Chiang Mai is one destination that will constantly surprise you with hidden gems at every corner.
From its art and culture, to the scenic mountains, lovely weather, cool night markets and now… To the local food! Seriously upping the game with its offerings of local fare, you will be pleasantly surprised – just like we were.
If we could describe food as beautiful, we definitely would for at least 2 of the places on the list below! (Keep your eyes peeled for Ohkajhu Farm and Meena Rice-based Cuisine in particular.)
Ready to find out more about the treasures we’ve unearthed? Go ahead and get scrolling!
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1. Each gorgeous dish is crafted with love, and you can taste it! – Ohkajhu Farm
Here are three main things you need to know about Ohkajhu Farm.
#1: This twinkling restaurant is part of a farm where they grow their own organic produce!
#2: Chiang Mai locals are really into healthy eating and healthy living, and this is one of the reasons how Ohkajhu Farm came about.
#3: Every dish is impeccably crafted with an explosion of flavours and colours that come together for an unexpectedly delicious meal.
Feel free to meander around the picturesque farm while waiting for your food to come. Whether day or night, the views are gorgeous.
Be prepared to wait a little to get a seat – it’s that popular!
2. Colourful, highly instagrammable and surprisingly yummy – Meena Rice-based Cuisine
Here’s what you get when you combine design and substance. Meena-based Rice Cuisine offers solid fare that’s both easy on the eyes and food for the soul.
Using traditional methods of rice dyeing with natural dyes (butterfly pea, rose, orange, etc), and incorporating different rice grains to add to the colours and textures – Meena Rice-based Cuisine is yet another surprisingly local find.
We absolutely adored the way they fused traditional methods with modern tastes and designs. Speaking from experience, this isn’t something to miss.
The restaurant itself is lovely and feels hidden amidst nature, and will be a pleasant place for a hearty lunch.
3. Find this French bakery hidden in a whimsical jungle – Nana Jungle
This local French bakery is so popular that it sells out by 8-8.30am! (It’s both delicious and inexpensive too!)
Another testament to Chiang Mai locals’ love for healthy food combined with a good dose of stunning scenery, Nana Jungle (also known as Frenchman’s Market) is the go-to place for freshly baked goods.
French croissants, pies and danishes, le pain au levain (the famous sourdough bread) and more – this is bread on a whole new level, thanks to the passionate bakers who believe in quality.
There even is a Saturday market, where you’ll be able to find everything from German bratwurst, Korean kimchi, Japanese pickles, organic milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, pestos, fresh vanilla pods, honey and more.
If you’d love a cup of good old coffee, there’s a cool coffee store offering aromatic coffees from all over the world.
There’s also some shops selling handmade goods ranging from jewellery to wood crafts! How’s that for a local food experience. 😛
PS: There’s a juice stall at the Saturday market that involves using a bicycle to power up the blender. It’s super cute and if you feel guilty about pigging out, feel free to hop on the bike and literally work for your smoothie/juice. Haha!
Address: Chang Phueak, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand (Coordinates here) Website
Contact: +66 86 586 5405
Opening hours: Daily from 7.30am (if you’re keen to check it out, make sure to head down earlier as the goods sell out fast!); Saturday Market opens from 7am to 10am every Saturday)
Price: From USD $1.70 / 55 Baht (for a loaf of fresh bread)
4. Same same, but different! – Toey Dim Sum
Thailand’s variation of dimsum is what one might call ‘same same but different’. However, it is interesting to sample the Thai version of a Chinese favourite!
Putting a local spin on familiar food, there’s quite a fair bit of goodies to sample at Tee Dim Sum, the locals’ go-to place for a yummy Dim Dum meal.
Housed in a humble coffeeshop, you’ll have to go to the front and pick the dishes you want! Then, wait while food is prepared and served – and dig in!
The staff might not be too fluent in English, so be prepared to whip out your phone and Google Translate in order to communicate.
PS: Don’t forget to order a bowl of dessert! We couldn’t have enough and even ordered more for the road. X.X
5. A blast of nothing but local flavours – Huen Muan Jai Chiang
If you’re looking for nothing but pure and authentic local food, look no further than Huen Muan Jai Chiang.
Here, you’ll be able to taste just how spicy Northern Thai food can get. Our absolute favourite was their Red Pork Curry, followed by the Khao Soi. Both are must-try local dishes wherever you are in Northern Thailand.
If you’re feeling adventurous and really want to try something that’s extra local, we’d recommend ordering the dish of samplers to try!
Fried pork skin, red pork curry, famous Northern Thai sausages (delicious too by the way)…. And the best? An innocent looking bowl of green seeded slime that’s really, really spicy (said by someone who can take spicy food).
Up for this crazy local adventure? We dare you!
6. Came for the pretty noodles, stayed for the yummy – Anchan Noodle
To be really honest, I was personally attracted to these noodles just because they came in a pretty shade of purplish blue. Thankfully, there was more than met the eye – this noodle eatery turned out to be another great find. #sorrynotsorry
It was a surprisingly delicious place to settle down and tuck into, the noodles were cooked just right – fragrant, chewy and didn’t stick together. The crispy pork belly and stir-fried pork toppings, added more welcomed flavours and we weren’t disappointed.
Don’t be surprised to see groups of locals dining here when you visit, it’s a popular among Thais in the know!
7. Nothing beats a good old Thai Chicken Rice – Chicken Rice Nantaram (ข้าวมันไก่นันทาราม)
When you talk about local food anywhere in Thailand, one cannot miss mentioning the best Thai Chicken Rice found in the area.
Thankfully, Chicken Rice Nantaram came highly recommended, another humble coffeeshop eatery – that’s comfort food for weary travellers who’ve been on the road for a little too long.
Fragrant rice paired with slices of tender steamed chicken, a simple soup and the famous Thai Chicken Rice dipping sauce.
This is one combo that will never go wrong nor out of style.
8. It feels like a picnic in a field of flowers – Galae (Hillside) Restaurant Chiang Mai
At Galae Restaurant you can have lunch in a garden surrounded by a bounty of colorful flowers. With picnic tables, colourful umbrellas and scores of blooms surrounding you, it’s a feast for the senses.
Indulge in delicious Thai dishes like spicy fishcakes, soups and curries while you admire the view from the side of the lake nearby Doi Suthep Mountain. If you’re wondering what’s a must-try dish here – feel free to order Gai Galae, Galae’s signature Baked Whole Chicken served in foil.
The chicken is tender and well marinated with the gravy, a secret tomato and cashew nut sauce that balances sweet and savoury very well indeed.
This is a great place to enjoy a relaxed lunch followed by a stroll through the beautiful garden.
Galae (Hillside) Restaurant Chiang Mai
Price: From USD $4.40-30 / approx. 150-1012 Baht
Address: 65 Suthep Rd, Muang, Chiang Mai, 50200 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 53 328 455/
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 10pm
9. It’s a seafood bounty by Ping River (plus celebrate Loy Kratong here!) – Paak Dang
Created by a Singaporean brother and sister team, Paak Dang is located in a classical Lanna Style teakwood house by Ping River.
This restaurant aims to provide a culinary experience of the best qualities, mixing culture, food and great views into one superb package. Thai dishes available include Massaman Curry, Paak Dang Duck Curry, Crispy Catfish with Green Mango Salad – as well as an assortment of seafood plates and vegetarian options.
This is also a great place to celebrate Loy Kratong by watching people release sky-lanterns at night.
PS: Paak Dang has a mission to give back to society by providing employment to the less privileged from the neighbouring villages and hill tribes. Read more about it here!
Price: Mains from USD $6-12 / approx. 200 to 400 Baht Website
Address: 46/1 Wang Sing Kham Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 50300 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 (0)94-629-1319; +66 (0)53-232-356
Opening hours: Open daily for dinner from 5pm to 10.30pm (last order at 10pm); Closed every last Sunday of the month
10. The red pork curry here is simply divine – TongTemToh
If you’re keen to taste local food and even find exotic local food like fireant eggs on the menu, TongTemToh pretty much gives you the experience you’re looking for.
First up, you simply have to order the red pork curry here. It was so delicious, we couldn’t stop ourselves and had to order extra curry!
Next, make sure to order the stirfried sunflower seedlings in an eggy paste, the standard Thai pork omelette, Sai Oua (Northern Thai specialty sausages) – and any other dish that catches your eye on the menu.
Whatever you order, the quality of food here is pretty much guaranteed.
We were lucky to arrive shortly before dinner time. By the time we’d finished our food, there was a long queue outside that showed just how much the locals themselves love the food here. 😛
11. The Khao Moo Grob place that hits the sweet spot – Ju 49 – Khao Man Kai Jai Dee
Have you heard of the famous local food in Bangkok by Thanee Restaurant that serves an incredible Khao Moo Grob (Crispy Pork Belly Over Rice)?
Well, whether you’ve heard of it and tried it or not, you’ll be able to find an equally delicious and underrated Khao Moo Grob place right here in Chiang Mai.
Stepping in, you’ll see that the shop owner is really into Harley bikes and has his own motorcycle club patch – adding to the quirky underratedness of this local eatery.
But the highlight truly is their Moo Grob (crispy pork belly). Served over rice with a side of Chinese sausages, or served in a bowl of noodles and soup – the Moo Grob remains crispy and crackles in your mouth. Delicious! A good comfort food and place to tuck into for a solid quick bite.
Are there any local food you’re keen to try in Chiang Mai? We hope you’re excited to introduce your tastebuds to fresh new tastes!
Let us know if you’re excited to visit any of the places above! We’d love to hear from you. 🙂
PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
|PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you! |