One of the first things that would come to mind when talking about Thailand is food, a cuisine that is truly unlike any other, with all its complex, unique, and well thought out flavors. The usual suspects are pad thai, spring rolls, tom yum kung, but we’re going to skip these for now. This article will focus on the oft-overlooked but highly-deserving northern dishes that you should definitely try.
We’ll focus on Chiang Mai, a mountainous northern city that’s both historic and hip, traditional and modern. These are some of the dishes that you simply must not miss when you’re on this side of the country. You won’t have difficulty looking for places that serve these, but we’ll make things easier for you and give you some recommendations on where to eat.
Thai food is mostly spicy, and this is arguably one of the best ones in northern Thailand. Khao Soi, a curry noodle soup dish made of boiled noodles topped with either chicken/beef and some crispy fried noodles, is served with shallots, mustard greens, and lime. The complexity of flavors is what makes this dish a favorite. These are available practically everywhere, but try Khao Soi Khun Yai, a tried-and-tested place for these excellent noodles.
Address: Khao Soi Khun Yai – Sri Poom 8 Alley, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
Chicken – Cherng Doi, SP, Midnight
Fried chicken is very popular in Chiang Mai, and these are some of the most popular ones. SP chicken
Cherng Doi and SP chicken are both restaurants that specialize in the famous barbecue chicken. There are many other item on the menu, but make sure that you order the juicy, tender boneless chicken—that’s crispy on the outside and beautifully juicy on the inside—and pair it with some sticky rice and some spicy. papaya salad (som tam).
Midnight chicken only does operation at night, so this is perfect for those who are having the post-drinking munchies. Take note that you don’t just let yourself in and get a table—you need to get listed, line up, and order your food before you make your way in.
Cherng Doi Roast Chicken – Soi Sukasem(Between Nimman Soi 2&4), Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
SP Chicken – Samlan Rd Soi 1, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Midnight Chicken – Kamphaeng Din Alley, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
Northern Thai Sausage
Because Sai ua or northern Thai sausage is considered as street food, you will find lots of them everywhere, but one of the best ones is a small eatery on Nimmanhaemin Road. Don’t let the small stall and the no-frills vibe fool you: this is one of the best places to get excellent sausages served with fried, flavorful kaffir leaves that adds freshness and loads of flavor to the already-tasty sausage. They have excellent fried chicken, too.
Address: Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 13
Cowgirl’s Khao Kha Mu
It is not hard to look for this cart in the busy market: just look for the woman wearing a cowboy hat, and the long line of people that await her food. She is the famous woman behind khao kha mu, or stewed pork knuckle—a simple but extremely flavorful dish served with rice, hard-boiled egg, mustard greens, and garlic. This is a simple stall has become an institution, something that people—both tourists and locals alike—just can’t get enough of. The best part? It’s less than a dollar per serving.
Address: Thanon Manee Nop Parat, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
/// Written by Lia Tizon, The Philippines