10 Must-Try Chiang Mai Street Food

In the embrace of Chiang Mai lies more than just a cultural nucleus, cradling treasures of the bygone Lanna Kingdom; this enclave is also the sole guardian of Lanna cuisine's delectable secrets, cherished throughout centuries and still thriving today.

With each dish, Lanna cuisine tells a story of the Northern realms of Thailand, flavours imbued with the essence of this regal heritage, a culinary adventure almost elusive elsewhere. It's an experience begging to be savoured. As you meander through Chiang Mai's storied streets, be ready to taste the myriad of Lanna dishes on offer. It's truly a feast that beckons the palates of those who dare to explore beyond the ordinary.

Read also: Top 5 Souvenir Ideas from Chiang Mai

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best local food in chiang mai
10 Must-Try Chiang Mai Street Food

10 Must-Try Chiang Mai Street Food

Khao Soi - Coconut Curry Noodles

Picture this delicacy: a tangle of golden-yellow egg noodles nestled in the warm embrace of a curry infused with the robust flavours of coconut and red curry, interspersed with the lively notes of chilli and soy sauce—a gastronomic sonnet that's as vibrant as the city it calls home.

At centre stage are the noodles—soft and inviting, bathed in the spotlight of the thick, flavourful curry. The usual co-star, none other than slow-cooking drumsticks, tender and succulent—a narrative of patient culinary artistry. The plot thickens with a sprinkling of fried noodles, adding an unexpected yet delightful crunch, an elegant contrast to the harmonious mix.

Khao Soi
Khao Soi or Coconut Curry Noodles is the most sought after local Chiang Mai dish

Sai Oua - Grilled Sausages

As you venture through the bustling streets of Northern Thailand, you'll feel the inexplicable pull of a culinary adventure revealing itself in the form of Sai Oua—grilled sausages bursting with flavour and exuding an aroma unique to the region. Picture yourself savouring these exquisite, handcrafted marvels, fashioned from ground pork and infused with the likes of lemongrass, cilantro, shallots, chilli paste, black pepper, and galangal.

Imagine discovering this edible journey, where every bite unlocks new layers of flavour, thanks to the artful addition of kaffir lime leaves, coriander roots, and fresh turmeric. Every fragrant mouthful of Sai Oua unravels a story of the vibrant, bustling markets of Thailand, an unforgettable blend of spices and culinary expertise.

Sai Oua
Sai Oua is a famous dish of grilled sausages in Chiang Mai

Nam Prik Noom - Thai Green Chili Dip

You'll unlock the secrets of Thai flavours with a mere dip into Nam Prik Noom, a robust condiment that is as spellbinding as the Land of Smiles itself. Picture a blend so captivating: roasted green chillies, kissed by fire, mingled with aromatic garlic and shallots. This is not just food; it's a culinary rite of passage. The piquant fish sauce, sweet palm sugar, and the zesty spritz of lime juice come together in a harmonious dance that will whisk you away on a flavour journey that's nothing short of divine.

This is not merely a condiment—it's a star in its own right. Typically enjoyed with crispy kaeb moo, the Thai answer to nachos, expect a culinary dalliance that's both exuberant and soul-satisfying. Engage in the delicate crunch, then the burst of the dip's bold essence.

Nam Prik Noom
Nam Prik Noom is a delicious Thai green chili dip

Sai Krok Isan - Fermented Sausages

Unravel the essence of these north-eastern fermented sausages, artfully crafted using pork and rice, and prepare your discerning taste buds for a gastronomic odyssey. Sai Krok Isan is not merely a local specialty; it is a gustatory key to understanding the rich culinary expertise of this vibrant region.

Envision yourself basking in a laid-back gathering of friends, a chilled beer at hand, and the Sai Krok Isan beckoning irresistibly. Tenderly seize the sour, garlicky, and salty morsels, pairing them with the fire of raw bird's eye chillies, the cool crunch of raw cabbage leaves, and the invigorating bite of sliced ginger.

Sai Krok Isan
Sai Krok Isan is a type of fermented sausages widely enjoyed in Chiang Mai

Kaeb Moo - Pork Rinds

Imagine yourself perched on a rustic stool in a bustling Thai market, the air humming with the cacophony of chatter and the sizzling woks. Before you, a glistening heap of Kaeb Moo catches your light, the pork rinds, shimmering like culinary gold. These morsels of delight are not just any snack; they are a revelation of textural bliss.

Preparing them is nothing short of an art, each piece bathed in a concoction of salt, garlic, and cloves before they plunge into the bubbling cauldron of oil, transforming into the epitome of greasy, crispy perfection. They emerge as golden, aerated treasures, a satisfyingly noisy and flavour-packed bite that is poised to tug at your taste buds.

You'd find yourself marvelling at how incredibly crunchy and versatile these pork rinds are. Fancy a lighter moment? Pair them with a cold pint of beer and let the conversation flow as freely as the drinks. Or perhaps elevate a cosy- evening by stirring these crinkled shards of joy into a steaming hot soup, adding a textural counterpoint to the mellow warmth of the broth.

Chiang Mai Street Food
Kaeb Moo is a popular Chiang Mai street food

Kaeng Khanun - Green Jackfruit Curry

This specialty holds its own next to the famous Som Tam, its own blend of spice and tang elevating it beyond the realm of mere soup-and-salad dishes. Picture yourself savouring this exquisite creation, the unique fragrance of unripe jackfruit woven into its heart, defying convention and reshaping your idea of Thai cuisine.

Now step closer and explore the intricate tapestry of its compositional elements: tender, juicy chunks of pork harmoniously dwelling alongside the fresh buoyancy of cherry tomatoes and the captivating aroma of kaffir lime leaves.

Green Jackfruit Curry in Chiang Mai
Kaeng Khanun is a type of Green Jackfruit Curry in Chiang Mai

Miang Kham - Betel Leaf Wrap

Miang Kham is not just a snack, it's a rite of passage into the heart of local flavour and, truly, 'many things in one bite'. Envision yourself selecting the ingredients with a connoisseur's touch: the sharpness of shallots, the crunch of roasted peanuts, the heat of chillies, the tang of green mango, and the sweetness of onions. Carefully tuck these treasures into the verdant embrace of an acha plu leaf, ready to embark on a culinary journey that promises an explosion of flavours.

With the dexterity of a local, you wrap it up, creating a neat parcel that holds the essences of the land. Pause for a moment, admire your creation, and then, in one audacious bite, let the layers of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty cascade across your palate.

Miang Kham
Miang Kham is one of the most traditional snacks in northern Thailand

Kaeng Hang Lei - Burmese Curry

Embark upon a gastronomic quest within the charming bustle of Myanmar's kitchens and stumble upon the hearty warmth of Kaeng Hang Lei. It's a Burmese curry that marries the aromatic allure of turmeric, the piquant embrace of garlic, the zesty caress of ginger, and the sweetly tart kiss of tamarind to create a flavour profile that is as complex as it is comforting. Savour how these spices mingle and intensify, their dance deepening under the exotic Southeast Asian sun.

And at the heart of this fragrant stew lies generous hunks of pork belly, glistening and tender, each bite a decadent homage to the belly's sumptuous layers. Picture yourself, elegant fork in hand, delving into this divine blend, using a fluffy bed of rice as your canvas to soak up the curry's rich, luxurious essence.

local chiang mai food
Kaeng Hang Lei or the Burmese Curry is a popular dish in northern Thailand

Aeb Pla - Grilled Fish

A picturesque feast of fish fillets, Aeb Pla basks indulgently in the golden glow of aromatic spices and fresh herbs. But it is the method of its metamorphosis that sets Aeb Pla apart. Enveloped in sturdy banana leaves and entrusted to the fiery embrace of hot charcoals, the elegant creation is grilled to perfection. Its tantalising mystery lies within the scorched foliage, only to be unravelled upon its grand ceremonial unwrapping.

But why stop at fish? The art of Aeb Pla, versatile in its glory, extends itself to the realm of pork, too. Think firm yet tender chunks of pork, sharing the same fate as their fishy counterparts, seasoned with a suite of vibrant spices.

Aeb Pla
Must-Try Chiang Mai Street Food: Aeb Pla

Kaeng Pak Wan Kai Mode Daeng - Ant Egg Soup

In this land of ceaseless culinary wonder, you'll find a soup that elevates the humblest of nature's offerings to new heights — Kaeng Pak Wan Kai Mode Daeng. It's a dish where the earthy sweetness of the pak wan plant mingles with the silkiness of glass noodles. But the star of the show? The ant eggs. They offer a gentle pop between your teeth, releasing a delicate, sweet and almost nutty essence that's nothing short of a revelation.

This isn't just soup; it's a tapestry of texture and taste that defies expectations. Each spoonful of the mildly named 'spicy vegetable soup with ant eggs' is a testament to the ingenuity of Thai cuisine. The name teases with a hint of spice, yet what unfolds on the tongue is a cordial symphony of sweet subtlety, a culinary ballet choreographed by artisans of flavour.

The very unique Kaeng Pak Wan Kai Mode Daeng or Ant Egg Soup

As the sun dips below the bustling horizon of Chiang Mai, casting a golden hue over a day rich with culinary exploration, you can't help but feel a deep sense of exhilarating satisfaction. This corner of Thailand, with its maze of aromatic street food stalls, has revealed to you the very essence of its culture—one sumptuous bite at a time.

From the zesty seduction of a fiery green chili dip to the unexpected delight of an ant egg soup that challenged every preconceived notion of taste, each dish has been a stepping stone to a more profound connection with this land.

Adventure comrades, let's celebrate and share our unique explorations! Commemorate those incredible travel and culinary experiences by tagging @rollinggrace or using #RollingGrace on Instagram. Adventure and allure await you!


  1. wow uniknya Khaeng Khanun dish tu sebab ada nangka. I suka makan nangka so maybe I should try this one too!

  2. So many authentic dishes have to try while in Chiang Mai. That ant eggs wonder how it tasted like?

  3. even i tak pernah ke chiang mai tapi i suka makan miang kham. if ke sana nanti nak try nam prik tu. macam sedap je

  4. i tau satu je - miang kham. sedap!
    3 times went to thailand. but not chiang mai :)
    love thai food. terbaik. here in Melaka, got one restaurant serving thai food.
    awesome taste. kings hotel, ayer keroh.
    aduh, bila la dpt repeat makan kat situ? never ending pkp...

  5. I love miang kham. And would love to try the Aeb Pla. But that Nam Prik Noom - wooo hooo! I could just imagine how spicy it is!

  6. semuanya saya tak pernah dengar. ni first time tahu. terima kasih bagi info.

  7. The first one look so yummy. All is not familiar to me, but yeah it does looks yummy.

  8. Uii semua sedap-sedap ni... Tapi kanj Grace kenapa ek, kadangkan belum pergi semua nak cuba, tapi bila dah sampai sana, terus lupa nak hunting semua, sebab main makan depan mata hahaha.. selalu kena macamtu bila travel tau.. gerammm...

  9. Wow,, 0/10? Maybe because I never been to Chiang Mai before but this city is in my list.. I watched few movies with the scene from Chiang Mai that make me fall in love with this Rose of the North.. soon, hopefully soon can travel dy!

  10. Omg.. i m salivating reading this post, i have been to chaing mai twice and love their food and scenery there.

  11. would love to go there someday,certainly after this pandemic is over. cant wait to travel again n explore the places and the local foods

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