With its Northern Lanna cuisine, Chiang Mai’s tasty delights are considered some of the best in the country. We have put together a list of the best places to enjoy Thai street food and dine like a local.
Chang Pheuak Gate (North Gate)
The night market on Chang Puak Gate or North Gate is always busy and offers a great range of authentic Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. As soon as the sun sets, the square – located just on the outer ring of the moat – fills with vendors, frying up dishes. Opposite the square, you will find a great market hall which is ideal for fresh fruits and smoothies during the day. As with most street food stalls, prices are incredibly low. The vendors have specialized in certain dishes or offer a variety of seafoods, meats or vegetables from which you can choose.
Sunday Market Wat Sam Phao
The Sunday Walking Market not only offers a great opportunity to see the mostly handmade products of the local vendors, but also a chance to enjoy authentic Thai dishes. The Wat Sam Phao temple is located at the intersection of Rachadamnoen Road and Ratpakinai Road. In these magical surroundings, visitors can choose between some truly fantastic dishes ranging from vegan pancakes to more traditional noodle dishes, sushi or gyoza. Take your pick from the extensive range and marvel at the stunning atmosphere. A seating area is provided and prices are incredibly reasonable.
Chiang Mai University
Chiang Mai University is located on Suthep road on the east-side of town and offers a more authentic atmosphere. A variety of food stalls as well as small restaurants and sweet shops can be found around the campus. You are unlikely to encounter many foreigners here. Instead the restaurants are filled with Thai students in their uniforms, enjoying traditional Thai noodle dishes or soups. Food comes incredibly cheap around here, responding to the university atmosphere. A trip to Chiang Mai University is worth the journey in order to truly experience Thai food like a local. After enjoying authentic dishes, make your way to the nearby trendy Nimmanhaemin Road and enjoy a cool drink in one of the many stylish bars.
Huay Tung Tao
Huay Tung Tao lake is located just a few miles outside of the city centre and is worth the trip, not just because of its stunning scenery but also for some authentic street food. Vendors are located around the lake and serve up hot and cold dishes, as well as refreshing drinks. Visitors can get comfortable in one of the many bamboo huts, clustered around the shore of the lake, allowing them to splash their feet in the cool water while enjoying some spicy Thai cuisine. There are few touristy visitors, instead you are more likely to encounter locals. One of the most secluded places in Chiang Mai, but also one of the best to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere while getting to know some undiluted Thai dishes.
Warorot Market immediately stands out through its Chinese influences, creating a typical market atmosphere. The market is just around the corner from the more touristy Night Bazaar and is frequently visited by locals doing their shopping. Expect to find a busy crowd around here in the evening, inspecting the variety of goods on offer ranging from cold meats to grasshoppers, fresh vegetables and food stalls. The markets extends into a multi-level hall with an overwhelming number of shops selling all kinds of snacks. The beloved fried pork is especially prevalent here, as well as authentic Northern Thai dishes. Warorot market is a popular destination for all kinds of visitors.