Welcome to Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand known for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful temples, and, of course, its mouthwatering street food. Chiang Mai is a paradise for food lovers, offering a diverse range of culinary delights that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.
As you wander through the bustling streets of Chiang Mai, you’ll be greeted by the enticing aroma of street food vendors. From savory noodles to spicy soups and sweet treats, the food scene in Chiang Mai is a reflection of the city’s vibrant and diverse food culture.
Chiang Mai’s street food not only offers delicious flavors but also showcases the unique flavors and ingredients of northern Thailand. From the famous Khao Soi to the delightful Mango Sticky Rice, there are countless dishes that you must try during your visit to this culinary haven.
In this article, we will take you on a gastronomic journey and introduce you to 10 must-try dishes in Chiang Mai. So, get ready to embark on a food adventure as we guide you through the flavors and aromas of the city’s outstanding street food scene.
When it comes to iconic dishes in Chiang Mai, Khao Soi is at the top of the list. This flavorful noodle dish is a blend of Burmese and Thai influences, resulting in a unique and satisfying meal.
Khao Soi typically consists of egg noodles cooked in a creamy, coconut-based curry broth, flavored with a combination of aromatic spices such as turmeric and coriander. The dish is usually served with tender pieces of chicken or beef, garnished with crispy fried noodles, and topped with a squeeze of fresh lime and pickled mustard greens.
One bite of Khao Soi and you’ll be transported to culinary heaven. The combination of creamy coconut, fragrant spices, and tender meat creates a harmonious explosion of flavors in your mouth. The richness of the broth perfectly balances the tanginess from the lime, creating a symphony of taste with every spoonful.
You can find Khao Soi at numerous street food stalls and local restaurants throughout Chiang Mai. Each place has its own unique twist, offering variations such as vegetarian Khao Soi or even seafood Khao Soi. No matter where you try it, Khao Soi is a must-try dish that encapsulates the essence of Chiang Mai’s cuisine.
For an authentic experience, head to Khao Soi Khun Yai, a legendary spot known for serving one of the best Khao Soi in town. The restaurant has been serving this beloved dish for more than 30 years and continues to impress locals and tourists alike with its rich and delicious Khao Soi.
Whether you’re a fan of curry, noodles, or just great food, Khao Soi is a dish that should be on your culinary bucket list. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor this delectable Chiang Mai specialty during your visit.
Prepare your taste buds for a burst of flavors with Sai Oua, a popular sausage dish from Northern Thailand. Known for its aromatic blend of herbs and spices, Sai Oua offers a unique and satisfying taste experience.
Sai Oua starts with a mixture of ground pork and a variety of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and turmeric. This flavorful mixture is then stuffed into sausage casings and grilled or fried to perfection.
The result is a sausage with a delightful combination of smoky, tangy, and savory flavors. The fragrant herbs and spices infuse the pork with an enticing aroma, while the grilling or frying process gives it a crispy exterior and juicy interior.
Sai Oua is often enjoyed as a snack or as part of a larger meal. It can be served with sticky rice, fresh vegetables, and a spicy dipping sauce to enhance the flavors. The sausage pairs well with a cold beer or a refreshing Thai iced tea.
To taste the best Sai Oua in Chiang Mai, head to the local markets or street food stalls. You’ll find vendors expertly grilling the sausages over hot coals, creating a tantalizing aroma that draws in passersby.
For an authentic Sai Oua experience, make your way to the famous street food market at Chang Phuak Gate. Here, you’ll find numerous vendors offering juicy and flavorful Sai Oua sausages that will leave you craving for more.
Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in this unique Northern Thai sausage when visiting Chiang Mai. The explosion of flavors and the combination of herbs and spices make Sai Oua a truly memorable culinary delight.
No exploration of Thai cuisine is complete without indulging in a plate of Pad Thai. This iconic stir-fried noodle dish has gained worldwide fame and is a staple street food in Chiang Mai.
Pad Thai typically consists of stir-fried rice noodles, tofu, shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, eggs, and a medley of flavors from tamarind paste, fish sauce, and lime juice. It is commonly garnished with chopped peanuts, lime wedges, and fresh herbs such as cilantro.
The combination of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors in Pad Thai creates a harmonious balance that will leave your taste buds delighted. The noodles are perfectly cooked, coated in a rich sauce, and accompanied by tender protein and crunchy bean sprouts.
What makes Pad Thai special in Chiang Mai is the use of local ingredients and regional variations. Some vendors might add dried shrimp, pickled radish, or even banana blossoms to give the dish a distinct twist. You can customize your Pad Thai by adding extra spices or condiments according to your preference.
Finding delicious Pad Thai in Chiang Mai is effortless, as it is readily available in street markets, night bazaars, and local restaurants. One popular spot to experience this classic Thai dish is Pad Thai Lane, a street food alley dedicated solely to serving Pad Thai in various styles and flavors.
Whether you’re a fan of Thai cuisine or simply seeking a flavorful and satisfying meal, Pad Thai is a must-try dish in Chiang Mai. It embodies the essence of Thai street food and will leave you craving for more with every delicious bite.
Khao Kha Moo
If you’re looking for a hearty and satisfying meal in Chiang Mai, look no further than Khao Kha Moo. This popular street food dish features tender and flavorful braised pork leg served over rice.
Khao Kha Moo is all about slow-cooked goodness. The pork leg is simmered in a flavorful broth infused with aromatic herbs and spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and black peppercorns. This results in succulent and tender meat that practically melts in your mouth.
The dish is typically served with a generous ladle of the braising liquid, which adds depth and richness to the flavor. It’s common to find pickled mustard greens or a boiled egg accompanying the dish, adding extra texture and taste.
Khao Kha Moo is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, thanks to its delicious taste and comforting qualities. It is a staple dish that can be found at street stalls, local markets, and even dedicated Khao Kha Moo restaurants throughout Chiang Mai.
For an authentic Khao Kha Moo experience, make your way to “Cowboy Hat Lady” at the Chang Phueak Market. This humble food stall has gained cult-like status for its flavorful and tender Khao Kha Moo. Be prepared for a queue, as it’s a popular spot!
Khao Kha Moo is the perfect comfort food to indulge in after a day of exploring Chiang Mai. The tender pork, fragrant broth, and rice make for a satisfying and filling meal that will please your taste buds and warm your soul.
Gaeng Hang Lay
Prepare your taste buds for a unique and flavorful curry experience with Gaeng Hang Lay. This traditional northern Thai dish features a rich and aromatic curry that is truly a delight for the senses.
Gaeng Hang Lay is a slow-cooked pork belly curry that is influenced by Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). The curry is made with a blend of spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, and dried chilies, giving it a deep and complex flavor profile.
The key ingredient that sets Gaeng Hang Lay apart is the use of tamarind, which adds a tangy and slightly sweet element to the deliciously rich curry. The pork belly is simmered in the flavorful sauce until it becomes tender and absorbs the fragrant spices.
When served, Gaeng Hang Lay is accompanied by sticky rice or steamed jasmine rice to help balance the richness of the curry. The combination of tender pork, aromatic curry, and fluffy rice creates a comforting and satisfying meal.
To taste the best Gaeng Hang Lay in Chiang Mai, head to local restaurants or street food stalls that specialize in northern Thai cuisine. One recommended spot is Huen Muan Jai, a family-run restaurant known for its authentic and flavorful Gaeng Hang Lay.
For those with a preference for milder flavors, Gaeng Hang Lay can also be prepared with chicken or beef. The choice is yours, but regardless of the protein, this curry dish is a must-try for any food enthusiast visiting Chiang Mai.
Get ready to take your taste buds on a journey with Gaeng Hang Lay and savor the rich and aromatic flavors of this beloved northern Thai curry dish.
When it comes to Thai cuisine, Khao Pad is a classic and beloved dish that you can find in every corner of Chiang Mai. This flavorful fried rice dish is incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit your taste preferences.
Khao Pad starts with a base of jasmine rice that is stir-fried with a combination of vegetables, protein (such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu), and aromatic spices and sauces. The dish is typically seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, and a hint of oyster sauce, giving it a savory and slightly umami flavor.
The beauty of Khao Pad lies in its simplicity and adaptability. Vendors and restaurants often offer additional toppings and flavor variations to enhance the dish. You can find toppings such as fried egg, sliced cucumber, spring onions, or a sprinkle of crispy shallots.
Khao Pad is a quick and convenient meal that you can find at street food stalls, local restaurants, and even in some fine dining establishments in Chiang Mai. It’s a go-to dish for locals and tourists alike, thanks to its delicious taste and satisfying nature.
For an extra special Khao Pad experience, visit one of the popular local restaurants like Khao Soi Lam Duan Fah Ham that is renowned for its flavorful and aromatic Khao Pad. Here, you can expect generous portions and incredible attention to detail.
Whether you’re craving a simple and satisfying meal or looking for a quick bite on the go, Khao Pad is a fantastic choice. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with different combinations of ingredients, making it a staple in Chiang Mai’s street food scene.
Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao
Prepare your taste buds for a unique culinary experience with Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao, a beloved noodle dish from the northern region of Thailand. This delightful dish showcases the vibrant flavors and ingredients of Chiang Mai’s food culture.
Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao consists of fermented rice noodles served in a flavorful pork-based broth. The broth is enriched with a combination of aromatic spices, including ginger, garlic, shallots, and chili paste, giving it a rich and slightly spicy taste.
What sets Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao apart is the addition of various toppings and condiments. You can expect to find tender slices of pork, crispy pork rinds, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and sliced shallots, adding different textures and flavors to the dish.
One unique ingredient in this dish is the use of blood tofu, which adds richness and depth to the broth. Don’t let the name deter you – it’s a must-try component that enhances the overall flavor profile of Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao.
When enjoying this dish, you can customize the taste by adding additional condiments, such as fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, or dried chili flakes, to suit your preference. This allows you to create the perfect balance of flavors to your liking.
For an authentic Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao experience, head to local street food stalls or market vendors in Chiang Mai. One popular spot is Warorot Market, where you’ll find vendors serving this delicious noodle soup bursting with flavors.
Step out of your comfort zone and dive into the flavors of Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiao. This unique combination of fermented rice noodles, flavorful broth, and an array of toppings will leave you with a memorable culinary experience.
Tom Yum Goong
Get ready to awaken your taste buds with the iconic spicy and sour flavors of Tom Yum Goong. This flavorful Thai soup is a staple in Chiang Mai’s street food scene and is beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Tom Yum Goong is a hot and sour soup that features a tantalizing combination of ingredients such as shrimp, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and chili. The flavors are enhanced with a touch of fish sauce, lime juice, and a hint of coconut milk.
The result is a deeply aromatic and tangy soup that showcases the signature balance of Thai cuisine. The combination of flavors dances on your tongue, with the heat of the chilies and the tanginess of the lime perfectly complementing the sweetness of the shrimp.
Tom Yum Goong is often enjoyed as a starter or as a main course paired with steamed jasmine rice. It is also commonly accompanied by fresh herbs such as cilantro and Thai basil, which add a refreshing element to the dish.
Finding delicious Tom Yum Goong in Chiang Mai is as easy as strolling through the local markets or visiting street food stalls. One popular spot is the Warorot Market, where you’ll find vendors serving steaming bowls of this delightful soup.
For those who prefer a milder version of the soup or have dietary restrictions, Tom Yum Goong can also be prepared with chicken or mushrooms instead of shrimp. No matter the variation, this soup is a must-try for spice lovers and those seeking a burst of flavors.
Embrace the bold flavors of Thailand with a bowl of Tom Yum Goong. This iconic soup is a testament to the country’s vibrant food culture and will leave you wanting more with its spicy and sour allure.
Khao Soi Khun Yai
If you’re in search of the best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, look no further than Khao Soi Khun Yai. This legendary restaurant has been serving up this beloved northern Thai dish for over 30 years and has become a go-to spot for locals and food enthusiasts alike.
At Khao Soi Khun Yai, you can expect a bowl of Khao Soi bursting with authentic flavors. The dish features egg noodles cooked to perfection in a rich and creamy coconut-based curry broth. Topped with tender pieces of chicken or beef, crispy fried noodles, and garnished with fresh lime and pickled mustard greens, every spoonful is a delight.
What sets Khao Soi Khun Yai apart is the attention to detail and the use of high-quality ingredients. The flavors are carefully balanced, allowing each component to shine. The combination of creamy coconut, fragrant spices, and tender meat creates a harmonious symphony of flavors that keeps customers coming back for more.
The rustic charm of Khao Soi Khun Yai adds to the overall experience. Located in a traditional wooden house, the restaurant gives off a cozy and welcoming ambiance that makes you feel right at home. The friendly staff and the delicious food create a perfect atmosphere for a memorable dining experience.
When visiting Khao Soi Khun Yai, be prepared for a queue, as this popular spot is well-known among locals and tourists. But don’t let the wait discourage you – it’s well worth it for a taste of their signature Khao Soi.
Don’t leave Chiang Mai without savoring a bowl of Khao Soi from Khao Soi Khun Yai. You’ll understand why this spot has gained such a reputation and why it is a must-visit for food lovers in Chiang Mai.
Mango Sticky Rice
No visit to Chiang Mai is complete without indulging in the mouthwatering sweetness of Mango Sticky Rice. This beloved Thai dessert is a true delight for those with a sweet tooth.
Mango Sticky Rice, also known as Khao Niew Mamuang, is a simple yet heavenly dessert. It features perfectly ripe, juicy mango slices served with glutinous rice that has been cooked in sweet coconut milk. The combination of the creamy, slightly salty rice and the luscious sweetness of the mango creates a magical taste experience.
The dessert is often garnished with coconut cream drizzled over the top and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds for added texture and flavor. Each bite is a delicious balance of creamy, fruity, and slightly chewy elements that will leave you craving for more.
Chiang Mai is known for its abundance of fresh and succulent mangoes. As a result, you can find Mango Sticky Rice at various street food stalls, night markets, and even in some restaurants throughout the city. No matter where you try it, you’ll be treated to the delightful combination of flavors that has made this dessert a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
For an extra special Mango Sticky Rice experience, head to the Tha Phae Gate Night Market. Here, you’ll find vendors expertly slicing mangoes and serving them with perfectly cooked sticky rice, creating a dessert that is sure to satisfy your sweet cravings.
Whether you’re strolling through the night market or sitting at a restaurant, save room for Mango Sticky Rice. It’s the perfect way to end a meal or enjoy as a sweet treat during your exploration of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is a food lover’s paradise, offering a tantalizing array of flavors and culinary delights that will leave you craving for more. From the iconic Khao Soi to the flavorful Sai Oua sausage, the street food scene in Chiang Mai is a feast for the senses.
Throughout this article, we have taken you on a journey through the must-try dishes that define Chiang Mai’s food culture. From the rich and aromatic Gaeng Hang Lay curry to the comforting Khao Kha Moo braised pork leg, each dish showcases the unique flavors and ingredients of Northern Thai cuisine.
Strolling through the streets of Chiang Mai, you’ll be captivated by the enticing aromas and vibrant food stalls that line every corner. Whether you’re exploring the local markets, visiting dedicated street food alleys, or dining at renowned restaurants, the variety and quality of the food will amaze you.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert, especially the famous Mango Sticky Rice. The luscious sweetness of the mangoes combined with the creamy texture of the sticky rice will provide the perfect ending to your culinary adventures in Chiang Mai.
So, as you plan your trip to Chiang Mai, be sure to immerse yourself in the vibrant food culture and try as many of these delicious dishes as you can. Each bite will transport you deeper into the heart of Chiang Mai’s rich culinary heritage.
From the moment you arrive in Chiang Mai, you’ll understand why it is considered one of the top food travel destinations in the world. The combination of unique flavors, fresh ingredients, and the passionate chefs and street food vendors create an unforgettable dining experience.
So, get ready to savor the flavors and explore the diverse food scene of Chiang Mai. Your taste buds will thank you, and you’ll leave with memories of incredible dishes that will keep you dreaming about your next food adventure in this gastronomic paradise.