Your Chiang Mai Food Guide to the Best-Kept Local Street Food Secrets
Chiang Mai gives Bangkok a run for its money with its delicious Northern Lanna cuisine readily available. All over this northern city, you’ll find stalls run by friendly locals cooking up a storm with their delicious fresh produce. Our Chiang Mai food guide will help you discover the best ones to try
If your stomach is rumbling, read on for our favorites.
Kad Suan Kaew
Find an evening food market in front of Kad Sun Kaew shopping center. Open from Thursday to Saturday. Fifty street vendors sell delicious dishes from bean sprout omelet wraps to mushroom hot pots.
Unlike most outdoor eateries, these stalls don’t have their own seating areas. Instead, you’ll get a memorable experience sitting in the communal seating area. There is also a line of massage chairs in front of a serenading guitar player.
Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak (Cowboy Hat Lady)
At the North Gate or Chang Puak Gate, one of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai, enjoy a feast of Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. This market is set up every day from 5 pm. Vendors plate up pad thai, chicken satay, sticky mango rice, and steamed pork buns.
If you’re an avid Anthony Bourdain fan, you’ll remember the Cowboy Hat Lady. This lady, you guessed it, is famous for donning a 10-gallon cowboy hat. She also serves the best khao kha moo in Chiang Mai.
Khao kha moo is a Thai-style roasted pork leg cooked in Chinese five-spice served with a medium-boiled egg. It is delicious and perfect, homely meal.
The Night Bazaar offers the biggest selection of food in Chiang Mai. It stretches along the whole length of Chang Klan Road. It is also the most touristy part of the city. Here there are street food vendors, bars, restaurants, and massage shops to discover. You’ll find Thai food, but also a mix of Western dishes.Quality beef burgers, pizzas, and Italian pasta are served from food trucks.
Chiang Mai Gate South Gate
At the South Gate, you’ll find Thai delicacies divided into two sections. One side is dedicated to snacks like grilled meats on a stick, sai oua (a grilled spicy herb sausage) and fried egg rolls. The other section serves bowls of rice and traditional fried noodles in a mouth-watering broth. Find your favorite by lifting the lids to see which smells best.
Located also at North Gate is Suki Koka. Their Thai suki is a hit. They serve this dish wet or day complete with vegetables cooked with mung bean noodles and a mix of seafood or your favorite meat. Or try the suki nam talay, a soup made from different seafood like the squid, shrimp, and fish balls.
If you love roast chicken (or Thailand’s ka yang), you’re in for a treat. This Isaan dish is popular throughout Thailand where a whole chicken is cut in half. It is then marinated and slowly grilled over a low charcoal flame.
This dish is often accompanied with som tam (green papaya salad) and sticky rice. As it is slow-cooked, the meat is juicy with a satisfying crunch from the crispy skin. The ka yang is also sweet from the marinade but complements the acidity of the som tam.
Kiat Ocha has been around since 1957. It specializes in Hainanese chicken rice, a Southern Chinese dish. It comprises a whole poached chicken served with rice, a chicken broth soup, and a gorgeous dark soy sauce mixed with red chili and garlic.
This stall is a perfect lunch spot as they close at 3 pm. It is also famous for its moo satay which comprises ten sticks of pork satay accompanied by a cucumber relish and peanut sauce.
Sri Wattana and Thanin Markets
Both markets are open-aired in an area called Santitham. One market is full of fresh takeaway items like packaged curries, noodles, and soups. The other is a huge canteen serving up the best Thai dishes. During lunch, Siriwattana and Tharin are busy with locals. You can find delicious duck noodles accompanied with a papaya salad for the yummiest lunch.
The Sunday Walking Street Market
Not sure where to eat in Chiang Mai? Head here. Wat Phan On, at the Eastern end of Soi Ratchadamnoen. It has the largest concentration of vendors where you can eat inside the grounds of a beautifully lit temple.
You can feast on everything from vegan pancakes to sushi. Everything is well-priced, and the atmosphere makes an unforgettable experience. It’s open, you guessed it, every Sunday from 4 pm to midnight.
Huay Tung Tao
If you want to escape the touristy part of Chiang Mai, head to Huay Tung Tao lake which is located outside the city center. Vendors serve up hot and cold dishes alongside refreshing drinks. Visitors can sit in one of the bamboo huts that surround the lake. You can, therefore, dip your feet as you chow down some spicy Thai cuisine.
Just north of China Town, you’ll find the best street food in Chiang Mai. Warorot Market is a multi-level shopping market filled with street food like sausages, streamed pork or seafood balls and grilled chicken.
Even though this market has a heavy Chinese influence, the street vendors produce the most authentic Northern Thai dishes. Try khanom jeen, thin white noodles or fermented rice vermicelli with a soup of your choice. Chicken in coconut curry soup, fish balls in curry soup or pork blood soup are options here.
The vendor will keep topping up your vegetables with raw string beans, basil, bean sprouts, pickled mustard greens, and cabbage. And for an additional charge, you can add fried pork grind and eggs.
Now You’ve Read the Chiang Mai Food Guide, Where Will You Eat?
It’s essential to refer to a Chiang Mai food guide as you hunt down the best food stalls. Whether it’s in the touristy Night Market to the quiet, Huay Tung Tao, visitors can enjoy authentic and delicious Thai food. But now we’re faced with the first problem – where to start?
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