Finding the Go-to Eating Places in Chiang Mai, Thailand

 Chiang Mai

Credit: xiquinhosilva

The opportunity to feast on something authentic is an experience looked forward to by any traveler. Don’t let it slip through your hands simply because you don’t know any better. These days, the Internet is a trove of treasures/information. You have the ability to check out dining places in your destination without leaving your seat in a matter of minutes.

There are also apps you can upload in your smartphone that you can use to find these restaurants. Take a pick from this Forbes’ list of 10 Best Apps For Traveling Like A Local by Tracey Greenstein. She writes, “… these smart applications will help you travel through the eyes of a local….” The list includes:

  1. Local Eats
  2. Spotted by Locals
  3. Currency
  4. Foodict Food Dictionary
  5. HearPlanet (Lite): Audio Guide to the World
  6. World Customs
  7. Wi-Fi Finder
  8. Tourism Commissions and Bureaus
  9. Road Ninja
  10. Smart Traveler

Beyond Bangkok

If you had your fill of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is another destination you’ll love. It is the capital of the province of Northern Thailand or “The Rose of the North,” which is about 700km north of Bangkok. It is huge and holds significant cultural importance. If you like culture and nature, Chiang Mai has lots of these attractions. These are deliciously expressed in its cuisine, which is why you can’t just eat anywhere.

The Best There is in Chiang Mai

To have its authentic gastronomy embedded in your experience, skip the room service in the hotel or multinational fast food chains scattered all over the planet. Instead, check out this list suggested by Lawrence Ferber in Fodor’s Travel for a start: Where to Eat in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Ferber writes,While Bangkok has established a slick, glamorous dining scene, the comparatively laid-back, earthy Chiang Mai remains rustic, traditional, and, of course, very spicy. This mecca of night market fare and hole-in-the-wall discoveries—“restaurant” may entail little more than a three-walled concrete inlet or portable tables and chairs under a makeshift tin roof or tarp—is where Andy Ricker, James Beard Award–winning chef and owner of Portland and New York’s Pok Pok restaurants, found his calling.”

If you trust Ricker, who has taken “part time residency” here, then you would like to visit a few of these eating places where he took Ferber.

  1. Khao Soi Prince at 105-109 The Kaew Nawarat: Its most popular offering is, of course khao soi, a “coconut and curry-based soup with egg noodles, chicken, and some crunchy fried noodles for texture.” Cost – $1 or $1.15 with beef. Feeling hungry? Eat it with rice and soup. Not hot enough? Spice it up with more spices and herbs.
  2. Laap Dii Khom Patan at Soi 5, Thanon Arak: This is a rickety roadside eating spot where you can have a taste of the best of the northern Thai flavors – Laap khom (raw beef with bile) and laap plaa duk (catfish dish).
  3. Hearn Kham at 16/10 Kutao Soi 3: “… this discrete hole in the wall serves up lovingly made-to-order, utterly mind-blowing Tai Yai fare.” Don’t mish these dishes: moo gon turmeric pork meatballs and Pit Ko Sai soybean dip with crunchy veggies and herbs,
  4. Huen Jai Yong at 65 Moo 4, Thambon Buak Khang, Samkampaeng: “One of Ricker’s musts for Chiang Mai visitors, this wooden home-turned-restaurant offers a refined survey of northern Thai cuisine…”  Must try are sai oua sausage, tam baakeua and kaeng kanun.
  5. The Dining Room at 137 Pillars House at 2 Soi 1 Nawatgate Road: For a contemporary dining experience in a gorgeous setting, this is the place to be. It is known for its upmarket offerings of Thai-Southeast Asian-Western fusion. Try” gaeng hung lay gae, lamb shank curry with edamame, are offered and use local and organic farm products.”
  6. Tong Tem Toh at 11 Nimmanhemin, Soi 13: This trendy lunch venue offers its guests a lunch experience in a patio. Ricker suggests “northern Thai sausage, sai oua,  roasted banana pepper chili dip, nam prik noom, pork belly, kaeng hang lay curry, and olive-shaped “puff mushrooms,” served with galangal chili dip.”
  7. Khao Kha Moo Chang Phueak at Thanon Manee Nop Parat, Amphoe Mueang: This is the best place for “khao kha moo, fall-apart stewed pork knuckle meat over rice with a hard-boiled egg on the side.”  The place and its food hawker “Cowgirl” have been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”
  8. Beast Burger at Nimmanhemin, Soi 11: If you can’t totally avoid comfort food, this is one of the best places to dine. It is a food truck that offers artisanal burgers.

If you don’t want to miss these treats, make it part of your travel plan to do a bit of research to elevate your travel experience a notch higher. Alternatively, take the local public transport and ask the tuk-tuk, songthaew, or rickshaw drivers where the locals go. .

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