The food in Chiang Mai is one of the major reasons it has long been known as the cultural center of Northern Thailand. From the regionally famous Khao Soi to national dishes like Pad Thai, all of the food is mouthwatering. Occasionally, I was so excited to scarf down a meal that I forgot to take a picture beforehand, but I managed to create a little bit of food porn you can see in the gallery below.
My Favorite Food in Chiang Mai
The number one meal that stole the show for me in Chiang Mai is from one of the most famous food stalls in the city – Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak. Known more commonly as the cowboy hat lady at the Chang Phueak market, she cooks up some of the best stewed pork in the world. She has been featured by Anthony Bordain and various cooking competitions. Separate from the actual meal, there is also this amazing sauce on each table that I loved. I would even go so far as to say it is as uniquely delicious as Sol Food’s special sauce in San Rafael, California.
Other Favorite Foods
Apart from the obvious favorites like pad thai and pad see yoo, I really enjoyed the chicken with cashew nuts wherever I had it and all of the curries. Specifically, Massaman curry was my favorite curry. I have always been a fan of spicy foods, and Thai food is the perfect level.
One famous, local dish I actually didn’t enjoy was Khao Soi. I know, I know, it is the traditional dish of the region! But really, the sweet coconut broth was not my style. Both times I had it, the crispy noodles would get soggy before I could devour them and I was left with some soggy, fried noodles in a coconut broth I didn’t drink. I will definitely give it another shot in the future, though.
Where to Eat in Chiang Mai
While not all of the restaurants and street food areas of Chiang Mai are in the square city center, I mainly stuck to that the downtown area.
Chiang Puak Market
The number one spot on my list is the Chiang Puak Market. It is located just outside the Chiang Puak Gate and hosts a bunch street food vendors at night. Unsurprisingly, this is where the cowboy hat lady and other top-notch street is available.
Sunday Walking Street
Another incredible food area only rears its beautiful head on Sunday evenings. The Sunday walking street is the big night market event in Chiang Mai. Along with tons of shopping, there are two huge blocks dedicated to food. You can find all of the classic dishes like sticky rice with mango and pad thai to more unique stands like noodle soup with duck.
The Chiang Mai night bazaar is a crowded square outside of the old city with live music and food. Even though it has only been open for just over one year, it is already a popular spot among travelers. Local Thai food and international options fill the perimeter of the area, which surrounds the tables, seats, and band.
Do you have any tips or experiences on the food in Chiang Mai? Please comment and share below!
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