Chiang Mai is a food lover’s paradise. There’s no excuse for eating poorly in this town with an added bonus that most of the best food is super cheap! Here are our Must Eats in Chiang Mai…
Chasing a Plate’s Pricing Guide
$ 50THB (approximately $1.50USD) or under per plate/bowl/item
$$ 200THB to 300THB (approximately $5.50-$8.50USD) for a meal for two
$$$ around the 500THB-1000THB (approximately $15-30USD) mark for a meal for two
Must Eat Number 1
Khao Kha Moo from the ‘Cowboy Hat Lady’ $
Chang Phueak Gate (North Gate)
Daily 5:00pm to 2:00am
Braised pork leg, a runny egg, pickled mustard greens and a pour your own chilli vinegar sauce atop a plate of white rice = heaven. It’s the ultimate comfort food and if you’re in Chiang Mai you must come here. The ‘Cowboy Hat Lady’ recognisable by the cowboy hat that she wears, is renowned for her khao kha moo and her stall churns out plate after plate of porky goodness. Do yourself a favour and make sure you eat here.
Must Eat Number 2
Khao Soi at Lam Duan Fah Ham $
352/22 Charoenrat Rd/ Faham
9:00am to 4:00pm
Everyone who visits Chiang Mai has to sample Khao Soi at least once. This northern speciality of egg noodles in a coconut curry broth garnished with a squeeze of lime and fresh shallots is addictive. Lam Duan’s version has the perfect level of spice and it isn’t too sweet. You can alternate between the chicken and the beef to work out which is your favourite.
Must Eat Number 3
Street food at the Sunday Walking Street $
Every Sunday from 4:00pm to midnight
We literally spent 3 hours eating at the Sunday Walking Street. With over a kilometre of food stalls to choose from, you aren’t going to leave hungry. If you’re adventurous, you’ll find all manner of bugs to sample or you might want to give the ant egg omelettes a go. If you’re happy to stick with the traditional proteins you’ll find fried chicken, curries, Isaan specialties like spicy sausage even sushi! But leave room for dessert because you won’t be able to go past the coconut pandan ice-cream, fruit shakes, roti or coconut fritters.
Must Eat Number 4
SP Chicken $$
Samlan Road Soi 1
10:00am to 5:00pm
Where Chef Andy Ricker learnt the art of grilling chicken SP style, SP Chicken has been around since the 70’s. It’s pretty hard to walk past the rotisserie chicken and not walk in! The birds are small (we usually get one between the two of us), crispy skinned and moist with a garlicky lemongrass stuffing. We like to keep it simple here, sticky rice, som tam (papaya salad) and that delicious chicken is all you really need for a great meal.
Must Eat Number 5
Krua Phech Doi Ngam $$$
267/1 Mahidon Rd, Pa Dae
11:00am to 11:00pm
It’s a little bit out of the main centre of Chiang Mai (although we managed to ride our bikes there) but if you want to sample classic Northern Thai dishes then this is the place to eat. The menu is massive and we could only fit so many dishes in between the two of us but the yam samun phrai, a salad made up of cashews, betel leaf, white turmeric and shallots is a MUST order. Everything we ate was fresh, packed with flavour and completely different to the food you will find in town.
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Interested in more Thailand food guides? Read our Koh Samui Street Food and Bangkok Street Food Guides…