Organic Food in Bangkok: What You Need to Know

organic food in bangkok

Most of us know that eating healthy, pesticide-free food and exercising are the keys to long life

I believe that eating healthy food and working out will help me stay away from illnesses.

When I lived in America, I spent about two hours almost every day in the gym and shopping at health food stores.

But after I had an emergency c-section to deliver my first daughter in 2013, my health started to decline.

I suffered from high blood pressure, stomach pain, stress, and postpartum depression.

On April in 2014, my husband, daughter and I decided to move back to Thailand.

Later on that year I found out that I had gastritis, coloenteritis, and cancer-like tumors in my colon.

After one year of taking many medications, the serious stomach pain hadn’t gone away.

I decided to take care of my illness through exercise and diet, cooking my own meals with mostly a fresh variety of organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains.

My energy levels improved immediately and my illnesses began to fade.

Adding the right nutrition from whole food to my body to cure my illnesses has lead me to research more on organic foods in Thailand.

I love to cook so it’s important for me to know where I can buy cheap organic products in Bangkok, where the right places are to buy organic ingredients, and where to eat or have delivered delicious organic food.

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What is Organic Food?

Generally speaking, organic foods refer to food that is grown and produced using organic farming methods.

what is organic food
Nets like these can keep harmful predators out of crops and also reduce the need for farming chemicals.

Organic farming methods are free from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and harmful chemicals. But sometimes even organic foods may not be 100% free from chemicals.

Also, organic meat, eggs, and dairy refer to all animal products that are GMO-free.

Farmers use natural methods and focus more on being hygienic around the farms.

For example, farmers:

  • clean the animals houses to prevent them from getting sick
  • rotate animal grazing
  • feed animals a healthy, antibiotic-free diet

Keep in mind though that some foods may say “organic” on their packaging but may still contain harmful chemicals.

According to research by the Thailand Pesticide Alert Network, or Thai-PAN, small levels of pesticide residue on produce have been found.

Pesticides in hydroponic produce, for example, is some of the highest and more than the standard regulation.

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How Can You Tell if Food is Organic?

In Thailand, you often see vegetable and fruits labeled with the word “organic” or “pesticide-free.”

Yet, you can’t trust those words alone, unless you can track down where the foods come from or see the farming methods.

Instead, you should look for certified labels and logos to be sure a food is organic.

Both international and Thai certified labels used on organic foods in Thailand mean the farms followed international agriculture regulation, such as how to grow, store, process, pack, and ship organic products.

Still, requirements and rules of each logo below vary from country to country depending on participants and its government.

Below are some of the certified organic logos in Thailand you’ll see the most.

Organic Agriculture Standards Based on the International Organic Standards for Organic Agriculture (IFOAM). The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

European Union organic standards (the real logo must include the number and the source of country organic food provider). Organic Agriculture Certification Thailand.

Canada Organic Regime (COR). Canadian Inspection Agency (EFIA).

Organic Agriculture Standards organized by the National Organic Program (NOP) the US Department of Agriculture. Organic Agriculture Certification Thailand.

Japanese Organic Agricultural Standard. Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

Private organic certification system. Private certification of Italy.

System of Organic Certification Company from France. Organic certification company from France.

The Organic regulation of the European Union (EEC 2092/91). German certification body. There is a local representation in Thailand.

IFOAM Accreditation Programme. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Agricultural commodities standard (Lecture 9000, 1-2552) Organic Agriculture Volume 1. National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS), an agency under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.


Keep in mind that having international certificates like USDA ORGANIC, Bioagricert, ECO CERT, and OKO-GARANTIE doesn’t mean these foods come from another country.

These certificates mean the foods meet standards and regulations of these organizations, and may have branches in Thailand.    

It’s fine for any organic products to carry only one organic certificate. But it’s better to look for products that carry more than one to be sure what you buy meets the regulations of multiple countries

Recommended Organic Foods

You could spend a lot of money on organic ingredients or brands you’re familiar with when you live in Thailand.

recommended organic foods
Some organic produce is easier to find than others.

But if you can substitute them with local organic foods that are easier to find and cheaper to buy, you’ll save more money.

For example, you can buy local mulburries instead imported blueberries, or use Chinese broccoli (ka-na) instead of imported kale in your green smoothies.

You can even use Thai purple sweet potatoes instead of imported sweet potatoes.

Below is a list of organic foods that are cheap and easy to find in Thailand.

  • local sweet local potatoes: purple, yellow, or orange
  • organic Jasmine white or brown rice, red and rice burry.
  • green papaya
  • coconut water
  • coconut oil
  • fresh herbs: turmeric, ginger, basil, and cilantro, and Thai basil
  • Chinese broccoli
  • Chinese watercress
  • watercress
  • mixed salad
  • mushrooms: straw mushrooms (het fang), mouse-ear mushroom (het hu nu)
  • bananas

Prices

Why does buying organic food and produce usually cost more than buying conventional food?

Organic products typically cost two-to-three times more than their conventional equivalents, especially when you buy them in supermarkets.

For instance, it costs only 30 baht per kilo for non-organic carrots. Yet, the price can go up to 60 to 112 baht for organic carrots.

A kilo of non-organic broccoli is only 65 baht, but organic broccoli can cost 200 baht.

A fresh conventional chicken egg is 5 baht, but an organic egg is 8 baht to 10 baht.

There are four important reasons why organic food is more expensive.

First, organic farming methods are more labor intensive than conventional farming methods.

Even though organic farmers save money by not using chemicals, they spend more money on laborers to work the land.

Paying for laborers is actually more expensive than paying for chemicals.

Second, organic produce takes longer to grow than non-organic produce. It takes a lot longer for the farmers to harvest their produce.

Third, farmers must pay for the organic logos and certificates you see on organic food packages. And it may take some time before organizations get around to inspecting the farms.

Fourth, for organic meat, eggs, and dairy, farmers spend more money building the immunity of their animals by feeding them with organic food and clean water.

Fifth, free-range organic farmers need to have bigger properties for their animals to graze. Bigger properties means higher maintenance costs.

Tips for Saving Money

Now that you know why organic food is more expensive, I want to share two tips that’ll save you money when buying organic food in Thailand.

Tip number one: if you shop at supermarkets check the prices of each item on supermarkets’ websites or apps.

Supermarkets with grocery websites are Tops and Villa Market.

Smartphone apps are HappyFresh and Honestbee.

You can compare the prices of the same items between supermarkets and get deals and discounts.

Tip number two: you can save time and money on gas by shopping online. If you really need an organic product, and the store is out of your way, consider having it delivered.

Most online grocery stores offer discounts for first-time deliveries.

You can start by checking the supermarkets and apps above, but I’ll show you more options later on in this guide.

Keep in mind that not all organic products that you see in supermarkets are available online.  

Where to Buy Organic Food

Thais has been focusing more on healthy lifestyles and eating more organic foods. As a result, the number of places to buy organic food and the options for organic food have grown rapidly.

Some of these places are cheaper than others. Here are some options to find inexpensive, organic food.

Fresh Markets and Farmer Markets

Bangkok has an unlimited number of fresh markets and farmer markets to pick up produce. But here are the markets where you can get organic produce.

farmers market bangkok
You can find a lot of produce around the streets of Bangkok, but how do you know if it’s organic?

Natural Agriculture Farmer Market

The Weekly Natural Agriculture Farmer Market is an outstanding and reasonably price market for organic shoppers. It’s open every other weekend from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

The market is where farmers from the Tan-Tam-Ma Turakit Network bring their local and seasonal vegetable, fruits, fresh eggs, seafood, and may more to sell.

You can find natural processed goods and products such as honey, cold pressed herb juice, natural herb soaps, and the many kinds of familiar and unusual Thai takeaway foods.

The market also offers occasional Thai cooking, baking, and goods-making workshops like how to make brownies with organic brown rice flour and natural soaps and lotions.

At this market is a Thai restaurant called Yak Ga Jon, which opens Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. They serve healthy, home-cooked meals and brew fresh coffee.

The secret of their tasty foods is the fresh, local, seasonal organic ingredients from farmers in the Tan-Tam-Ma Turakit Network.

En Doherb Market

If you live around Thonburi, head to En Doherb Market for fresh and inexpensive organic produce, meat, dairy products, and various kinds of rice from farmers who are part of the market’s pesticide-free network.

The market is open everyday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

The highlight of this market is their ability to keep produce fresh using a misty water-spray system.

The market run is by Ms. Matita Wongpitarong who used to work on her parents farm. She wants to share her passion and help Thai farmers’ families who produce their organic products.

Bangkok Farmers Market

One of the most well-known organic food markets for Westerners in the center of one of Bangkok’s business areas, Sukhumvit, is Bangkok Farmers Market.

The market meets every other weekend in different locations:

This is the place to discover a variety of international and local seasonal vegetables and fruits, fresh seafood, baked goods, organic coffee, desserts, prepared food, and handmade and natural products.

The extraordinary variety of international fresh goods makes you feel like you’re walking around your hometown’s farmer market.   

What I like about this market is is that I can buy them right from the farmers, chefs, or producers. You can find many international homemade foods here prepared on the spot.

Items that I usually get from Bangkok Farmers Market are fresh homemade pesto sauce, humus, and organic coffee.  

Supermarkets

Although more expensive than markets, supermarkets are a great place to shop for organic products.

villa supermarket bangkok
While Bangkok’s farmer’s markets carry mostly local organic produce, Bangkok’s supermarkets carry international organic produce as well.

Villa Market

Villa Market is one of the more popular international supermarkets in Thailand. They carry various well-known organic brands.

So, if you’re looking for a specific items like Bob’s Red Mill, Westbrae Natural, Arrowhead, and Nature First, you’ve come to a right place.

For fresh organic produce, Villa offers international and specific locally grown vegetables such as leeks, arugula, kale, jalapeno; and fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or Italian parsley.

If I can’t find organic butter beans, garbanzo bean, and black beans in any other supermarket, even the ones that carry international organic items, I can find them at Villa.

Villa Market has many branches throughout Bangkok. Some branches might carry more international organic products than others.

For example, if you’re looking for something unique like organic Sunwarrior plant-based protein powder, one Villa Market might carry it but another may not.

You might want to visit Villa Market’s main branch in Watthana for specialty products.

For all other organic products you can visit Villa Market Thonglor, Villa Market – K Village in Khlong Toei, and Villa Market Little Walk in Bangna.

Gourmet Market, Central Food Hall, Tops Market, and Foodland

These supermarkets have lots of thing in common. They carry a variety of international and local organic items and brands.

Some example are Western fresh and frozen vegetable and fruits, multiple kinds of imported dried ingredients, Western style breakfasts, sauces, and condiments.

Keep in mind that prices for the same organic products could between the supermarkets supermarket.

For example, if you buy a bag of N&P brand organic carrots at Tops you pay 35 baht, but you pay 30 baht at Foodland.

Another example is Alce Nero organic spaghetti. You pay about 85 baht at Foodland, but you pay 95 baht at Tops.

But when shopping at the same supermarket in different branches, you pay the same prices for the same items.

You may find that Gourmet Market, Central Food Hall, Tops Market, and Foodland don’t carry the same organic products. Here’s a rundown of what you might find at each one.

Gourmet Market

I have gone there a couple of times to shop for tempeh and non-organic Korean chili powder, which I find hard to get in any other supermarkets.

What I like about this place is that they carry a big selection of local fresh organic vegetables and organic imported dried ingredients like Bob’s Red Mill as well as organic Sunwarrior plant-based protein powder.

The branches I like are in Siam Paragon and EmQuartier.

Central Food Hall and Tops Market

Both supermarkets are from the same company. But Central Food Hall has more selections on organic items than Tops.

If you’re looking for a specific organic produce, such as N&P, you’ve come to the right place.

Also, Tops Market and Central Food Hall have their organic vegetable farms and produce things like organic rice and rice pasta under their My Choice brand, which helps you save money.

Lemon Farm

Lemon Farm is a popular healthy lifestyle supermarket in Bangkok and its suburbs.

What I like about Lemon Farm is that they carry multiple kinds of organic and hard to find items such as dried beans, dried seaweed, miso paste, and natural brew homemade soy sauce from Japan.

Keep in mind that you should call to check the available items. Sometimes they only carry organic miso paste and soy sauce once or twice a year.

Lemon Farm also carries local river fish and seafood. Some branches offer local organic fresh-caught fish and seafood.

If you’re looking for bacon, ham, and chicken that don’t contain nitrates, nitrites, hormones, or other chemicals, Lemon Farm carries them too.

You can buy other hard-to-find items as garlic powder and ground Korean chili at Lemon Farm, along with local vegetables, seasonal fruits, imported organic apples, and natural and organic beauty products.

Radiance Wholefoods

If you’re looking for some specific organic overseas ingredients, you should visit Radiance Wholefoods.

This store offers both local and international ingredients, such as herbs and spices, seeds, nuts, beans, and lentils.

If you want a quick healthy snack, the store also has healthy snacks and homemade baked goods and yogurt.

Sunshine Market

If you want plant-based organic products or you’re looking for specific organic food brands, visit  SunShine Market.

The store carries popular organic food brands from America like Bob’s Red Mills and Sunwarrior. You can find a variety of beans, flour, nuts, and seeds from Red Bob’s Red Mills and Superfood from Sunwarrior.

The store has a cold-pressed juice bar where you can order fresh juices.

You can also eat healthy and fresh baked goods, snacks, and dessert, tempeh, nut butters, yogurts and ice cream, and natural body products.

Sangdad Health Mart

Sangdad Health Mart carries authentic Thai and local organic ingredients and foods.

When you come to this store, not only you can pick up grains, Thai herbs, teas, and juices, but you can also enjoy prepared healthy meals like salads.

Sangdad Health Mart offers free healthy cooking classes which only use salt and natural femeten soy sauces and seasonings.

While you’re there, you can also take a yoga class.

Sangdad Health Mart’s Thai cooking classes and yoga are in Thai language, so it’s also a great chance to practice your Thai.

How to Get Organic Food Delivered to You

You can find out how to get organic food delivered right to your door in this exclusive guide for our supporters.

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Where to Eat Organic Food

Like organic supermarkets, Bangkok has no shorter of organic restaurants. Here are a few to familiarize yourself with.

organic restaurants bangkok
From salads to salmon steaks, organic restaurants in Bangkok serve it all.

Sustaina Organic Restaurant

Thinking about organic Japanese food? Try Sustaina organic restaurant.

This restaurant uses good quality ingredients and pesticide-free vegetables that come from Harmony Life Organic Farm.

The restaurant also offer fresh organic vegetables, sauces, and condiments for customers to take away.

  • Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Sunday and Holidays 10:30 AM to 8:30 PM   
  • Location: 1/40 Soi Sukhumvit 39, (Phrom Phong), Klong Tun Nua,
  • Website: http://harmonylife.co.th/en/restaurant

Be Organic by Lemon Farm

Here you can enjoy organic fresh juices, smoothies, and the tastes of original Thai dishes.

Some recommend dishes on the menu are Tom Yam salmon fried rice, mushroom chili paste dipping with fresh seasonal vegetables, fruit salad, and vegetable soup.

Most of their fresh vegetables, fruit, and ingredients come from organic farms in Lemon Farm’s network.

Broccoli Revolution

For those who want to take a break on eating meat, Broccoli Revolution is organic Western Vegan restaurant with tasty dishes.

Popular dishes that you should try are the broccoli quinoa charcoal burger, pumpkin mac and cheese, and Indian chickpea curry.

The restaurant also serves fresh cold-pressed juices, smoothies, healthy desserts like acai berry bowl topped with superfoods, and Kombucha tea.

Now, on to You

Bangkok offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to organic food. I’ve offered an overview to help you.

But to make your search easier, head over to HappyFresh where you can compare prices of organic food from most of the supermarkets I’ve mentioned in this guide.

HappyFresh will even pick out and deliver your products right to your door.

Featured image by Jeremy Keith.

2 comments
  1. Thanks for the interesting organic food article.

    I live in Thailand and would love to eat more REAL organic food.
    I do all my grocery shopping in the premium supermarkets such as Gourmet Market.
    I am prepared to pay a reasonable price premium for organic food. Unfortunately there is a big misuse by Thai companies of certification seals on their self proclaimed organic food.
    Often the organic claim is nothing but a bluff and a way for the Thai producers to increase their prices.
    I have read numerous tests that show organic certified food containing harmful pesticides.
    As usual there is no enforcement in Thailand to put an end to this misconduct.
    I believe imported organic food is safer but then again it will be considerably more expensive the the local Thai products.

    Here is an interesting link about the abuse –
    https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1420766/organic-food-can-still-bedevil-your-health

    1. Thanks for the link and reply, Thomas. Seems the Bangkok Post article mentions the same thing we mentioned above about the Thailand Pesticide Alert Network testing.

      If you have any other studies I’d love to read them as this is an important topic for me.

      Thanks!

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