As I have stated on my Openrice profile: I do not only travel when I am in a new country; I taste it. Food is celebration of life, a feast of chant for a country’s culture!
In order to further consolidate my pride as an amateur foodie, of course I need to write a blog specifically for foods in Chiang Mai. I have taken so many nice photos of foods here that I cannot waste them.
A Brief Summary of this Chapter
- Favorite foods and drinks in Chiang Mai ( Their seasoning, meals in different hours, beer, vegetarian foods, western and Thai foods, buffet, their pricing)
- Favorite cafes ( Birds Nest Cafe, By Hands Cafe, Vigie Sist …)
- Most seen foods, street foods and snacks
- Chiang Mai VS Hong Kong foods (vegetarian VS meat dominant, seasoning, cafes, pricing…)
- Foods of ethnic minority (Indian, Turkish kebab)
Links to blogs of more detailed explanation of below topics will be inserted soon:
Chiang Mai VS Hong Kong foods, Favorite cafes
For my reviews of my favorite restaurants in Chiang Mai, please visit my Tripadvisor profile: http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/LmythL
My food blog for Hong Kong foods:
Favorite foods and drinks in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai has a lot of Europeans and vegetarians so it has good Western and vegetarian foods. Thai foods are amazing too, with lots of greens, curry and brown rice at very good price (35Bhat/8HKD/0.7 euro for street foods, more for cafes and bars). As they produce their own fruits, the fruits are sooooo fresh and the fruitshakes are unbelievably cheap (20-55Baht/5-12HKD). There’s a street food stall at Somphet Market where they make use of almost the whole pineapple to make you a big big fruitshake of 20Baht. Fresh and healthy!
Always good foods around the corner, so I get so lazy —- all the restaurants that I have been to are within 5 minutes of walk from my guesthouse, except Birds Nest Cafe! Oh my paradise!
- The Seasoning in Chiang Mai— Thai and Western Foods
Usually they don’t over put seasoning, so I need to customize the flavor by mixing the spices with the dish with a handful of spices they provide on the table. I love it because the flavour will be always just right for me.
However, occasionally they add too much chilli, and too sweet.
For Thai restaurants, they have vinegar with red/green chilli, salt sugar, and my favorite —- fish sauce. Fish sauce is not very common in HK so I feel very happy to see it is everywhere in Chiang Mai. Its unique saltiness fits well with Thai dishes.
For Western restaurants, they provide generous olive oil, pepper, paprika,herbs, tabasco, even soy sauce for eggs.
- Thai Foods
FruitShakes/ Milkshakes/ Soya milkshakes (20-55 Baht/5-12HKD/below 1Euro)
They make juice freshly once you order it. A lot of juice mix available, such as my favourite— carrot+beetroot+cucumber+ginger juice at Kasalong Guesthouse(50Baht) below. The green powder is spirulina. We rarely have beetroot in HK, and the cost of this juice is 4-5 times more, but less fresh and less generous. It’s a must for me to drink fruit juice every day in Chinag Mai! Remember to ask them for NO SUGAR!
In general the juices are iced cold, but fruitshakes are chilly with well-ground ice. One has to be careful of drinking too much iced-cold shakes—– they make my stomach hurts!
The best fruit milkshake I had is in Birds Nest Cafe—-Sesame banana fruitshake with milk/coconut milk (55 Baht)! The hint of honey has made it 2 times more delicious.
With only 20 Baht, this street food stall in Somphet Market only opens at night, selling great fruitshakes and soya bean milk. They have never sold fruitshake with soya bean milk and I am the only customer who asks for it. Watermelon soya bean shake is 100 thumbs up.
When I saw them putting almost the whole pineapple into the grinding machine, I knew it would be one of the best fruitshakes I ever had!
Butterfly Pea Tea (40Baht/10HKD)
Very beautiful blue color, best with honey. It does not have outstanding flavor if to taste without honey. Good for growing black hair.
Thai Milk Tea(15-40Baht)
The 15Baht one in budget local food stalls are always too sweet. Its bright orange color is beautiful though.
Roselle Tea (20-30Baht/5-7HKD)
Thai drinks are so colorful, including this rose-red street drink. Sour and sweet at the same time, resembling 酸梅湯(Sweet Plum Juice) in China.
Green Curry with Brown Rice (50Baht/12HKD/1Euro )
One of my fav dish—– rich in coconut milk, lemongrass leaves, and the vegetables vary from cafe to cafe. Some of them have eggplants, some bell papers. Sweet but not spicy.
In PepperMaint Guesthouse they have green curry with brown rice only 50 Baht. Decent quality.
Pineapple Fried Brown Rice (90Baht), Wheatgrass juice (50Baht)
This restaurant called Brown Rice is relatively more expensive, but it serves good innovative vegetarian foods. I hate refined carbs, so I am very delighted to see it is not again boring white rice. It has a lot of pineapple pieces, together with nuts, they made it naturally sweet. Generous with chopped veggies.
The wheatgrass drink is quite popular in Chiang Mai, which claims its health effect of chlorophyll. Refreshing.
Fried Black Rice with Bell Pepper and Yellow Curry Powder (55Baht/13HKD)
My fav at Birds Nest Cafe. The color of the black rice has proven its richness in nutrition. Its coarse texture is full of fibre. Every spoonful of it reminds me I am eating ‘health’ inside my body.
Not oily, rich and coarse, naturally sweet from the nuts, better customize its flavor by pepper and salt, otherwise it doesn’t have enough taste.
My fav Thai noodles accessible virtually everywhere.
The flat yellow egg noodles are soft and bouncy, to which I am quite addicted to it. The thin version of the noodles are bouncy like Japanese ramen, but costing 20% the price. Kao Soy is noodles in curry with tofu/meat, topped with deep fried flour crisps, served with sour pickles and lime. Unbeatable!
Pad Thai is stir fried flat rice noodles with tofu/meat, usually folded inside omelets. Sweet and salty, served with unlimited raw crispy sprouts. Not as oily as in HK, with lime lowering its greasy feeling in case they have added too much oil. Amazing with fish sauce.
Stir-fried veggies and meat(60-100Baht/15-25HKD)
I am getting healthier in Chiang Mai because stir fried veggies is everywhere. Thai even enjoy very big breakfast— the big plate of mixed veggies stir on the left (60 Baht/15HKD including rice) is one of my breakfasts. Yes again, it’s never oily with appropriate portions soy sauce. Accompanied with slightly sweet dragonfruit shake, this breakfast is well below 20HKD serving 3-4 bowls of veggies. How healthy! Why can’t Hong Kong restaurants make non-greasy cheap and yummy vegetables? Veggies in HK restaurants are always BORING. BORING!!!
The one on the right is another breakfast(30Baht/7HKD), a local restaurant in the neighborhood only opens from 7am-1pm, directly opposite to Blue Diamond Restaurant. The women cook really well with generous tender yet slim chicken slices. The soup is not good.
Rice With Pork Knuckles’ Skin and Meat (35Baht)
I tried this in Somphet Market, and this street food stall opens only at night starting from around 7pm. It’s so-so.
The rice is too damp, the meat is rough, yet can be improved by adding the fish sauce on the right.
Below is Somphet Market, it’s a combination of night street food stalls, morning breakfast, raw food market with nearby street full of massage shops.
In casual night food stalls beside the road, you can always serve yourself with ‘All You Can Eat veggie bar’, which serves unlimited raw sprouts and perhaps kales. I wish we have this in HK!:(
One of the most common foods in Chiang Mai. My fav:)
Omelets can be stuffed with veggies or veggies+beef/pork/chicken. In this ‘morning restaurant ‘(the one near Blue Diamond) they are particularly sour because of the tomato sauce.
Vegetarian buffet (110Baht/27HKD/2Euros)
At first glance I think this guesthouse-cafe-restaurant looks a little bit too ‘homey’ to try, but now it’s one of my most visited places. I lived there for a few days, and they rescued me from harassment of a Thai in my previous guesthouse!
The menu and foods of this cafe are improving after merely 2 months of launch by a friendly couple of Italian husband and his Thai wife, who is responsible for all the cooking. She taught cooking class in the past so her foods are guaranteed in quality. They have the best unlimited supply of green curry in the buffet as it has big chunks of green eggplants. The stir-fried veggies, rice crisps, bamboo shoots, red curry, tofu with mushrooms in sweet clear soup are good. but the last option is too sweet for me. The curries are not really spicy.
Together with the black and brown rice, it’s simply amazing at its price, quality and health-consciousness.
For sure it is a nice place to meet new people because the customers are always willing to talk to strangers.
On the first day they started making crepes, the Italian owner was so nice to made me a free crepe of banana and chocolate:) Grazie!
Papaya Salad (40Baht/10HKD)
This food stall located in the Wat Sum Pow Temple only opens in Sunday Market on Sundays, which is beside the main street in the middle of the old town. Big-sized and super nice, quite sweet and spicy for me.
Mushroom Soup (50Baht)
It’s also from the same food stall as the salad. It’s bay leaves, mushrooms, pumpkin, chilli, Chinese kale and bay leaves with purple color shrimp paste (蝦醬). Need to ask for less chilli as it’s too spicy, but otherwise quite good. The shrimp paste is the most important flavor here.
Shrimp paste is quite popular in HK, in which some villages such as Tai Po still produce this kind of fermented product.
Mango Sticky Rice with coconut milk(30-60Baht/7-15HKD)
Sweetly fresh. The mangoes are very very fresh. I used to eat this at Somphet Market when I cannot sleep at midnight. There’s a pedler always broadcasting Michael Jackson’s shows on the TV on his mobile ‘kitchen’, making sticky rice and passion fruit shake. He once gave me a small free rice with mango when I was sitting there watching his TV (very friendlyyy), and his nice friend even tried to host me. However his knows very very limited English so I rejected his offer.
Crispy rice cakes/Banana chips/ Taro chips/Seaweed chips (5-10 Baht per bag)
The seaweed crisps resemble deep fried fish skins, yummy! Rice crisps are sweet and lovely, which banana chips don’t really have flavor.
Chang Beer/Leo Beer (50Baht up)
I got sick of drinking Chang beer. From discussing with friends I know they have similar problems with Chang. Leo beer is much better.
Whole Wheat Croissant and pastries (30-40Baht/7-10HKD)
I used to go to Da’s Bakery beside Somphet Market for wholewheat croissants. They have a wide variety of nutty biscuits, whole wheat and brown rice bakery, health conscious at the same time well-baked.
The croissants are always crispy and buttery, while the inner part is soft, diffusing subtle aroma from the layers of oil. There are generous sesame seeds in the dough, making it crunchier. Much better than those of Blue Diamond Restaurant, which they overcharge a lot of things and relatively more unfriendly to customers.
I wish we have whole wheat croissants in HK.
Pizza(150-250Baht/37-62HKD/3-6Euros for 10/12-inch pizza)
At By Hands Cafe they make one of the best pizzas I had in my life! This favorite cafe of mine opens 5pm-11pm in non-peak season, everything hand-made from its tomato sauce, dough to even clay oven! The tomato sauce sourness is perfect, the dough is soft like a cushion, with generous melting mozarella on top, not even a hint of greasiness. I sprinkle the pizza with pepper, paprika, salt and olive oil (my friend prefers oregano) to make the pizza so delicious it can only be found in heaven.
The fruit teas and Masala spice tea pot is 60Baht, also unique and amazing I can rarely found in another place.
When I go back to Chiang Mai I will definitely go there a few times a week!
My friend intends to play hide and seek with me at By Hands Cafe.
I miss the cattie and doggie there— they have very unique character,the cat does have the sleeping etiquette of all, while the doggie always wants to walk under my legs!
I asked them to let me help with a part of the pizza making. That pizza was amazing (proud):))
British All Day Breakfast (120-190Baht/30-50HKD)
They have a lot of All Day breakfast there. Nice.
The one of the left is at Birds Nest, the one on the right is Vigie Sist Cafe.
This one is from Kasalong Guesthouse. They serve nice juice mix with spirulina, while this veggie egg omelet whole wheat toast is healthy and poetic. The omelet is full of veggies such as broccoli and carrots, nice with olive oil, pepper and a bit of soy sauce. The toast is hot and crispy at perfect moisture. Big portions of mixed veggie salad at around 25HKD.
Kasalong has a hidden garden with shades of trees and my favourite music to enjoy an afternoon with nice food, fruit juice and a book. It’s only right beside my guesthouse, how convenient.
Irish Pie (Mushroom and Spinach) with Bubble and Squeak (~250Baht/60HKD/6Euros)
The Irish is full of buttery flavor as soon as it is being delivered on the table. Very crispy freshly baked, my favourite stuffing is mushrooms and spinach, which they are not being overheated to lose all nutrition. The gravy is so-so, while bubble and squeak is full of mixed veggies just rich just rich. A enjoyed this meal at Un Irish Pub when watching sensational wins of Liverpool and Chelsea, quite hot soccer atmosphere.
I saw some bars and cafes serving pumpkin soup, and this one at Birds Nest, you can see from the photo, is very thick. In HK we used to drink sweetened pumpkin soup because it is a dessert!
Chocolate balls with Peanut Butter (20-30Baht)
These kind of home-made choco balls are popular in Chiang Mai. It feels so homey but tastes alright.
Street Foods/ Night Market Foods/ Foods of Ethnic Minority
Chicken skewers (10Baht/2HKD)
The skewers at the Saturday Market are amazing, especially the sweetened chicken ones, hot and juicy, super cheap. Must Try!
Fried Pork Toasts (40Baht/10HKD 6 pieces with cucumbers)
As shrimp fried toasts are close to extinction in HK, I was so joyful when I saw this in Sunday Market at the Wat Sum Pow Temple( For detailed introduction of the temple, please refer to the link below the article). Very crispy and not greasy, amazing when eat with cucumbers all in a single bite —– unexpectedly a perfect match! The cucumbers make the junk food more refreshing. The sweet chilli sauce has contributed to its marvellous flavor too.
Rice Paper Rolls with mushroom and carrot stuffing (30Baht)
Too sweet, the rice paper wrap is too thick. If they can improve these two problems it would be perfect.
This is a project of Chiang Mai University. The wine shown below is lychee wine, and I like it—–not too choking, not that tannic, quite sweet.
Crispy Pancakes with Coconut (40Baht a few pieces)
They have the pancakes in Somphet Market at night too. The egg-flour paste is similar to that of HK style waffles or egg puffs. The white sauce is coconut cream, with some strands of coconut mixed together. Nice dessert at great price.
Pastries (3Baht each)
This is so far the only stall I have ever seen here selling colorful and creative mini pastries. They are not only cute but really really yummy:)))))), with a range of flavors such as coconut and pineapple.
Good quality homemade cakes such as green tea custard cake show below and chocolate cakes with half-melted core are sold at very cheap price! 😀 You can find them at Sunday Market or some of the cafes.
Sweet roti usually with Nutella and bananas are everywhere. Oily though!
Tukish Kebab (50Baht)
The tiny Turkish kebab restaurant right at the night clubbing area along Ravithi road, opposite to the famous Zoe’s bar. They make the bread slices by themselves and the price is agreeable, generous with the chicken slices, but I need to ask them for less sauce—that’s too much sweet chili sauce.
Indian Foods (100 Baht up, Lassi/Masala tea 40 Baht up)
In general, the price of Indian foods here are relatively expensive. This restaurant located at the night club district of Zoe’s make average foods, but the lassi is really cheap and nice.
Japanese Sushi (5Bhat/1HKD per piece)
These kinds of takeaway sushi street food stalls are everywhere. The sushi make the stalls really colorful:))
Chinese Dim Sums and Dumplings
Didn’t pay much attention to this because they don’t look particularly nice.
Thanks for enjoying the article, please like, share or leave comments :))) I would definitely like to listen to what you think and give you a hand for advice if you visit Chiang Mai!
Street foods at Sunday Market link (excellent intro):
Credits of food quote cards to: