Chiang Mai, Thailand’s largest city in the north, has fantastic (and incredibly cheap!) street food. In fact, food is one of the reasons why I decided to come back to Chiang Mai during my year of travel and live there for three months.
Everywhere you go, you’ll see mouth-watering food that costs less than the price of your Starbucks coffee in North America. I budgeted $10 CAD a day for food and was able to comfortably stay within that budget while eating whatever my heart desired. That budget worked for when I visited Chiang Mai as a tourist and when I was living in Chiang Mai for a few months.
Not only will you and your wallet feel heavier, but your taste buds will also explode with the flavourful dishes in Thailand.
Khao Soi | ฿60 Baht
Khao soi is a traditional Burmese-influenced dish in Northern Thailand. It’s a curry soup-like coconut dish and comes with crispy egg noodles, boiled egg noodles, pickled vegetables, and meat. This dish is so flavourful that I personally believe it is a sin to waste any drop of soup! I love khao soi the same way I loved Laksa in Singapore and had at least one bowl of this delicious noodle soup each day while I was in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Street Food #1: Pad Thai | ฿50 Baht
Pad Thai is a noodle dish, commonly stir-fried with eggs, fish sauce, and other meats and vegetables. Easy, simple, and leaves the tummy super happy. This noodle dish is found in almost all night markets in Chiang Mai. While the price of this Pad Thai dish is super low, the portions are much smaller than North American standards. With that being said, don’t be surprised if you find yourself full after enjoying this dish.
Chiang Mai Street Food #2: Stir-fried noodles | ฿10 Baht
I don’t have much to say about this dish, except that it costs about $0.40 CAD ($0.30 USD) and is really yummy. These noodles are from the famous Sunday night market, although I’m sure you can also find them at other night markets.
Chiang Mai Street Food #3: Fried milk | ฿20 Baht
Fried milk… say what?! It sounds weird, I know, but this dish has an interesting nutmeg flavour. The inside of this dish has a custard-like consistency and is crunchy and crispy on the outside.
Chiang Mai Street Food #4: Spring rolls, fried dumplings, and fried shrimp | ฿20 Baht per dish
Fried food is typical in all Chiang Mai night markets. I love spring rolls and happily had some at every night market I visited.
Chiang Mai Street Food #5: Rice egg noodle rolls and dumplings | ฿20 Baht
I really like dumplings, and this dish was like having a mini Dim Sum moment while in Thailand. The green dumpling looks like Siu Mai and tasted like Siu Mai, but with a Thai flavour.
Chiang Mai Street Food #6: Fried chicken balls | ฿20 Baht
This dish is kind of like popcorn chicken, but spicy and with more meat and less flour. I was a bit concerned at one point because the thought of the meat coming from some weird part of the chicken (like intestine, or brain) crossed my mind…but it tasted like ordinary chicken.
Chiang Mai Street Food #7: Pad Ka Prao (Thai basil chicken with rice) | ฿50 Baht
Pad ka prao is a delicious stir-fry served with holy basil, fried egg, and jasmine rice. This portion was quite large and left me feeling quite full.
Chiang Mai is a great place to eat a bunch of different street food at an affordable price.
Read more travel tips about Chiang Mai in the post below
This post was first published in July 2016 and last updated in May 2019