Getting a Meal – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting a Meal – Chaing Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Food in Chiang Mai is as tasty as elsewhere in Thailand, and certain local specialties are sure to please. Popular dishes in this area include long, wide kuaytiaw noodles that are eaten with chopsticks, and kuaytiaw lu chin pla (fishball noodle soup). You’ll also see more dishes served with sticky rice, which you eat by making rice balls with your right hand and then sopping up curries or sauces. Another Chiang Mai draw is the khantoke dinner, where diners sit on the floor and eat traditional dishes from a low tray table. Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center (185/3 Wualai Road) offers a three-hour version of the dinner that includes traditional dancing for 270 baht, transportation included.

If you just want to eat for cheap, try grabbing dinner at the Night Bazaar or the Sunday Market along Rachadamnoen Road. The Tha Pae Gate area also boasts spots to fill your stomach and gives you lots of bang for your baht. Moreover, Chiang Mai is home to many expatriates, so there are plenty of restaurants to remind you of home. When in doubt, consult your guidebook!

La Villa Pizzeria: Tired of Thai food? Give your palate a taste of a different kind of noodles at this Italian restaurant (run by Italian ex-pats). Dine on the patio of this charming wooden house and gaze at the tropical garden or the foot traffic of Ratchadamnoen Road. There are good pizza and pasta dishes between 60-150 baht. And if you just can’t get enough Thai food, there’s a section on the menu for that, too.

Also, there are schools to teach you how to make your own Thai dishes. Most offer one-day courses that give you market tours and a recipe book (as well as a chance to eat your creation). These courses can cost 700-900 baht a day, though, so save up.

Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School (1-3 Moon Muang Road, This organization offers courses from one to five days and teaches weekend classes.

Gap’s Thai Culinary Art School (Gap’s House, 3 Soi 4, Ratchadamnoen Road; We tried to stay at the Gap Guesthouse, but it was booked. The cooking school on the grounds is quite popular.