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Thai Vegetarian Fast Food Sandwiches

Vegetarians have no problem finding dishes to eat in Thailand. Popular destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket have many vegetarian restaurants — while most upcountry destinations have at least one or two vegetarian eateries. In addition, it is often easy to order vegetarian variations of many delicious Thai dishes at regular restaurants.

However, what if you are on the go, and would love to get a quick vegetarian sandwich to eat while sightseeing in Thailand? In the past, that kind of Thai vegetarian fast food would be hard to come by, even in Bangkok. Instead, grabbing some Thai fruit was the “go-to” fast food for vegetarian travelers — and that is still a good choice, because Thailand has a wide array of delicious fruit you likely have never had before!

But there are times when Western vegetarians (especially those who grew up eating fast food like burgers, hot dogs, and cold cut sandwiches) wish they could get a veggie or meat-free sandwich in Thailand. Now they can. The Thai company Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) has developed surprisingly tasty fast-food vegetarian burgers for sale at many 7-11 stores in Thailand, as well as at large grocery stores such as Tesco Lotus and Makro.

The new vegetarian line of Thai sandwiches is sold under the brand name Meat Zero, and currently it includes a fish burger and chicken burger. Now, before we go any further, we should state that any highly processed fast food shouldn’t be considered healthy food, but rather something that one eats occasionally because you are pressed for time or have a fast food craving.

Having said that, it may be true that Meat Zero vegetarian sandwiches are healthier than the heavily processed meat sandwiches sold at 7-11 or fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC. Meat Zero fish burgers and chicken burgers are vegan friendly, and contain no MSG, antibiotics, hormones, or (of course) meat. The soy and other plant-based ingredients are Non GMO.

 

The Best Thai Vegetarian Burger
From Thailand. Meat Zero’s Fish Burger (เบอร์เกอร์ปลา) with a slice of cheese added.

 

However, the most important thing about Meat Zero sandwiches is that they are delicious! We accidentally grabbed two of their vegetarian fish burgers at a 7-11 recently, had the counter person throw them in the microwave, and then happily ate them next door at the Cafe Amazon while drinking a coffee. While eating we were thinking how good these fish burgers were for a Thai fast food burger from 7-11. It wasn’t until we were almost finished eating that we noticed Meat Zero on the eco-friendly recycled packaging. In fact, we would have to say it was the best vegetarian burger we have ever eaten from a fast food outlet. A few days later, we tried the Thai chicken burger and were equally impressed.

The consistency, flavor, spicy mayo sauce, and bun on Meat Zero burgers all are good (relatively speaking) — and are nothing like what you typically get when buying an imitation meat burger. Using “Plant-Tec” food technology that was developed in part with the help from food scientists at Chulalongkorn University and Mae Fah Luang University, Charoen Pokphand Foods worked for over 2 years and conducted over 2,000 experiments until they finally were able to get just the right taste and texture in these non-meat Thai sandwiches.

Meat Zero is selling an expanding line of vegetarian products, such as spicy bologna, crispy pork, minced meat, chicken nuggets, and ready-to-eat meals, such as spaghetti with plant-based meat sauce and the Thai favorite Pad Krapao, but we have not yet tried them, so we can’t comment on how delicious they are. The price for their vegetarian Thai burgers is 39 baht (about $1) at 7-11. If you don’t understand Thai, the counter person will ask you “Wave mai kha?” which means “Would you like me to microwave it for you?” Just nod your head in agreement or answer “Chai kha/khrap,” and enjoy a delicious, hot vegetarian burger in Thailand.

If you are looking for Meat Zero’s vegetarian burgers in Sakon Nakhon, and the 7-11 nearest you doesn’t carry them, try the 7-11 next to Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University. That 7-11 often has a better selection of products because it serves so many university students.