Yeah, yeah, you know all about Thai food. Pad Thai and Green Curry, right? You even eat Tom Yum soup! Well, don’t expect these dishes from the Chiang Mai food scene, utterly different and unique from the mainstream Bangkok street market fare. Allow us to lend a hand in your Chiang Mai food education—promise we did our research!
- First, acquaint yourself with the must-try local dishes in the area.
- Second, traverse the many street markets and night bazaars of the area, tasting some of the delicacies.
- And third, hit up one of Chiang Mai’s most-loved restaurants that will definitely have you coming back for more.
Do all three steps and you’ll have a pretty holistic foodie experience in one of Thailand’s beloved cities. We spell it all out for you down below!
P.S. If you want the Bangkok version, we got your back down there too! Check out the serious foodie’s guide to eating in Bangkok here!
10 Must-Try Local Dishes:
- Khao soi (egg noodle curry)
- Sai oua (grilled herb sausage)
- Nam prik ong/nam prik nume (red/green chili dip)
- Gaeng hang lay (Burmese-style sweet curry)
- Kanom jeen nam ngeow (rice vermicelli with soybean curry)
- Miang kham (bite-sized wrapped snacks)
- Tam khanun (young jackfruit salad)
- Larb kua (pan-fried spicy meat salad)
- Gaeng hoh (mixed curry)
- Kaeng khanun (curry with pork and jackfruit)
5 Street Markets and Night Bazaars to Explore:
1. Kalare Night Bazaar: More than good food
Kalare is known for its large open-air food court where you can purchase coupons to buy your food with. Besides the awesome eats, there are also some traditional Thai performances that guests are more than welcome to watch. Good food and a show? Count us in.
89/2 Changklan Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
2. Anusarn Market: Around the world in Chiang Mai
With a buzzing and lively atmosphere, this busy outdoor night market is filled with little stalls, restaurants, and carts that sell Thai, Indian, and western cuisine. You can sample authentic foods from different countries without leaving this market!
149/24, 149 27-28 Changklan Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
3. Suthep Road Moveable Feast: Food carts for days!
Situated past Canal Road by the university, you’ll find loads of food carts set up every evening that are good for budget backpackers and travelers.
Suthep Rd Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
4. Ploen Ruedee Night Market: Fun and trendy meeting place
This modern and trendy night market is the perfect place to chill, relax, and grab some snacks with friends. With a wide variety of stalls to choose from, it even has performances from live bands and a dance floor!
28/3-4 Changklan Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
5. Warorot Evening Market: Local delicacies hunt
Speaking of what and where to eat in Chiang Mai, if you’re looking for places where the locals get food, this is it. With more than 30 stalls that sell a wide variety of northern Thai dishes, you can sample delicacies like sai oua (sausage), nam prik ong (chili tomato pork dip), and kaeng khanum (jackfruit curry).
Wichayanon Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
If you’re looking for some more street markets and bazaars to check out, see these 12 Shopping Streets & Markets in Chiang Mai to Get Lost In for everything you need to know!
12 Much-Loved Restaurants That Will Keep You Coming Back for More:
1. Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center
One of the places you can experience a traditional khantoke dinner complete with cultural performances. Khantoke literally translated means ‘small bowl, low table’, and is a signature Lanna dining experience. A generous dinner will be served on a low teak tray that also doubles as your table. Diners sit on the floor, partaking of the side dishes and rice with one hand. Visit this place for a one of a kind experience in Chiang Mai!
185/3 Wua Lai Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
2. David’s Kitchen
This fine dining restaurant in Chiang Mai boasts a standout French-Thai fusion menu with a lovely atmosphere made all the more special with superb service.
113 ถนน บำรุงราษฎร์ Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
3. Baan Huen Phen Restaurant
Serving delectable Thai dishes for more than four decades, this place is a long-standing favorite for both locals and foreigners for their mouthwatering khao sois, made by following an old family recipe.
112 Ratchamanka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
4. Tong Tem Toh
With an extensive menu consisting of local vegetables and ingredients, this place is a popular choice when you want to sample some tasty northern Thai cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.
11 Nimmanahaeminda Road, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
5. The Service 1921
This place is known as much for their Asian-inspired menu – featuring flavors from Thailand, China, and Vietnam – as they are for their cocktails and wine list. Dining here is a guaranteed 5-star experience.
Anantara, 123, 1 Charoen Prathet Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, 50100, Thailand
6. The Riverside Bar and Restaurant
Their diverse menu has everything from pizza and burgers to curries. This place is a favorite with everyone; the scenic location along the Ping River is an added bonus!
9 11 ถนน เจริญราษฎร์ Wat Ket, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
7. Khao Soi Khun Yai
This humble, open-air restaurant serves some of the best khao sois in Chiang Mai, as vouched for by locals and tourists alike.
Sri Poom 8 Alley, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
8. Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak
Pork-lovers will fall in love with this place, known for their khao kha moo (slow-cooked pork leg/knuckle stew). Also famous in this place are the servers, dressed in cowboy outfits with happy smiles!
ประตูเมือง Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
9. The Good View
Known for its Asian and international cuisine and riverside views, this place has a well-loved Thai and Japanese menu at fairly reasonable prices. They also have live entertainment every night.
13 ถนน เจริญราษฎร์ Wat Ket, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
10. Ginger & Kafe
With kitschy antique furniture and colorful accessories, this Thai/international restaurant boasts some of the best massaman curry around. You can also stop by their on-site shop to buy a few cute trinkets.
199 Mun Mueang Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
11. The Gallery
This Chiang Mai restaurant, housed in one of the oldest wooden buildings in Chiang Mai, has a fine dining ambiance and is famous for their exceptional curries and seafood.
25 27,29 ถนน เจริญราษฎร์ Wat Ket, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
12. Chez Marco
If you’re looking to take a break from the endless Thai food, then this place is a must. Reminiscent of the French Riviera, the menu of this restaurant consists of delicious and fresh seafood and meats.
15/7 Loi Kroh Rd, Tambon Chang Khlan, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
Salivating yet? You should know what Chiang Mai food and where to eat it by now! What local dish do you want to try next? Which restaurant or street market will you be heading to? Go on, eat your heart out!
PS. If we missed anything do let us know in the comments below!
Featured image: @thehouse_by_ginger