I loved the food in Thailand more than I loved the food in any other country I visited in Asia. This was in large part due to Chiang Mai and everything I consumed while there. I want to share my list of restaurants with the best Chiang Mai food you’ll ever have.
Outside of Paris and Italy, it was some of the best dishes I’ve eaten in my entire life.
I’m going to keep the post short and sweet and to the point. Here are a list of my favorite restaurants and places I don’t think you should miss on a trip to Chiang Mai.
Read more helpful post on traveling to Chiang Mai including finding the perfect elephant sanctuary to visit, experiencing the Lantern Festival, taking a cooking class, and traveling by slow boat to Luang Prabang.
Location: Within the gates of the Wat Si Koet temple, or the Night Market
Si Phum, Mueang, Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200
This guy from Republic Coffee makes the best Thai Iced tea you will ever taste. I promise you that. I passed this place everyday on the way to and from my hostel and went EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING to get an iced tea.
At just 40 Baht ($1.25) for each delicious beverage, it was the daily caffiene addiction I just had to have. That’s less than my daily bodega coffee in New York.
The large orange van is hard to miss. So grab a drink to go or sit at one of the picnic tables and enjoy the tea. It’s a great place to journal or map out a plan for the day. You won’t regret making this a daily routine.
This guy was such an essential part of mine and my friends daily routine in Chiang Mai. Of course we just had to get a selfie with him.
Location: 7/1 Rahadamnoen Rd Soi 5
I don’t believe they have anything on the menu that isn’t good or wouldn’t be worth ordering. However, this was by far my favorite place to have Khao Soi (the best dish in Thailand).
It’s a good idea to go with a couple people to order a lot and share. Me and my best friend could barely finish everything we got for just the two of us. The papaya salad and spicy northern sausage plate are to die for.
The only thing I wouldn’t have ordered again was the glass noodle dish. It was a little too bland for my taste buds. I love my food spicy!
Khao Kha Moo (pork leg)
Location: Chang Phuek Market
You might know this famous Khao Kha Moo place from an episode of Anthony Bourdain Part’s Unknown. It was how I heard about it. Although I didn’t love every place Anthony Bourdain told me to go, this place is five thousand percent worth the hype and easy to spot by the owner wearing her staple cowboy hat.
There’s just one thing on the menu so get your steaming plate of rice and pork legs (so tender they literally melt in your mouth), add some spicy sauce and enjoy the half a minute it will take you to eat all of it.
It’s a heaping amount of food, but you’ll barely take breaths in between bites because it’s THAT good.
Chang Phuek Night Market
Location: just outside the north gate of the old city walls
If you still have room after you eat the cowboy hat pork legs, wander around this market and fill up on the dishes offered (or come back on another night like we did).
I did some of my more adventurous eating at this small local food market. With the fresh, raw creatures on display in front of each shop, pick a place that’s not too crowded, sit at one of the metal tables and pick whatever items stick out to you.
Then wash it all down with a Chang beer.
Eat out of your comfort zone, save room for dessert.
I’m not a seafood eater and before I went on the trip was instructed to get over that (by my loving boyfriend) and eat anything and everything no matter how much I didn’t want to.
So I got fresh prawns (THAT WERE TO DIE FOR) and fried frog legs at the market and I closed my eyes before I bit down on each new creature. I firmly believe if you roll anything in bread crumbs and garlic and fry it in oil it’s going to taste good. But the frog legs were really delicious – don’t miss this place.
And always ALWAYS save room for mango sticky rice everywhere you go in Thailand. You want find a lot of cakes and pastries as part of the local Chiang Mai food scene, but you will find Mango Sticky rice. This sweet, creamy, and fruity dessert will make you think twice about needing chocolate or cakes ever again.
Street Food Vendors
One of the best things about Chiang Mai is the fresh local street vendors who are parked at various locations across the city. They had some of the freshest and tastiest snacks I found. They are perfect little treats for when you’re in between meals and just want a little nibble of something small and tasty.
Bite down on locally grown fruit with spicy seasoning, sip on fresh coconut water right out of a giant coconut, or indulge in coconut ice cream.
And then when you’re done eating all the delicious food you can fit in your body, take a Thai cooking class and learn to make it all your favorite Chiang Mai food yourself when you get home so you don’t have to miss eating all the amazing dishes.