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Monday, December 22, 2014

Chiangmai Food - What to Eat in Chiangmai?

While we were still in Chiangmai, we shared many of our food photos each day on Facebook as we snapped and ate.  Friends sent comments and there were so many likes.... When  we came home, they started asking how we could find and try so many varieties of food that looks so good and delicious which they couldn't do when they were in Chiangmai.
Of course, we did some homework before leaving for Chiangmai.  While there, we started looking around for the foods recommended.  Honestly, not all that are recommended is good in various aspects.  This all depends on each preferences.  Here, I will not share those that we  tried and found not worthy of trying.
Some of them were from my hubby's previous trip which he tried and found them to be worthy of eating.  This time with me of course.  So far, we have no regrets and are very happy with all that we tried eventhough at times, we found the local food to be a bit too sweet and oily.
Some friends recommended that I should try as much of the Northern Thai cuisine especially the herbs and spiced food.  Frankly speaking, in a foreign land, we have to be a littIe careful when eating.  We prefer street food and also food outlets frequent by locals but they must be clean and hygenic.
Below are some of the food that we tried and found worthy when in Chiangmai.  Although the prices may be a little on the high side   and portions small compared to home, it's still worthy to try them since we are there.  The sequence here is from the first day we were in Chiangmai and not according to taste and quality.
Khao Soi [Egg Noodle Curry] 
rich, spicy and savoury yellow curry noodle soup, served with shredded preserved mustard leaves, big onions, slice of lime and extra chilli paste.  The egg noodles are of the flat variety with a small portion of deep-fried crispy noodles on top.  You can choose either, pork, chicken or beef Khao Soi.  The portion is quite small and you may need to order an extra bowl.
Khao Soi Stall
Sriphoom Road
 [between Wat Khun Kha Ma and Wat Monthien]
North Gate/Chang Puak Gate
Chiangmai Old City 
This particular Khao Soi stall is a small shack kind of restaurant is on the left of Horse Temple with several tables under a small pavilion called Grandma's Restaurant [Khao Soi Khun Yai] popular with locals for its northern-style noodles. 
The owner says it is a family business that has been operating for about 16 years. Their Khao Soi comes with chicken, pork or beef and a plate of preserved Kiam Chye, cut big onions, fried chilli paste and a slice of lime with some crispy fried noodles].  Of course, the usual condiments like sugar, fish sauce, chilli flakes and pickled green/red chillies are left on each table for you to add to the noodles.
The combination of the noodles with the kiam chye, onions and lime is surprisingly good.  The soup is not too creamy but spicy enough.  Don't add the chilli paste if you can't take spicy food cos' it is really 'hot'.
We had 3 bowls with different meat and a longan cold drink. This meal costs 135THB.  I think each bowl costs only 35 THB.  This is definitely worth trying for the taste and price.
Desserts at La Mango, Chiangmai Old City
At the corner of Inthawarorot Road
in front of Wat Inthakin
 opposite the 3 Wise Men's Monument

This is an ice and dessert cafe. After sightseeing around the area, it is good to sit down for some hot or cold drinks, fruits or desserts. 
Here there are many kinds of snow ice shavings that comes with different kinds of fruits, flavoured puddings, coffee etc. We ordered a Mango Pudding Snow Ice and a Soybean Milk Snow Ice with Mixed Fruits. Each plate costs 85 THB. Portion is quite big but does melts away fast.
Mango Pudding With Mango Shaved Snow Ice [85THB]
Soy Bean Milk Pudding and Shaved Ice with Mixed Fruits [85THB]
Compared to Taiwanese Mango Shaved Ice, this is not that good but still worth trying just to cool down the body system during the hot season. The weather in November is still humid and hot.  During Yee Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals in November, most of the surrounding places have lots of lanterns on display which brightens up the place.
Radna and Khao Phat at Cafe
 at Bhubing Palace, Doi Suthep

We had Khao Phat [Thai Fried Rice], Rad Na [Thai Stir Fried Flat Rice Noodles in gravy], a cup of coffee and cocoa. The portion was quite big and the food comes steaming hot. This meal only costs 155 THB. The price of noodles and rice ranges from 40 - 60 THB and for hot drinks it's about 15 - 20 THB. Very reasonable price.
As this place is quite prone to rain, a stop at the cafe for some food is good alternative if you can't move around the Palace grounds in the rain.
Thai Fried Rice - Khao Phat

Thai fried rice is a variety of fried rice typical of central Thai cuisine. In Thai, khao means "rice" and phat is related to "stir fried". This dish differs from Chinese fried rice is that it is prepared with Thai Jasmine rice instead of regular long-grain rice. It normally contains meat [chicken, shrimp and crab are all common], egg, onions, kailan and sometimes tomatoes.  The seasonings which may include soy sauce, sugar, salt, possibly some chilli sauce and the ubiquitous nam pla [fish sauce] are stir-fried together with the other ingredients. The dish is then plated and served with accompaniments like cucumber slices, tomato slices, lime and sprigs of green onions and coriander. This dish has many regional variants, as it is a widespread dish.  Overall it is a very tasty fried rice.
Radna - Fried Wide Flat Rice Noodle in Thick Sauce
Lad Na or Radna is served all over Thailand, so it can be considered a national Thai dish. It is a Thai Style wide rice noodles in thick sauce with chicken or pork slices and kailan. It's typically served not spicy with Thai condiments [see above photo] on the side to "fix the taste" and make it more spicy if that is desired. Na is also spelled radna or ladna. In Thailand the broccoli floret as well as the stems are used and if you'd rather use asparagus than broccoli that's fine too. 

Local Thai Economy Food
Warorot Market
Basement Area
A plate of economy rice with 2 dishes costs around 25THB and a bowl of  Khanoon Jeem is 30-35THB with many choices of fresh or blanched vegetables for you to choose and add to the noodles at no extra costs.  Very economical.
Here, you can find Khao Soi, Thai Chicken Rice, Braised Pork/Egg Rice, Economy Fried Noodles etc.

Local Thai Ala Carte Chu Char Food Stall
Arak Road, Suan Dok Gate Area
South-western side of Chiangmai Old City
This meal for 2 persons comes to around 210THB 

This Chu Char Stall is located in the compound of Chiangmai Teochew Association along Arak Road, South-western corner of Chiangmai Old City 
There is a wide range of local Thai dishes with seafood/meat/vegetables for you to choose.  There are also noodles and fried rice that you can order.  Braised Pig Trotter Rice is also available here.

WSK Noodle Soup and Dim Sum
Charoenrat Road, parallel to Ping River left turning from Nawarat Bridge/Road

We had our breakfast at WSK Noodle Soup shop situated at Charoenrat Road.  The shop sells very delicious duck meat noodles [with a choice of noodles - wantan mee or flat rice noodles], duck/chicken meat soup and rice. They also have dim sum, roasted duck etc. The price is reasonable at 50 THB per bowl with free helpings of fresh vegetables and beansprouts. Drinking water is also free for their customers. We visited this place for breakfast several times during our stay in Chiangmai. This is a good place for noodles and if you are a duck meat lover like me.
Our breakfast meal which consists of 2 bowls of Duck Meat Noodles and 2 trays of Dim Sum costs 150THB. There is free drinking water too.
Like this place because prices of food are clearly stated in English.  Was told the owner of this outlet is Chinese but cannot speak the language.
Strongly recommend this noodle soup outlet which opens from early morning to about 5.00 pm daily.
Jelang Fish Ball Noodle Shop
Arak Road, Suan Dok Gate
Chiangmai Old City
Had our late lunch at Jelang Fish Noodle Shop located at Arak Road, Suan Dok Gate.  This eatery is clean, has an air-conditioned and non air-conditioned dining area with ample parking space.
Opens from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm. 
There is a wide range of dishes, noodles, rice and desserts to choose from the menu.  Prices are reasonable and service is good too.
Menu of Jelang Fish Ball Noodle Shop
We had Radna, Fishball Noodle Soup, 3 trays of Dim Sum and Coconut Ice Cream dessert.  The meal comes with 2 cups of ice cubes and drinking water.  This meal costs 203THB which is very reasonable and the food is tasty too.

Lunch at Doi Inthanon National Park
This lunch comes with the day tour package fare of 900THB .  The lunch provided is good with 3-4 dishes [crispy fried fish, stir fry chicken with cashew nuts, stir fry brocolli/cauliflower] and a Creamy Tom Yam Soup.  Fruits are given too.
 Stalls At the Royal Market Place
Doi Inthanon

Was told by the tour guide that this market place sells mostly organic seasonal fruits and vegetables.  There are lots of pickled fruits, tea leaves, honey available.  Prices are quite reasonable.  You are allowed to test taste the pickled fruits before buying.  You can also try the fresh persimmons before buying too.  We paid 100THB for a pack of 8 persimmons and they were seedless and good.  3 [100gm/packet] of tea leaves costs 100THB, the quality isn't that good with lots of stems.
Breakfast at Pachkit Houe B&B Hotel
Arak Road, Suan Dok Gate
Chiangmai Old City

This hotel provides very good Western breakfast that is served from 7.30 to 10.00 am daily.  Specially love the wide range of fresh salads and there is a free flow of hot beverage.  A worth place to stay and you need not worry of what to have for breakfast if toasts is sufficient for your daily breakfast.  The hotel rate for a double bed room is around 700-800 THB.

SP Roast Chicken and Northern Thai Cuisine
Between Wat Phrasing and Wat Muen Ngoen Kong
at the end of the same road as Oasis Spa
West Chiangmai Old City
Opens from 11.00 am to 9.00 pm
There is a wide choice of dishes and desserts to choose from the menu and the prices are quite reasonable.
We had Som Tam [Spicy Green Papaya Salad with Dried Prawns], Gradoog Moo [Pork Ribs Tom Yam Soup] and 1/2 Roasted SP Chicken with 2 plates of plain rice and drinking water.  This meal costs 230THB.
I like the Som Tam here which is tasty and not that salty.  Worth a try if you are looking for some authentic Thai dishes when in Chiangmai.

Local Thai Set Dinner from Siam Rail Transport
Rice Set - Duck Meat Red Curry, Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Soup and fruits
Rice Set - Green Curry Chicken, Stir Fried Pork in Oyster Sauce, Soup and fruits
There are several set dinner menus ranging from 170THB to 210THB per set. Also available are seafood meal sets for 2 persons with fruit juices at around 420THB.
Besides dinner set menu, SRT also has breakfast set menu ranging from 110THB to 140THB with a choice of Rice, Toast and Sandwich sets.  You can also order Khao Pad and hot coffee separately at 40THB and 20THB respectively.
For convenience, you can order your meals from SRT but do consider packing some snacks or light meals before boarding the train which is much cheaper than what you ordered from SRT.  Also take note that there could be train delays and it is good to be prepared by having some drinking water, biscuits and bread with you.
McDonald's and 7-Eleven Outlets
Apart from all these, at times you can opt for burgers at McDonald's, sandwiches/buns/coffee from 7-eleven outlets which are easily available all over Chiangmai. Sandwiches/buns/bread from 7-Eleven outlets are reasonably price and of quality.

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