza

My sister kept excitedly mentioning a place called Rudy’s. I didn’t really care–we already so many places to go to, both old favorites and new places to try. But her enthusiasm would not be denied, so one Sunday, she and her boyfriend and I drove halfway across the city and tested out this place.

It’s about as unassuming as can be from the outside.20170326_163026

But the inside is cozy, the servers are friendly and well-informed (if not actually vegan themselves) and there are signs with all kinds of vegan information.

Not everything is vegan, but there is an impressive array of options. You can choose Follow Your Heart or Daiya cheese–I don’t really know the difference but they’re both good.

 

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We showed absolutely no restraint and ordered vegan wings, cheese bread sticks, pesto breadsticks, and a half-and-half pizza. A lot of food and all of it awesome.20170328_001644

The vegan wings were not something I would have ordered but they were tasty. And it comes with a choice of vegan Ranch, Vegan Blue Cheese, Vegan Creamy Sriracha,
or Vegan Garlic Butter.20170328_001708

The pesto breadsticks only came as a mistake but were maybe the best part of the meal.20170328_001736

Finally the pizza! With 3 people there were dissenting opinions, but we went with my sister’s dream of taco pizza (which had beans on it, in proper fashion) and Vegan BBQ-Ru. Other than a lot of black olives there were no complaints at all.

Not having had pizza for a couple of years, I was really jonesing and this place was perfect. I think it leapfrogged Sizzle Pie and HUB as my favorite portland pizzeria. I’ll definitely be back.

Budget Yeti: Veggie Shopping in Korea

That old myth about going out in Korea being cheaper than cooking at home keeps cropping up and it always bothers me. Granted, many food items here are expensive, and costs keep going up. But it’s still cheaper almost every time to cook at home.

In Seoul, it pays to shop seasonally here. Unlike North America (and probably other places) there is a seasonal shift to produce prices here. Apples are super cheap in September, for instance, and now is Hallabong season. I think this is a good thing, environmentally of course but also habitually. Now some of these seasonal surpluses are strange to my eyes (why oh why is strawberry season in January?) but overall it’s a good system.

The area I live is kind of adjumma central–there aren’t really any bars or even noraebongs. In their place are lots of little markets though, and many good places to stock up on fruit and veg.

And stock up I do. The below list was all purchased at a biggish mart, which isn’t the very cheapest place around but it has good selection. Here’s a look at a week’s worth of veggies for two people. The total price is a little high because it’s a big bag of garlic but even still you can see how cheap it is.

Now this isn’t a complete meal, of course. You’d probably want to get a carb like rice (around $5 for a kilogram, or maybe $7 for 800 grams of brown rice) or udong (about 50 cents a package) or pasta (about 2.50 for 450 grams) or if you venture into Itaewon you can even get something exotic like basmati rice or couscous, though those start to get more expensive.

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A Typical Vegtastic Meal

The shiitake give you a little less protein than your standard mushroom, but not to worry. A big block of fresh tofu is about 2 dollars or the smaller, packaged ones are usually around 1 dollar.

Add it all together and a big, healthy meal with local produce is only a couple of dollars. There’s just not any restaurant that can compete with that. The cheapest comparable is a bowl of kalgooksu, which at a cheap place is around 4 dollars for a big bowl. For less than 4 dollars, this equals 4 bowls so it’s quite a bit cheaper.

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By contrast, this meal from Osegye Hyang, which had mandu, soup, and a gluten/rice dish (plus banchan) costs about 22 bucks.

Now I understand most people want a little more variety in their lives than daily iterations of the same meal. And not everyone is willing to make the effort to cook every night, even when they’re tired. Those are different reasons, though, from the tired old falsism that it’s much cheaper to eat out than cook at home. (And not very good reasons, either, in my opinion, although that’s neither here nor there.)

Yes, things are considerably more expensive now than they were 5 years ago but it’s still possible to cook for yourself and still not break the bank. That’s all for this installment of my rant. Thanks for listening!