One of the downside of extended traveling is too much eating out. By the time we reached Chiang Mai, I was craving for simple home-cooked meals. It was a blessing that our accommodation in Chiang Mai, Baan Ploy-in, had a common kitchen that was well-equipped, and we were able to make breakfast and lunches “at home.” Despite that, we still ate out because we can’t help it. Here are some of my best eats in Chiang Mai.
Into the Woods (Coffee, Rice meals, Cakes)
Our first Chiang Mai meal came from Into The Woods — recommended by Joy, the owner of our accommodation, Baan Ploy-In. We were looking for someplace to eat and work and she said Into The Woods is perfect because it has wi-fi, coffee, and food. And true enough, yes, it was. It was just less than five minute walk from the guesthouse. The set meal, which does not come with an egg (you will pay for it separately) was very filling, and, typical of Thailand, very affordable. The smoothie though was !!!! All strawberries. Living in Cebu in central Philippines means we don’t even have supply of strawberry jam year-round. We ended up not working at all, but instead just savouring the food we ate.
Chang Puak Rd. (Street Food)
Chang Puak was near our guesthouse and it became our default source of food. The street across the moat becomes alive at night with several vendors offering food — from traditional northern Thailand noodle soup, stir fries, pork stew, seafood (expensive, of course, because it is imported), smoothies and desserts (mango and durian sticky rice, fruit smoothies, crepes, and sweet roti). My favorites were the steamed chicken and stir-fried vegetables.
We were walking along Arak Rd. and turned left when we saw this store selling freshly made curry puffs. These were the best hand pies I have eaten (although I think our empanada filling are better) but I failed to get the name. I looked the store up in a map and said it is near Wat Papong. 5baht only for 1 curry puff. There was vegetable, chicken, and pork.
Khao soi, which literally means “cut rice,” is a popular northern Thailand dish that is influenced by Burmese cooking. This dish came highly recommended by my sister-in-law who has visited Chiang Mai before and loved this dish. I was looking for this dish every where in Chiang Mai and I did not realize that one of the stores in Chang Puak serves this, and this even was their specialty. We only found out the store serves this dish when we went out on a Sunday lunch — and that was because the store was not covered by the many street stalls selling other food. This dish was very similar to the meal that came for free in our train ride to Phitsanulok on our way to Sukhothai, only I asked the owner to temper the spiciness of the soup. The soup was still thick and rich, but it was not my type. I thought it was good though because the chicken leg was generous, the noodles were buttery (the noodles were very delicious), and the soup serving was generous. I am the many-vegetable-noodle-soup person. The lady owner was also very pretty.
Baan Buri was a discovery on our second time in Ratchadamnoen Rd. It was our second day and the last day in Chiang Mai when I decided we check out the small shop named Baan Buri that sold local arts and crafts. While outside, I noticed a sign for a lunch set meal for 180baht. It was no longer lunch time but I asked the ladies inside if we can still get the set meal for dinner. She said we can but that we have to order before 6PM because they close at 6PM. We decided to look around first but came back just a few minutes after and decided to eat here.
There were only two set meals and Joel and I ordered both. I had the green curry (because Joel has low tolerance for spicy). I actually loved the green curry. It was like a richer version of my favorite lauya and I loved the fact that they chop the lemongrass and I can actually eat it. Joel had chicken rice (which I didn’t get to taste) and all of our meals came with a bowl of salad, two spring rolls, and an iced drink. I got the butterfly pea drink, the same drink I had in The Unforgotten in one of our best finds in Bangkok’s Chinatown..
Chum Burgers was probably our favorite hangout in Chiang Mai. (Tip: the stand-alone burger shop did not have a name. Google Map was the one who said the name of the shop was Chum Burgers). This was along Prapokklao Rd., across Into the Woods. On our first night, we ate there. We loved the local reggae music and we loved watching the people. There is a futsal game almost every night. The burger is a build-your-own burger but it starts at 45baht (bun, patty lettuce, tomato and onion). The owner is our age and he would chat (if not busy playing computer games or serving other people).