One of the reasons Chiang Mai is such a popular base for expats is the food. From Thai to International and from street food to restaurants, Chiang Mai has more quality restaurants per capita than I’ve experienced in any other city in Thailand let alone any other country! Whether you’re into fine International dining or strictly a vegetarian you’ll find your fix in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The following is a travel food featuring local Thai food, Northern Thai cuisine, street food, International cuisine, Southeast Asian delights and vegetarian restaurants for all budgets from backpacker to flashpacker:
1) Many visit Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai for experiences other than food; however, for those who visit Wat Suan Dok nestled behind the temple is a great Thai vegetarian restaurant called Pun Pun (Imm Aim). We ordered vegetarian spring rolls, mixed salad, Indian roti and curry set along with a sticky coconut rice dessert – all were excellent!
2) Indulging in Northern Thai delicacies is an absolute must in Chiang Mai. The most famous of dishes, Khao Soi, is done to perfect at Peppermint cafe. With a coconut curry base, boiled and crispy noodles and select vegetables (meat or chicken is optional) its a signature dish you’ll likely be having more than once. In many ways it is similar to Thai Massaman curry. On the plus side, it is one of the most inexpensive meals you can find in Northern Thailand coming in at around 30 to 60 Baht.
3) One simply cannot come to Chiang Mai and skip out on the Saturday Night market. We were just going to go for a walk but instead we ended up feasting on twist potatoes, blueberry cheesecake ice cream, pan-friend dumplings, dim sum, chocolate and banana roti, YES! We were full by the end but our wallets weren’t stretched that much as Thai street food is inexpensive.
4) A proper Northern Thai meal is something called a Khantoke set meal. Always including sticky rice many different curries, pork sausage and pickled dishes are presented in wicker baskets to enjoy.
5) Not far from our Thai apartment is a wonderful night market specializing in Thai street food stalls. One of our favorites is yellow egg noodles with dumplings in a soup broth. So good, so cheap!
6) One of my favorite desserts in the world (not just in Thailand) is mango sticky rice with coconut milk drizzled over top. It’s the kind of dish you’ll want all to yourself as sharing means less bites for you 😉
7) When it comes to Thai street food the ubiquitous Thai banana chocolate pancake has been sustaining backpackers for decades. Popular for good reason this dish can be eaten as a snack, dessert or for breakfast.
8) Pad Thai, possibly the most over-rated Thai dish, well known around the world. It’s worth trying (at a restaurant or on the street) but don’t limit yourself to just having this kind of meal when in Thailand. You may be surprised to know that many Thais find it kind of bland and boring.
9) For the best vegetarian food in Chiang Mai head over to Salad Concept where you can create your own wraps and/or salads with a plethora of different fresh ingredients. It is popular with hipster Thais, so you know it is good.
10) Finally, if you’re in the mood for Korean food be sure to check out Korea House for great Korean pancakes and Korean dumplings.
This video is for all of our Korean fans.
What are some of your favorite Thai foods? Did we cover your favorite restaurants in Chiang Mai? Where did we miss?