Thai food is known for its versatility. Most Thai dishes can easily incorporate a variety of proteins, such as fish, shrimp, chicken, and tofu. However, for individuals who follow certain diets, such as vegetarianism or veganism, finding dishes in Thai restaurants that meet their guidelines can be a bit of a challenge.
Of course, some vegans and vegetarians are stricter than others. Many vegans and vegetarians allow themselves a bit of fish and other seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, or oysters, in their diets once in a while. If this is the case, it will be much easier for these individuals to find food they can order at Thai restaurants. However, for those following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, they will have to make a few extra requests or examine the menu extra carefully.
Two primary ingredients in many Thai dishes are fish sauce and oyster sauce. Fish sauce is made by fermenting fish and adding salt. Fish sauce adds a robust flavor to many Thai meals, including pad Thai noodle dishes, as well as curry recipes. Although it is heavily used in Thai restaurants, most will be able to accommodate requests for no fish sauce in their dishes. This is also especially important if any patrons have seafood allergies.
Oyster sauce is traditionally made by cooking oysters in simmering water until they create a thick, brown liquid. In other recipes, cornstarch and sugar are added to the cooking oysters to create a sauce. For true vegans and vegetarians, they will need to request that oyster sauce is not used in the dishes that they order.
In many cases, soy sauce or other condiments may be used as a substitute for fish sauce and oyster sauce. Vegetarian and vegan dishes should still be flavorful, especially with all of the wonderful spices that Thai dishes incorporate. Salt may also be used as an alternative in some dishes.
Thai cuisine, like many other types of ethnic foods, incorporates very little dairy into its recipes. Instead, a major staple in Thai recipes is coconut milk. Coconut milk gives many Thai recipes their creamy appearance. This makes finding suitable dishes much easier for those who follow a vegan diet.
Many Thai restaurants are happy to accommodate requests for using vegetables in a dish instead of chicken or seafood. Additionally, most Thai restaurants offer steamed or fried tofu as a protein in their entrees.
S.T. Noodle Bar (STNB), a modern Thai noodle restaurant in Long Beach that opened up earlier this year offers authentic Thai dishes, especially noodle options. http://longbeach.stnb.co