Chiang Mai is the city that feels most like home for me. Over the three and a half years that I’ve traveled, I’ve spent almost nine months in this Northern Thai city! There’s several reasons why Chiang Mai is the perfect home base for me — it’s cheap, the people are friendly, the weather is warm, there are plenty of digital nomad types to hang out with, and there are thousands of restaurants to choose from! Yes, the food in Chiang Mai is excellent and covers every possible cuisine you could fancy. From cheap street eats for $1 a meal to fancy pizzerias with homemade clay ovens, Chiang Mai has it all.
My favourite culinary area of the city is Nimmanhaemin, a trendy street popular with Thai teenagers that has dozens of fantastic restaurants. Here’s where you’re most likely to find me eating:
If you’re trying to stay healthy while traveling, then you’ll probably find yourself eating at Salad Concept as often as possible. With large, healthy portions, you’ll often be full for hours afterwards and feel like you’re treating your body well. My favourite option is the build-your-own-salad. You can choose from dozens of options when it comes to toppings, and your first five are free. Mine typically feature smoked salmon, pumpkin, tomatoes, dory fish in soy sauce, and bell peppers. Salad Concept also offers some fantastic smoothies, so be sure to check those out as well. I’m a fan of the one called Delicious, full of ginger-lime goodness.
The Larder was a recent discovery for me, and I ate breakfast there every day afterwards. It’s a small café with a limited menu but what they do offer is delicious. I opt for the French toast, the bruschetta or the open sandwiches when I visit, and the muesli berry smoothie is worth a try, too.
If you’re craving Middle Eastern food in Chiang Mai, then give Sahara Thai a shot. They have incredible creamy, smooth hummus and tender kebabs. If you’re not sure what to order, then their six taster dishes are a good place to start—you get to sample some of their more popular dishes in one meal, perfect for indecisive people!
Need to find somewhere for a romantic date in Chiang Mai that isn’t too expensive? Bar Fry offers gourmet French fries that don’t disappoint. With a variety of toppings and flavours, these French fries are truly delicious. They also sell small plates of tapas to spice up your meal a little — my favourite is the mackerels. Buy a bottle of wine from House of Wine next door and you’re sorted for a romantic evening.
Mont Blanc has some of the best desserts in Chiang Mai, and the air-conditioned seating area is great for escaping the hot weather. Cool off with their signature chocolate mousse or a raspberry macaroon—I’ve yet to have a bad meal at Mont Blanc and I’ve visited several dozen times!
Nimmanhaemin is my favourite area in Chiang Mai and hopefully you can now see why! If you’re planning a trip to Chiang Mai, check out the guesthouses in the area and you’ll be all set with the perfect base for eating.