Are you coming to Thailand and ready to try all the delicious food in Chiang Mai? This is a great place to start. Thai food is known for bold flavors mixed with fresh herbs.
In Northern Thai cities like Chiang Mai, the dishes tend to incorporate fresh lemongrass herbs with turmeric, ginger, and tamarind spices. If you love spicy food, then Chaing Mai is a great place to explore.
The most famous food in Chiang Mai is the Khao Soi, you can find this in almost all of the restaurants and is typically a breakfast or lunch dish.
- I have made a Chiang Mai Restaurant guide too!
The cost of food in Chiang mai varies. The local street food can run you anywhere from 10 baht for grilled meat to 100 baht burrito. You can get away with eating a meal for less than $2 or 65-ish baht. To do this you will need to order local and off-the-street carts.
Most of the restaurants in Chiang Mai charge anywhere from 50 baht all the way up to 300 baht for a whole fish. There is no storage of restaurants in Chiang Mai either, you will be able to find just about anything you are craving. Keep in mind that many local restaurants only take cash.
You can find ATMs all around town, keep an eye out while you are at 711. If you are in the mood to relax at one of the best hotels in Chiang Mai and order food then try the Grap App. It is like Uber Eats for Thailand. This is also a great way to order cars or scooter rides as well.
All the Food in Chiang Mai You Have to Try!
Special Local Dishes to Try in Chiang Mai
Just like everywhere else in the World Thailand’s cuisine differs from North to South. Chiang Mai has plenty of food you have to try while you are in town. Be sure to keep an eye out for these few next dishes, you are going to fall in love with the local food in Chiang Mai!
Khao Soi or Khao Soy
If there is any local food in Chiang Mai to try, it has to be Khao Soy. This is a hearty curry noodle soup that you will not find in many other places. It is a combination of Thai, Chinese, and Burmese traditions and has a very unique flavor.
The coconut milk and curry are served with big egg noodles in the broth with fried noodles on top. Pair it with a chicken leg, or beef both ways are delicious. Khao Soi can be a bit spicy if you are not used to local Thai food in Chiang Mai you may want to ask for no spice. The dish is usually served with lime wedges, shallots, and pickled mustard greens.
On the tables, you will see toppings like peanuts, sausage, and spicy oil to add. Mix and match until you find the perfect combination for your own Khao Soi.
Sai Oua Sausage
Another food in Chiang Mai to keep an eye, or nose out for is the Sai Oua Sausage. It is filled with fresh ground sausage, lime leaves, cilantro, and most importantly lemongrass, which gives it a refreshing and herby taste.
One of the best places to try this taste of Northern Thai food is at the Warorot Market. Here you can find a food stand in the middle of the covered market selling freshly made Sai Our Sausage. Pair it with some sticky rice and you are all set.
Kai Joew Omelet
Up next for the best food to eat in Chiang Mai is the Kai Joew Omelet. You will find this comforting dish all over Thailand, but it originated in the North. Your eggs will be mixed with a combination of chilis, cilantro, minced pork, or chicken, with your choice of veggies.
You can eat this any time of the day, it does not have to just be a breakfast dish. If you do not like spicy, be sure to tell them when you place your order. Depending on where you order the Kai Joew Omelet you will have various fresh options to add on top like crunchy peanuts or fresh herbs.
- Learn when the best time to visit Chiang Mai is!
Gaeng Hang Lay
If you are a foodie you cannot visit Chiang Mai and not try Gaeng Hang Lay. This is a traditional dish that originated from the Burmese people who settled in the area in the past. It is a complex pork curry dish with mouth-watering flavors.
Gaeng Hang Lay is a combination of pork belly, and shoulder, with ginger, fish sauce, palm sugar, and a variety of other spices. It is hearty, filling, and delicious. Keep Gaeng Hang Lay in mind when you are cruising for the best food to eat in Chiang Mai.
Khao Tome Rice Soup
This breakfast soup is filling but still light at the same time. Most of the time Kaho Tome Rice Soup is made with pork and rice, and depending on what is in season you could have a variety of veggies.
At most places, you can pick your fresh toppings to add. Try this soup out on a rainy day or if you need a pick-me-up, it is going to his the spot. This would be a great meal to have before enjoying one of the beautiful hikes in Chiang Mai!
Spicy Papaya Salad or Som Tam
You have to try the Spicy Papaya Salad when visiting Thailand, it has a very unique flavor making it one of the most ordered street foods in Chiang Mai. This is because in order to get the raw juices out of the papaya the vendors will crush it with a mortar and pestle.
Traditionally the salad comes with shredded green papaya shreds with sliced chilis, chopped tomatoes, peanuts, lime juice, and palm sugar. Depending on how is preparing it for you, it may come with mint, cilantro, or whatever fresh herbs they have on hand.
Order your spicy papaya salad with sticky rice and grilled meat for a perfect combination of sweet, spicy, and hearty. It is also a refreshing snack or side dish with noodle soup.
Another popular street food in Chiang Mai is banana pancakes. You can find these any type of day because they are a great breakfast and sweet after-dinner treat. Take your pick from a sweet treat with Nutella, chocolate syrup, or honey. You can also make them savory with a fresh cup of coffee or Thai tea.
If you have never tried a banana pancake, Chiang Mai is the perfect place to start. You can try making these at home, all you will need is bananas a few eggs, and whatever toppings you like the best. Filling up on pancakes is a must after enjoying one of the many amazing bars in Chiang Mai!
Mango Sticky Rice – Khao Niaow Ma Maung
It sounds crazy to pair sticky rice with a fresh mango right? Trust that it is so delish. The rice is prepared with coconut milk and sugar giving it a creamy and sweet texture. And for the mango, the sweetness and almost tangy flavor just work with the sticky rice.
You can order mango sticky rice in basically any restaurant and it is also on many of the people selling street food in Chiang Mai. Be warned that once you try it you want to order it almost every day while you are in Chiang Mai.
Where to Get Street Food in Chiang Mai
It is not hard to find food in Chiang Mai it seems like everywhere you look there are street vendors. But there are a few places to eat too to get the best street food, Chiang Mai has.
Markets in Chiang Mai Night Market – Every night of the week you can try the best food in Chiang Mai here.
Sunday Walking Street – The Sunday Walking Street is an epic market. There are hundreds of vendors selling everything from grilled meats to mac and cheese. Seriously, you can find pretty much anything you want here.
Warorot Market –The Warorot Market is one of the most popular day markets and best food places in Chiang Mai. This is where you can find the Sai Oua Sausage and many of the noodle soups mentioned above. You can also get fresh veggies and clothing here too.
Chiang Mai Old City-Yall, Chiang Mai Old City is full of the best food in Chiang Mai. Street food, restaurants, stands, little trucks running around, seriously it has so much. If you are looking for the best Western food in Chiang Mai you will definitely find it here.
Restaurants Chiang Mai Old Town
If you find yourself at one of the traditional restaurants in Chiang Mai you order by writing your order down on a piece of paper. Then the waiters either collect the paper, or you turn it in at the front counter. The best Chiang Mai nightlife is in the old town, with a wide variety of restaurants too.
Khao Soi Prince
For the best local food in Chiang mai, you have to try Khao Soi Prince. This is one of the most notorious places for Khao Soi in CM. They open at 10 am and close around 2, or when they run out of food. Expect there to be a wait if you come after 11 a.m.
This is one of the places where you will have to order a piece of paper and bring it to the counter. It is so easy and they were incredibly kind.
Cowboy Hat Lady
The famous cowboy hat lady is known to have the best Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak in town. If she didn’t wear her big 10-gallon hat you might miss her. Khao Kha Moo is a pork leg that has been marinated in a special 5 Chinese five spice.
You can order it over rice, and with an egg on top. If you were looking for the best food at one of the best-hidden restaurants in Chiang Mai.
The House by Ginger
Another one of the best restaurants in Chiang mai old town is The House by Ginger. This hidden gem is right in the middle of town and is on the Chiang Mai Michelin guide. You can find local dishes made with the highest quality fused with international favorites as well.
Try the tacos with Thai smoked duck tartar or the Asian guacamole as a starter. There is something for everyone to love at The House by Ginger.
Find more information about Chiang Mai old town here!
Best Restaurants in Chiang Mai 2023
Grazie’s is the best place to go if you are looking for home-cooked Thai food. The two most popular dishes on the menu are Khao Soi and Pad Thai. But, vegetarians love Grazie’s too because they can cook any dish fresh and without meat.
Fresh smoothies, affordable prices, and fast service are what make Grazies one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai.
Dukes Western Food
Sometimes you have a craving and need to try who has the best Western food in Chiang Mai. Everything on the menu at Duke’s is amazing, especially if you are a nomad in Thailand and haven’t been home lately. They have a few burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and fried options on the menu.
The Duke’s all around town as well. They are inside the popular Maya Mall Food court in Chiang Mai, and a little outside of the old town. Order a delivery to your hotel room from the Grab app!
Check out all the best cafes in Chiang Mai, many of them have food as well.
The Service 1921
One of the best places for food in Chiang Mai is The Service 1921 Restaurant. They are known for their prime meat cuts that are dried and aged in the house. Dress to impress here! The Service has a fine dining atmosphere to match the quality of their food.
Try the garlic port ribs, pork belly, or any of their grilled meats. And be sure to save room for the mango sticky rice it is extra good here. The service 1921 is a great date night out in Chiang Mai.
Best Riverside Restaurants Chiang Mai
The Good View
The Good View is a rooftop bar in the Good View Hotel. With stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. You can order fresh seafood, local Thai food, and a few international picks as well.
While enjoying your good view grab yourself a drink from the big variety of cocktails and wines. The atmosphere is cool, stylish, and welcoming. This is one of the best Chiang Mai restaurants with a view to relaxing and taking in the dreamy Ping River after a long day of exploring.
You cannot miss Riverside when you are driving around Chiang Mai. It is right off the main road when you are coming to Old Town. This is one of the best Chiang Mai restaurants with a view. The Penang curry, Khao Soi, and green curry chicken are all amazing.
The Riverside even offers magical boat rides across the river. Try booking a time for sunset before your dinner, it will be a night you never forget.