10 Must-Try Famous Food In Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai food

If you are vacationing in Chiang Mai, one of the best things to do is heartily explore Chiang Mai food with your taste buds. But how to plan your vacation to include tasting mouthwatering cuisine?

According to a leading global local food mapping site TastAtlas updated report, Phaneng Curry and Green Curry were ranked 1st and 7th of the top 100 best stews in the world.

When it boils down to famous dishes in Chiang Mai, there are more flavorful specialty characterized by the use of indigenous herbal ingredients, ranging from bitter, sweet to sour.

While visiting travel places, one of the best ways to learn about Chiang Mai cultural attractions is to eat one’s way through it, and especially where it’s affordable and traditionally exotic. 

Best food in Chiang Mai

1. Gaeng Hung Lay

Best Chiang Mai food

Gaeng Hung Lay, a beloved dish in Chiang Mai, is a flavorful curry known for its distinctive blend of spices and tender meat. The dish typically features pork or beef slowly simmered with a mixture of aromatic ingredients like ginger, garlic, and lemongrass.

The result is a tantalizing curry with a perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness, creating a memorable dining experience in Northern Thailand. Gaeng Hung Lay, pork belly stew (dry version) is a Burmese (Myanmar) dish with Indian influence. This is perhaps, the most distinctive Northern Thai food to try.  

The curry paste typically includes dried chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, coriander seeds, cumin, and other aromatic spices.

You may also add masala powder, but the star of this dish is the chunks of pork belly. This is where the dish’s rich and fatty characteristics come from.

Gaeng Hung Lay has a slight spiciness to it, which is enhanced by red chilies, shallots and eaten with plain piping hot Jasmine rice.

Where To Scoff The Best:

You can try this tasty dry version at Chune Doi Saket Café, approximately half an hour drive away from Chiang Mai city. The ambience is pretty relaxing, set on a beautiful pond, with a man-made cascading waterfall.

If you are in a hurry, there is a small restaurant located in the airport domestic wing, on the 2nd level (departure hall) aptly named Thai Restaurant. It’s a stew version with peanuts, and the name on the restaurant’s menu item list – ‘Kang Hang Lay’ for 245 Bhat at  this time of writting.  

  • Address: 200 Choeng Doi, Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
  • Contact: +66 62 272 6655
  • Opening Hours: Daily 8am – 5pm

How To Get There:

Although Chiang Mai is a small city, its public transport system is a bit lacking. So I would suggest booking a Grab taxi for short distances.

Actually, Grab taxi service is only good for travel around Chiang Mai city. For further distances, try this recommended local transport provider with competitive services and prices. 

2. Green Curry Chicken

best food in chiang mai

The Green Curry Chicken features slices of chicken cooked in a creamy coconut milk with spicy combination of green chilies, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, and other aromatic herbs and spices.

This favorite Chiang Mai cuisine typically include vegetables such as bamboo shoots, bell peppers, Thai basil leaves and garnished with additional herbs or chili peppers and typically served with the world famous Thai Jasmine rice.

Where To Scoff The Best:

The Good View Restaurant Chiang Mai serves a variety of Thai and international dishes. The most popular menu items include the seafood dishes, but its specialty is Thai Green Curry Chicken.

Good View Restaurant Chiang Mai prices for all their dishes are pretty affordable but the services can be somewhat poor especially during peak hours.

Nevertheless, it’s a great restaurant to try Green Curry Chicken with a stunning river view. Just get a table as far away as possible from the music. 

  • Address: 13 Road Charoen Rat Wat Ket, Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand
  • Contact: +66 53 302 764
  • Website: goodviewrestaurant/

3. Beef Noodles Soup

chiang mai noodles

There are a variety of tasty noodles that can be found in various Chiang Mai food markets, local restaurants and street food vendors, but if you are into beef, then beef noodles fits the bill perfectly.

Typically, this Chiang Mai noodle dish contains tender slices of beef, spare parts, flat noodles, and veggies in addition to a flavorful broth made from cow bones, spices, and herbs. 

The key element has to be the broth which takes hours to prepare for that ultimate taste. Most of the eateries will include bean sprouts, Bok Choy, or Chinese kale.

Where To Scoff The Best:

Blue Noodle Chiang Mai is pretty well known with tourists for its delicious food, friendly service, and cozy atmosphere. The restaurant is famous for its variety of Thai noodle dishes, and named “Blue Noodles,” which is made with butterfly pea flower. 

If you are looking for the best food in Chiang Mai in terms of beef noodles soup, Blue Noodle Chiang Mai is where you should head. The restaurant might get a bit cramped on peak hours. So go before lunch or make a booking.

  • Address: 99 Ratchapakhinai Rd Si Phum, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
  • Contact: +66 93 589 6477
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 6pm

4. Khao Ka Moo

Chiang mai restaurants

The popular Chiang Mai street food, Khao Kha Moo (pork leg) is well-known with travelers. The pork legs are being slow cooked to tender perfection in a big pot for over a few hours.

Not far from Chiang Mai old town, at Chang Phuak Gate Night Market, when you spot a Thai lady with a cowboy hat standing next to a mountain of stewed pig legs, you’ll realize that you’re in the right place.

Where To Scoff The Best:

Khao Ka Moo is pretty popular with visitors who flock to this tourist spot for a plate of the delicious local dish. Usually, it’s served with a plate of rice, Chinese broccoli and a boil egg.

Complimentary chilies, garlic cloves and other stuff are available on the wooden table for diners. So you can compliment your Khao Kha Moo according to your own taste.

The pork leg meat isn’t too sweet or salty, yet tasty, full of flavor and hearty all the same. Best is to request for the meaty part with less or no skin.

I’m not saying it’s more sumptuous here than elsewhere, but if you are at Chang Phuak Gate, and missing this Chiang Mai street food, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

  • Address: Manee Nop Parat Sri Poom Subdistrict, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
  • Opening Hours: Daily 5pm – 12 Midnight

5. Khao Soi

best restaurant in chiang mai

Khao Soi is one of the most famous dishes in Chiang Mai and well-known all over Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

There are many versions of Khao Soi that comes with boiled and crunchy fried wheat noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, sweet coconut milk usually with beef or chicken.

The pickled greens cut through the creamy sweet-sour curry (depending on where you eat), while the shallots provide their distinct flavors without overpowering the dish.

They use different textures to complement the crispy noodles. Khao soi is a dish with a lot of flavor. To this day, the flavors, texture and fragrance of this local delight always amaze me.

Until you try this dish, you won’t know what the fuss is all about. It’s ridiculous to try and figure out which Khao Soi is the tastiest in places around Chiangmai.

Where To Scoff The Best:

I would suggest a pretty interesting Khao Soi eating experience in a typical Thai restaurant with everything made of coconuts. It’s worth noting that all the dishes in the menu and drinks are served in coconut shells.

Khao Soi Kra Long restaurant’s cutlery, water mugs, Ice tongs, bowls etc are all crafted from used coconut shells. So nothing goes to waste in this unique restaurant.

Bottom line:

  • Thick, rich and robust are three words that comes to mind. 
  • The restaurant is easy to find with a spacious carpark near to the main road. Pets are allowed and the eatery is suitable for family with kids.
  • Khao Soi Kra Long is an environmentally friendly coconut theme Chiangmai food eatery with pretty affordable menu as well.
  • Address: Soi 7 Doi Kaeo Subdistrict, Chom Thong 50160 Thailand(next to Wat Phra That Chom Thong)
  • Contact: +66 87 189 2619
  • Opening Hours: Daily 6am – 5pm
  • Contact: 087-189-2619

6. Nam Prik Ong

best thai food

This dish is made with a mixture of dried chilies, garlic, shallots, coriander roots or seeds, shrimp paste, ground pork, tomatoes, and it’s served with steam vegetables.

The dip (Nam Prik) itself resembles a rich Bolognese sauce sometimes with tomatoes.

It’s served in a bowl with parboiled cabbage slices, eggplants, sticky rice, and fried pork cracklings on a small basket.

This popular Chiangmai food has a flavor profile that is savory, spicy, tangy and salty. The tangy flavors of Nam Prik Ong comes from the tomatoes used in this dish.

Depending on the eateries, the flavor profiles might range from garlic to mild to spicy. The dip or chili paste is created without Thai fish sauce, instead uses Kapi Kung (shrimp paste). 

Nam Prik (chili paste or dip) with vegetables is the most favorable Thai food eaten by the locals for ages in the whole of Thailand. 

Where To Scoff The Best:

Huen Phen restaurant has a fascinating assortment of artwork, carvings, artifacts, and the tables are spaciously placed so that every seat appears private. The restaurant’s dishes are prepared traditionally and are of high standard.

  • Address: 112 Rachamankha Rd, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
  • Contact: +66 53 814 548
  • Contact: 087-189-2619
  • Website: baanhuen/

7. Sai Ua

best food in Chiang Mai

Another popular must-try Northern Thai food is the spicy sausage, which is traditionally cooked over a charcoal fire.

This unique Chiang Mai street food is another that can be found in traditional restaurants, food markets and night bazaars.

The sausage casing is made of offal, which are stuffed with juicy minced pork meat, and a variety of spices.

This is a dish that takes days to create and even before it lands on the grill, it goes through a steam cooking process. The original version of this dish would be cooked on a low-heat grill.

Sai Ua is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, full with spices and herbs, and your taste buds will thank you for giving it a try before you leave Chiang Mai.

It has a meaty texture, thanks to the tasty minced pork, and the herbal spices will entice your senses. Yellow turmeric root, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, chili and a pinch of galangal are significant flavors in this Northern Thai street food.

Sa Ua is commonly available at most of Chiang Mai food markets in skewed form or serve together with Nam Prik Num and Khao Niaw (sticky rice)

  • Address: Wua Lai Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

8. Nam Ngiaw

traditional chiang mai food

Nam Ngiaw is a stew-like broth comprising of spareribs, minced meat and pork blood or curds with tomato base.

The noodle is the white fermented rice vermicelli which is very common throughout Chiang Mai and South East Asia.

Lemongrass is added to the dish which enhances the flavor and scent. Pieces of pork blood curd are combined with spareribs and mince meat.

You can also order this traditional Chiang Mai food in a bowl without the blood curd and only with minced pork and spareribs.

I understand that blood curd might be a frightening dish for western tourists, but you wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you.

I didn’t know there was blood curb in this meal until I had it for the second time. It comes in square pieces just like tofu, but dark brown in color. 

The thing is, since it is thoroughly cooked with no pungent smell, there is no need to be concerned or have second thoughts.

Where To Scoff The Best:

The San Pa Koi market is close to this traditional Chiang Mai food restaurant. You can choose from a variety of Kanom Jeen noodle and curry soup varieties, but Nam Ngeaw is among the most popular.

Best part is that you will get to taste Nam Ngiaw at a Michelin Star restaurant, and at a pretty affordable price menu as well.

Bottom line:

  • Nam Ngiaw is a popular traditional food in Thailand and is pretty common in Chiangmai. 
  • On a rainy day, this is the best local dish that will have you repeating “Soi Mak Mak” after every spoonful, even if you order without the blood curds.
  • Address: 249, 1 San Pa Koi Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

9. Jin Tup

Chiang Mai food

Jin Tup is a slow-cooked beef flank with a dash of kosher salt, garlic, lemongrass and black peppercorns, smashed with a metal mallet and served with Naam Phrik.

Before it reaches your plate, the meat are cooked on a coal-fired grill. Tenderize pounded beef with a concentrated smoky flavor is what you get. 

The texture of Jin Tup will remind you of beef jerky. When you bite into it, you’ll get strands of juicy tasty beef which pairs well with Thai beer or whiskey.

Where To Scoff The Best:

This may sound a bit odd, but my experience with this popular Thai dish among locals reminded me of beef jerky which is high in protein and minerals like zinc and iron.

You can find this Thai dish at places like open-air casual dining, night markets especially where there is metal grill-pit behind the stalls or at specialize restaurants and resorts. 

  • Address: 11 San Sai Luang, San Sai District, Chiang Mai 50210, Thailand
  • Contact: +66 84 687 6074
  • Opening Hours: Daily 4pm – 9pm

10. Jin Som

Chiang Mai street food

Foodies should not underestimate this traditional food in Chiang Mai despite the fact that it is not the most visually appealing dish to try.

Jin Som is one of those Thai dishes which recipe dates back to a time when locals would try to safe on every part of the food source.

It consists of a mixture of lean pork meat, thin strips of boiled pig skin and sticky rice.

Besides, this simple dish is also seasoned using basic stuff like garlic and salt and finally wrapped in banana leaf for over two days. It’s ready when the meat is fermented. 

Jin Som is normally eaten raw by the locals accompanied with their favorite booze. If you’re unsure about attempting this dish, start with the grilled version.

In Chiang Mai, there are many different variations of Jin Som. If you choose to eat in the northern provinces then go for the raw deal in the wrap version.

I’d definitely recommend ordering this popular Chiangmai food because it’s well seasoned and flavorful, perfect for adventurous tourists on vacation in Chiang Mai.

What to eat in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is known for its vibrant and diverse food scene, offering a variety of local and traditional dishes. Some of the best food in Chiang Mai can be found in food markets, Cafes, traditional restaurants and road-side stalls or shops, reflecting the city’s cultural heritage.

Craving For More Chiang Mai Street Food

central shopping chiang mai

Have you ever wonder where locals eat their favorite street food in Chiang Mai? Head down to Central Shopping Chiang Mai Airport.

The huge air-con food court is located in the basement with tons of kiosks selling traditional cuisines, street food, and all kinds of tasty snacks.

You might need some time to decide what to eat in this food market.

What are the best restaurants in Chiang Mai that deliver

Actually, it’s common that most mid-size hotels, AirBNBs and apartments do not provide F&B outlets. So restaurants listed in food delivery apps such as Grab and Foodpanda might be a lifesaver especially on a rainy day.

I would suggest that you bring along your favorite cutlery as most restaurants that deliver food provide an option to include or not to include flimsy plastic cutlery with your order.

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