Chiang Mai: A Foodie's Paradise
Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand, is a city that offers much more than stunning temples and beautiful natural scenery. It is also a food lover's paradise, known for its unique food culture and delicious street food. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, Chiang Mai's food scene will not disappoint.
One of the things that makes Chiang Mai's food culture unique is the blend of traditional northern Thai cuisine with influences from neighboring countries such as Laos, Myanmar, and China. This results in a diverse range of flavors and dishes that you won't find anywhere else in Thailand. Chiang Mai is also known for its street food, which is cheap, delicious, and widely available. The night markets in particular offer an excellent opportunity to try a variety of different street foods.
Several dishes are very unique to Northern Thailand and Chiang Mai, and you must at least try a few of the following dishes when visiting:
Khao Soi: This is a traditional northern Thai curry noodle dish that is often made with chicken or beef. It's a delicious blend of flavors, with a combination of curry, coconut milk, and a variety of herbs and spices.
Sai Oua: This is a type of grilled northern Thai sausage that is made from a mixture of pork, lemongrass, and a variety of herbs and spices. It is often served with sticky rice and a variety of dipping sauces.
Kaeng Hung Leh: This is a Burmese-influenced pork curry that is made with a thick, dark, and sweet gravy and is usually served with steamed rice.
Gaang Hang-Lae: is a spicy Northern Thai curry made with pork belly and mixed vegetables, it's often served with steamed rice and it's a dish that is hard to find in other parts of the country.
Khao Kan Chin: This is a Northern Thai dish made of fermented ground pork mixed with steamed glutinous rice, it's usually served with chili flakes and vegetables.
Nam Prik Ong: This is a northern Thai dip made from minced pork, tomatoes, and chilies, it's usually served with vegetables and sticky rice.
Tom Kha Gai: This is a popular Thai soup, it's made from coconut milk, chicken, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.
When it comes to where to eat in Chiang Mai, there are plenty of restaurants and food stalls to choose from. The city is home to many excellent restaurants, from casual street food stalls to fine-dining establishments. Some of the best places to eat in Chiang Mai include:
Khao Soi Khun Yai: This street vendor is a must-visit for anyone looking to try khao soi, a traditional northern Thai curry noodle dish. This is a cheap option, and you can get a bowl of khao soi for about $2-3. Must-have menu items: Khao Soi (of course!) and the Tom Kha Gai (spicy coconut milk soup with chicken).
Ratchawat Market: This market located in the old city is a food lover's paradise, with a wide variety of street food vendors serving traditional northern Thai dishes. This is a cheap option, and you can get a meal for about $2-3. Must-have menu items: Sai Oua (grilled northern Thai sausage) and Khao Soi (again, you can't miss this dish while in Chiang Mai)
The Riverside: This fine-dining restaurant serves traditional northern Thai cuisine with a modern twist. It's a medium-priced option, with main courses averaging around $10-15. Must-have menu items: Kaeng Hung Leh (a Burmese-influenced pork curry) and the Khao Soi (yes, again, it's that good)