10 Delicious Street Foods to Eat in Chiang Mai, Thailand

10 Street Foods to Try in Chiang Mai

From the region of Northern Thailand, try these culinary delicacies next time you’re in town.

Whether it’s Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong or Green Curry, you can find some of the most delicious food in Thailand. Using many different spices, the Thais create dishes with complex flavour profiles — be it sweet, spicy, sour, or even all three at once!

Bangkok is a typical foodie’s destination to try Thai street food, but if you’re feeling adventurous, why not head up to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand instead? The cuisine in Chiang Mai is known as Lanna food, referencing its origins from the ancient kingdom of Lanna. It is strongly influenced by Lao and Burmese cuisines and is not often found in other regions in Thailand.

Hence, you should definitely give these dishes a try if you’re in the city! Here are our top ten picks in no particular order:

1. Khao Kan Chin

Image credit: Takeaway

Khao kan chin is a rice pudding dish that comprises of minced pork and pork blood. This delicacy is flavoured with salt, sugar, and garlic oil before being steamed in a banana leaf. Pork blood may sound intimidating, but lemongrass leaves are often added to ensure that it does not smell.

It is commonly served together with fried chopped garlic, fried dried bird chillies and cucumbers. It’s a great savoury snack to pick up whenever you’re feeling a little peckish, but not enough for a full meal.

2. Khao Soi

Image credit: ekkun

Possibly Northern Thailand’s most famous dish, khao soi refers to soft egg noodles in a fragrant coconut-based curry, topped with crispy egg noodles. It is also frequently served with chicken or beef along with optional additions of lime, shallots, pickled vegetables, and fried ground chillies.

The soft egg noodles absorb the rich texture of the curry, while the fried noodles and pickled vegetables add a crunchy texture to the dish. You can find khao soi at many street food stalls or food market in Chiang Mai. Don’t leave Chiang Mai without slurping a bowl of this goodness!

3. Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao

Image credit: anokarina

Another popular noodle dish in Chiang Mai, khanom jeen nam ngiao consists of rice noodles in a spicy pork-and-tomato based broth. This dish is complete with minced pork or spare ribs and blood cake, topped with lime, fried garlic, and pork rinds.

This hearty concoction has a tangy taste due to the chopped tomatoes inside, while the addition of dried chillies gives the dish a spicy kick. It is more popular with the locals rather than tourists as it looks quite daunting at first sight, but you should definitely give it a try while in town.

4. Sai Ua

Image credit: Takeaway

Sai ua is a traditional grilled pork sausage dish that has become popular all over Thailand. Its name in Thai is derived from sai (intestine) and ua (to stuff). It is made from minced pork, herbs, spices, and aromatic red curry paste. It is often served together with sticky rice and fresh vegetables at most street food stalls in Chiang Mai.

The medley of herbs like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves combines with the curry paste to give it a rich and complex flavour. Forget the bratwursts, grab a sai ua to munch on!

5. Naem

Image credit: Hajime Nakano

Naem is another pork sausage dish that is popular in Chiang Mai, but is fermented and eaten raw, instead of being grilled. It is combined with cooked sticky rice, chilli peppers, garlic, sugar, salt, and potassium nitrate. Thereafter, these are encased in banana leaves or synthetic sausage casings and left to ferment for a few days. The fermentation gives it a sour taste, and certainly not one for those with weak stomachs!

6. Kaeng Hang Le

Image credit: pengrin

This curry dish is very popular in northern Thailand and has its origins in Myanmar. Fatty pork belly is simmered together with a mildly spicy curry paste made with various herbs, garlic, and fresh ginger. The result is an unctuous stew that is perfect for those with a less spicy palate. Eat it together with sticky rice for a hearty meal that will leave you clamouring for more.

7. Miang Kham

Image credits: (left) fitri agung, (right) Takeaway

Miang kham, or “one bite wrap”, is a traditional northern Thai snack. Cha phlu (betel) leaves are filled with ingredients like fried shallots, roasted coconut shavings, chillies, ginger, lime, peanuts, and dried shrimps. Next, these leaves are topped with palm or sugar cane syrup that has been cooked with lemongrass, galangal, ginger and fish sauce.

The beauty of this dish is that it can be customised to however you prefer yours to taste like, be it sweet or salty, sour or spicy. Have fun making your own mini-wrap!

8. Kaeng Khanun

Image credit: Takeaway

The Northern Thai equivalent of tom yum soup, kaeng khanun is a soupy curry made with pork, young jackfruit, cherry tomatoes, and curry paste. This gives it a hot and sour taste, much like tom yum.

Khanun or jackfruit is an auspicious name, so this dish is often eaten at weddings and New Year’s to ensure prosperity and success. The jackfruit and tomatoes give the dish a zesty and sourish taste, so it might not be for everyone but is still well worth a try.

9. Larb Mu

Image credit: Takeaway

Larb mu is a traditional Thai meat salad with Lao origins. Minced raw pork and blood is fried together with a mix of dried spices including cumin, cloves, long pepper, star anise, and cinnamon among others, topped with dried chilli flakes, fried shallots, and khao kua (toasted sticky rice). The resulting aromatic mixture is a classic northern Thai dish, ready to be enjoyed with some leafy greens and an ice-cold beer.

10. Nam Prik

Image credit: Jo Del Corro

While nam prik is technically not a dish in itself, it is a vital element of Northern Thai cuisine. Nam prik ong is a chilli paste, where red, birdseye chillies are mashed and blended together with minced pork and tomato to create a fiery mixture. This paste is to be accompanied with sticky rice, vegetables, and fried pork cracklings. Its ‘cousin’, nam prik num, uses toasted green chillies, onion, and garlic instead.

Be sure to try these local street foods at food markets or roadside stalls for an authentic taste of Northern Thai cuisine! You will be blown away by the cornucopia of tastes and sensations that these uniquely Thai dishes will create in your mouth.

About Author

Isaac Neo
Isaac Neo

Isaac used to love airports, until he went on exchange and experienced one too many delays for his liking. He believes the best part of travelling is experiencing the local food, which explains his expanding waistline. When not at work, he can be found reading, watching football, or browsing the dankest memes.

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