NOM NOM NOM
My name is Ryan and I am a hummus addict. Wew, that felt good to get off my chest. Feeding my hippty dippity cravings for hummus, or especially vegan pizza in Thailand, is nigh impossible. But I’ve managed to somehow acquire hummus, convince a pizza joint to forgo the cheese of a pizza pie, and use hummus instead. In Thailand. It wasn’t an easy feat. Here’s how it happened and how I helped found Thailand’s very first vegan hummus pizza.
If you want to just know where to find hummus and vegan pizza, go to the bottom. But the back story is pretty great.
HATERS BE HATIN’ //
First thing first, for any and all vegan and vegetarian haters out there, move along. I don’t have time for the bacon rants, and besides — this pizza is bombdiggity. I also brought along my friend Derek of The HoliDAZE to try it, who is notorious for eating anything and everything from brains to…bull penis. I figured if he could like my crazy blasphemous vegan pizza than everyone will.
Also, I know. Pizza in Thailand, really? I went to Thailand and searched for pizza of all things?!
Yes I did. Myanmar spoiled me, because they have an enormous variety of vegan/vego friendly foods and though the south near Yangon has pork galore, the north favors “Thet Thet Loh” which means no animal products in Myanmar and dishes are packed with fresh vegetables and salads and tea leaves. It was glorious.
After my trip in Myanmar, I’ve spent the past couple of months around Cambodia and Thailand. I love Southeast Asian foods from pad seeyu to fried rice. But communicating no egg or dairy or seafood has proven a bit difficult in the smaller towns where almost no English is spoken. The Thai and Khmer words I tried to learn for vegetarian or vegan or the to say no to ingredients didn’t seem to translate over.
Countries aren’t made to cater to us but to their own people, so I couldn’t get mad, but of course on occasion it can get frustrating. So I stuck to fried rice mainly or fried noodles, which when I tell them no meat and no egg, that doesn’t mean they give me extra veggies either. I’ve fried-riced myself to death, and I was hankering for some hummus.
IT WAS EASY IN MELBS //
Melbourne is super vegan and vego friendly, and even my friends who aren’t go to restaurants specifically for the food. It’s that good. I knew going forth that it would get a bit more difficult, at least for variety, but I didn’t foresee the impact of not having a place to cook meals myself would have. I used to eat about 1kg of veggies and 500g of hummus every night, sprinkled in with snacks or smoothies. Now that I’m traveling, I don’t have that luxury, and oddly enough struggle to find stalls that sell fresh fruit and vegetables in these small towns.
I’VE GOT A FEVER //
And the only cure was hummus. It swept over me, this sudden craving, and I needed my fix. When I mentioned to Derek “all I want is a tub of hummus to eat with a spoon and bathe in” even he got on the chickpea train and joined in my obsession to find some.
We searched everywhere.
High and low, big chain grocery stores to small international shops. Cambodia to Thailand, Google translate fails and miming embarrassments. Have you ever tried to communicate the word hummus to someone who’s never seen or heard of it in their life?
I even found a shop that sold almond milk…but no hummus.
BANGKOK, I LOVE YOU //
I never thought I’d say that, but Bangkok is where I finally found my hummus drug. But as the Fates would have it, and wanted a laugh at my expense, I found hummus when I had no money to buy it. There it was in all it’s shining glory and I was salivating, and I wept. For an ATM stole my bank card that day and I had no money.
After days of waiting and friends helping from abroad, I received a cash advance and a new bank card. What was the first thing I did? I bought 6 containers of that godly dip.
TIME FOR PIZZA GLORY //
So how did this epic vegan hummus pizza come about? In the daydreams about it while in Cambodia I mentioned to Derek that I made up a recipe at my old job where I replaced the cheese with hummus overtop the sauce, and if you baked it well done, the hummus solidifies into a creamy cheese-like topping.
He was sold.
Enter Pizzeria Sofia.
In between Rayong and Ban Phe which is around 2 hours east of Bangkok, there is a small strip of beach lined with condos and older retirees. Derek has been here for months living, and while visiting him, we went out one night for pizza. My half of course was all vegetarian and no cheese. That is a compromise, but it still isn’t great. When the owner asked about it, I told her that I’m vegan and cannot eat cheese and sometimes I put hummus instead. She got curious. There are a lot of visitors to the town that are vegetarian, so she knew a bit about it, but she wanted to know what hummus was and try it. She told me that if I brought some back, she would make one for me.
And so it happened after I returned from Bangkok carrying the hummus and we created Thailand’s first vegan hummus pizza.
Now, I don’t truly know if it is, but given the difficulty in finding hummus, I think I founded the first and this pizza place created the first. I’m calling dibs!
- Homemade dough, check.
- Fresh vegetables, check.
- A willing pizza place, check.
- An owner and chef trained in Italy, check.
- Heaping helpings of hummus, check.
After cooking the dough golden, spread the sauce and then the hummus on top with veggies after. Fire in the oven until charred and until the hummus is baked. Grab a cold beer and dig in, food-gasms will ensue.
HUMMUS ANIHILATION //
See the shear happiness on my face? That is one helluva tasty pizza, even for non-vegans. Derek, after moping a bit for not being able to put pepperoni on top, devoured his slices just the same as I did, and all we could do is mumble and Mmmm for there was stopping until it was gone.
We went back a second time for it.
Pizzeria Sofia is awesome for not only catering to my weird request, but getting excited about it. They photographed it as much as Derek and I. The owner, a Slovakian guy who lived in Italy for over 10 years, told us about his newly opened pizza shop themed by the Italian ethos of pizza making he learned, while making sure every ingredient is homemade and fresh. Every tile in the pizzeria was hand-painted by him. That’s how much this small town pizza joint cares. And the staff are so great, they make stellar pizza, and they are always smiling and chatty with you. Go there, it’s worth the ride from Bangkok. Just remember to bring your own hummus!
Pizzeria Sofia did say they’d add the vegan hummus pizza to their menu though! Let’s hope they name it the Ryan Special.
FINDING HUMMUS // Want to find hummus in Bangkok? Go to Tops grocery store near the vegetable section. The one I went to is in Silom under a shopping mall.
The brand is “Yumi’s Hommus”.
FINDING VEGAN PIZZA IN BKK//
Most pizza places in Bangkok can probably do pizza with no cheese. There may even be a handful of vegan friendly restaurants that do vegan style pizza. But a vegan hummus pizza?
Don’t just go and buy hummus and rock up to a pizza joint demanding they put it on. Find a local run pizza shop, not a chain, and order a pizza with no cheese. Eat there, spark a conversation, laugh with them, and then ask them if you can bring some hummus to put on next time. Chances are it’ll be fine.
When you eat a vegan hummus pizza promise mexyou’ll send a photo!