Top 10 Street Food You Must Try In Chiang Mai, Thailand

street food in chiang mai

The most popular country for a vacation in Southeast Asia is perhaps Thailand. The local culture and tradition, the sacred temples, the beaches, and the delicious food have won the hearts of a lot of tourists from around the world. Other than Bangkok, another destination that is worth visiting is Chiang Mai. Situated in the northern part of Thailand, Chiang Mai’s best attractions include Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a spiritual place that is renowned for its reflection of the Lanna culture and a holy place where you can offer prayers. Chiang Mai Night Safari allows you to pet cute tiger cubs and feed several wild animals. What about your food? This city is also known for its delicious cuisine. Keep reading to find out about the top street food you must try in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

1. Khao soi (cut noodles)

Khao soi Chiang Mai
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cut noodles - that is what khao soi is all about. The rice noodles are the signature dish of Northern Thailand, which is why you cannot say you have visited Chiang Mai if you have not tried this. There are various versions of khao soi, depending on your creativity and taste. These noodles are rich in fragrance and generally served with pork rind, shallots, tomatoes, and more on top. The most notable thing about this dish is the soup that contains coconut milk.

2. Sai ua (northern Thai sausage)

Sai ua
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another street food that you have to try is called sai ua, also known as Thai sausage. Many of the local people have made this part of the dishes they eat daily, and the popularity of this food has spread to all of Thailand. Sai ua is delicious because the sausage is made from pork - it is first grilled and then served with vegetables and rice. To make it even more tempting, others mix the sausage with curry paste or some other aromatic sauce.

3. Khao kha mu (stewed pork leg and rice)

Stewed Pork Leg Over Rice
Source: Photo by user Ron Dollete used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Still related to pork is khao kha mu. Indulge in this stewed pork leg from any street food vendor that you come across in Chiang Mai, and you can never forget the juicy and rich taste. You may be wondering about where the tenderness comes from. Before it is served in front of you, the pork leg has to be braised and simmered for as long as four hours. To make it flavorful, the whole process happens in a broth that is prepared with a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and cinnamon, among other ingredients. You can enjoy this with boiled eggs, fresh veggies and, of course, rice.

4. Khanom jeen (thin rice noodles)

Khanom Jeen Nam Yaa
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mattes used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The people in northern Thailand seem to love noodles so much that there is another variety of local dish that has become a popular street food you can’t miss. Khanom jeen, also known as thin rice noodles in English, tastes soft and will tempt you to indulge because of the variety of curry sauces that can go with it. The most popular curry for khanom jeen is fish curry. As for the ingredients, this is made from a combination of basil leaves, cabbage, sprouts, and beans.

5. Kaeb moo (fried pork rinds)

Khaep mu
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Yes, another pork dish. If you have seen the grilled pork and braised pork listed above, you should also have a taste of kaeb moo, a fried pork dish with an amazing taste. The pork rinds are deep-fried, which explains its deliciousness. There are two common types of kaeb moo that you can find in the markets across Chiang Mai. The first type consists of only the skin, so it is lighter in weight. The second type consists of both the skin and the fat. This one is crispier and more delectable, thanks to the layer of fat.

6. Som tam (green papaya salad)

Som Tam or Thai Green Papaya Salad
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sumit Surai used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Moving on from the pork and the noodles, this one here is a national dish called som tam. If you are fond of vegetables, particularly salad, then you are going to love som tam. The main ingredient is unripe papaya that is mixed with garlic and other vegetables like carrots and green beans. The dressing tastes sweet and sour, but sometimes also spicy.

7. Kao niew (sticky rice)

Khao Niew Mamuang and Sakoo Bai Toey
Source: Photo by user Azchael used under CC BY 2.0

To many Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, rice is among the staple dishes. If you already know what regular white rice tastes like, you may be interested in finding out how delicious sticky rice can be. Look for kao niew and buy your favorite flavor. Some come with sugared pork, some with custard, and some with mango. There are many other varieties as well.

8. Gai yang (grilled chicken)

Somtam kaiyang khaoniaow
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Takeaway used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Satisfy your stomach by having a barbecue chicken fiesta in Chiang Mai. Try gai yang and you will enjoy the ultimate meal. The chicken is grilled the usual way and it tastes just like any other barbecue chicken you’ve had before. But what makes this dish unique and truly Thai is the side dishes that go with it: the dipping sauce called nam jim jeaw (consisting of tamarind, fish sauce, and chili flakes, among other ingredients) the papaya salad, and sticky rice.

9. Nam prik (Thai chili sauce)

Nam prik (Thai chili sauce)
Source: Pixabay

Spicy things will add flavor to your dishes and color to your life. For those who love chili, you should try the super spicy Thai chili sauce called nam prik. Making nam prik is actually easy and simple. All you need are fresh chilis along with garlic, limes, shallots, and some paste made from fish or shrimp.

10. Khanom buang (Thai crepes)

33 - kanom buang
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Susan Slater used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Chiang Mai also offers desserts, and the most delicious and popular one is probably khanom buang or crepes. The crepes look like tacos at a glance, but they are even more delicious than that. As soon as you eat one, you can taste the creamy coconut in your mouth. The toppings make it even more perfect. Usually, you have two choices of toppings: sweet or salty. The most popular toppings include fried eggs and chopped scallions.

Enjoy Chiang Mai, both its attractions and its street food

An amazing vacation comes with a complete package: attractions and food. You cannot just focus on exploring the attractions and ignoring food, an essential factor that keeps your stomach happy at all times and is the source of all your energy. That is why when traveling to Chiang Mai, you need to enjoy both the topnotch attractions and the street food, particularly the ones mentioned above.

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Tenissa is a content writer, translator and editor. She enjoys being a globetrotter and has traveled to many countries around the world. So far, her favourite destination is Switzerland. She looks...Read more

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