Our founder May holiding a plate of vegan magenta dragonfruit ice cream cake.
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About May Kaidee - The History

Over the past 37 years May Kaidee has experienced many chapters. Coming out of the global pandemic having closed all but our NYC location, we are now beginning a new chapter. We have reopened our Chiang Mai location and opened a new Bangkok location not far from the previous ones we had operated for three decades.

May Kaidee began as a street cart in Bangkok, transforming into a small restaurant, and years later rising to a peak of operating six restaurants in three countries (Thailand, Cambodia and the U.S.). In March of 2020 May Kaidee was suddenly reduced to a fraction of its former self. We were forced to close all of our Thailand locations and drastically reduce our business in the U.S. May found herself once again cooking by herself without a staff, but this time in the U.S. In a sense May Kaidee had returned to its very origin – a solo chef with a wok and a mission. As the pandemic becomes less of a factor on the restaurant dining and travel, we're entering a new chapter having reopened our Chaing Mai location and a new Bangkok location. Once again May Kaidee food can be found in our two main Thai cities in addition to New York City.

About Our Food

Our recipe catalog was created by May the founder while running a street cart in an alley of old Bangkok in 1988, and the recipes have remained unchanged ever since. May's recipes though were inspired by hundreds of years old recipes (and some even thousands of years old) from various parts of Thailand. Most significantly is the influence from North-East Thailand (known as Isaan) where flavors are typically bold, agressive and unique even among South-East Asian cusines. To a foreign palate, Isaan cooking can at times be perceived as idiosyncratic while rewarding. Also influencial on May Kaidee recipes are Cental Thai dishes, beginning with our version of Green Curry (Gaeng Keaw Waan in Thai) full of distinctive Thai eggplants, naturally spherical with green and white tiger stripes that are the perfect size for resting in the palm of one's hand. The influence of southern Thai dishes as well, most notably our popular Massaman curry, a hearty Thai-Indian dish made with yellow curry powder, red chili paste, an abundance of vegetables including the rarely used ingredient in Thai cooking – potato. In addition we offer a selection of salads, soups, noodle dishes and desserts.

New York City was a natural choice for our first U.S. location. There is widespread interest in Thai cooking here as well as vegan cuisines, and New York is one of the few U.S. cities where it's possible to perpetually source a complete array of fresh Thai ingredients. Quality Thai eggplants, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and Thai basil are all available here year around in part due to the spread of knowledge in recent years about growing Thai ingredients in North America. Over time we hope to push the boundaries of possbility while making ever more authentic Thai food here in the Western Hemisphere.

Sourcing locally when possible is also important to us in our effort to continually try ways of reducing our carbon footprint. While taste is the most important factor when choosing fresh ingredients, we belive that sourcing ingredients and food production in general is about more than simply how a recipe tastes or is presented. Also important is the impact on the environment and whether ingredients were harvested using ethnical means. While we're not yet able to able to optimally source all of our ingredients, we make an effort each day to do so. Additionally, we source organic ingredients as much as possible, partciularly for ingredients such as tofu and oil, and the vast majority our menu items are gluten free. We use almost exlclusively gluten free ingredients including the soy sauce used in our recipes.

Ceramic bowls of Thai ingredients on a rustic wood table.

About Our Beverages

We don't offer a large range of beverages, but we spend lots of time and energy into perfecting each one. Our most popular beverage is our signature ginger pomegranate tea. Like all of our teas, we believe most recipes should be treated just as we do our food dishes, and that is to always use fresh ingredients. Most tea is traditionally made with the dried leaves from what is known as a "tea" plant or in the case of herbal teas, a variety of different leaves and flowers. There are practical reasons why dried ingredients are the most popular in the production of tea, however it is our belief that the best tea is made using primarily fresh ingredients. Often one who is only accustomed to dry ingredient tea is pleasantly surprised by the fresh invigorating taste of our ginger pomegrantate tea made with all fresh ingredients. The difference in taste compared to traditional tea making can be an awakening experience.

"Thai" tea though is the one tea we offer which remains in a category of its own. Made of primarily dry ingredients, it contains a blend of several different spices in addition to black tea leaves. The result is a diverse range of flavors bound in harmony that is a delight to the senses. Our house blend of Thai tea includes black tea leaves, cloves, cardamom seeds, cinnamon and star anise.

Plum smoothie

About Dietary Requirements, Special Requests and Organic Ingredients

Often our customers have special requests concerning the preparation of our dishes, and we always try our best to accommodate those requests.

If you have dietary requirements please contact us by email at veginfo@maykaidee.com or phone at 917 443 7885 and we can discuss whether our kitchen can acommodate your needs. We can make our dishes including or excluding any ingredient, and with enough advance notice we can even source particular brands of ingredients that you prefer.

We source organic ingredients when possible, and our ultimate goal is to become 100% organic. Currently many of the primary ingredients in our dishes are organic such as the tofu, oil and as much of the produce as possible.

Quinoa stew in a white bowl with a beet root chip.

Gluten-free dishes

Nearly all of the dishes on the menu at our NYC location are gluten-free. Since most of our dishes are rice based and we use gluten-free soy sauce, we can make all but a few of our dishes gluten-free. Our Pad Thai, Pad See U, Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles), Green Curry, Massaman Curry, Red Curry, Panang Curry, Glass Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms, Tom Yam soup, Tom Kha soup, Noodle Coconut Milk Soup and fresh Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) are all gluten-free.

Noodle salad on a decorative ceramic plate.

A note about large delivery orders

If you would like to place a large delivery or takeout order for a time sensitive event, we recommend that you instead consider having one of our chefs cook the meal at your location if a kitchen is available. The price of sending one of chefs to your location is typically only slightly more than the price of ordering from our menu. Furthermore, some of our dishes are best eaten immediately after being cooked. This is particularly true for our noodle dishes such as Pad See U and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles).

Please let us know if you have any questions about our personal chef services by calling 917 443 7885 or sending an email to veginfo@maykaidee.com.

Students with green aprons and headscarves cooking Thai food on gas woks.

Culinary Art Classes

We enjoy sharing our knowledge of Thai cuisine and culture by offering a variety of fruit carving and cooking classes. Join us for an afternoon introductory class in fruit carving where you will learn how to add a centuries old Thai tradition to your culinary repertoire. First time students are welcome. Prior experience with carving or sculpture is not required. Click here to register now for a fruit carving class

For those interested in an introduction to Thai cooking we recommend attending our chili paste making class. During this class students learn how to make one of the most important base ingredient in Thai cooking. Instruction includes how to make Tom Yam, red and green chili pastes, followed by learning how to make three dishes using the freshly made chili paste. Each dish is enjoyed by the students after making it. We teach the instruction using traditional equipment including a mortar and pestle, while explaning how the recipes can be made at home using modern equipment as well. Click here to register now for a chili paste making class

Mushroom bowl

The Antithesis of Fast Food

Of sober mind we have knowingly taken on the immense challenge of bringing authentic Thai vegan cuisine to New York City despite the heavy odds against our long term success.

Our initiative began with a one year popup in Murray Hill beginning in 2016. We eventually found a space on East Broadway which met our needs for continuing to offer a growing number of our plant-based recipes.

We are a restaurant, but we also offer cooking classes nearly every day of the year along with the occasional sampling of authentic Thai culture through dance and music. If sincere culinary experience is what you seek, you have found the appropriate destination. We also have locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand, where our original recipe catalog was developed 30 years ago by the founder May. In total our locations are managed and operated by a network of family and friends who currently or have previously lived in Thailand.

We value our customers’ time though our food also requires a slow cooked process, which means striving to strike a balance between wait time and quality. We do however improve our efficiency by a fraction each day, continually looking at ways to decrease the time it takes to complete an order. We will never have the capability to serve meals as quickly as fast casual establishments, but we will over time reach an apex of efficiency without sacrificing quality and distinctiveness.

If you are in a rush, then this moment would not be suitable to experience a meal with us. But for those times when you do have 20 minutes prior to your meal, to meditate on the positive aspects of your day against a background of classical Thai music, enjoy a cup of ginger pomegranate tea, or utilize our Wifi to keep up with current events through quiet focus, we assure you that the wait will be well rewarded – to indulge yourself in unique plant-based Thai cuisine.

We appreciate your curiosity and look forward to your visit. There is nothing we enjoy more than to serve you our food made with love, in the hope that it nourishes your body and soul like none you have experienced before.

The May Kaidee Team